10 Oct 17

Fleet sales fuel Italian new car market

Booming fleet sales, driven by a Government tax break, pushed the new car market in Italy last month to its best September performance since 2009. Sales of company cars were up 24% to 45,115 units, accounting for 27% of the market, while daily rental sales were up by 6%.

The total market reached 166,956 registrations in September, 8.1% up on the same month in 2016, and sales for the year to date are now running 9% ahead of the first nine months of 2016, at 1.534 million units, an increase of 126,700 vehicles.

Leading the charge are Nissan, which increased its sales by 57% in September, and is now 15.9% up for the first nine months of the year; and Audi, which was 22.9% ahead of its September 2016 total, and is currently 7.9% ahead of its January to September sales in 2016. French manufacturers also enjoyed a good month, with Renault’s sales 24.9% up in September, and 12% ahead year-on-year, for a total of 102,553 registrations. Peugeot and Citroen also had good months, up 12% and 18% respectively in September, and they are now 11% and 23.3% ahead of the first nine months of 2017.

Italy’s domestic brands of Fiat, Jeep and Alfa Romeo enjoyed mixed fortunes. Jeep sales were up 44.3% in September and Alfa Romeo increased its sales by 14%, but Fiat sales rose by only 2.7%.

Sales of diesel powered cars were up by 8.5% in September, but were eclipsed by LPG cars, which enjoyed an increase of 17%, and hybrid and electric cars which soared ahead by 49%, and are now 70% of their 2016 performance for the first nine months of the year.

Industry experts are forecasting full year figures for Italy of about 1.95million sales, compared to 1.8million last year, although this total would lag behind 2007 and 2008, when registrations exceeded the 2million mark.

Within the fleet sector, Andrea Badolati, managing director of of ALD Automotive Italy, said the car leasing industry (both long and short term) was 27% up in September 2017, compared to September 2016, and 18% up year-on-year for the first nine months of 2017.

“In particular, full service leasing (long term) has grown by 17% for the year to date, with 205,000 units, compared to 176,000 units in the same period of last year,” he said.

He is now forecasting full year figures of about 260,000 units, about 40,000 more than 2016.

“Such significant growth, for fleet companies and the lease business sector, is mainly driven by the latest tax incentive, named Super Depreciation, set by the Italian government for 2016 and 2017, which gives a significant tax benefit (+40% yearly depreciation / tax rate) over the next four years, to those companies which invest in new assets,” said Badolati.

He added that sales to private individuals do not benefit from this tax break, and as a result a growing number of private drivers are switching to long term rental mobility solutions.

About 50% of ALD’s fleet is now small business and retail customers, a significant increase over recent years.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning