Italy's car market declined by almost a fifth in 2012 as new car demand reeled under the impact of economic recession, fiscal austerity and renewed political uncertainty.

Data released by Italian automotive trade association ANFIA shows that the Italian car market slumped by 19.9% to 1,402,089 units last year. In the month of December sales were down 22.5% year-on-year at 86,735 units.

A full-year car market of just 1.4m units is the lowest in Italy since 1979. Speaking to Reuters, the president of the Italian car dealers' trade group, Federauto, blamed the severe slump on high taxes. "The car market is suffering from an overdose of taxes aimed at hitting, if not criminalising, the acquisition, ownership and use of autos," said Filippo Pavan Bernacchi.

Market leader Fiat-Chrysler Group sales declined in line with the overall market contraction last year, with sales of 415,281 units, down 19.5% on 2012 (and within that, Fiat brand totalled 294,778 units, down 18.9%).

Most import brands lost volume in 2012, but there were gains for a few – including Kia (27,403 units, +39%), Land Rover (12,540 units, +38%) and Dacia (26,034 units, +0.5%).

Top ten selling models, Italian car market 2012

1 FIAT PANDA 117,759 

2 FIAT PUNTO 79,685 

3 LANCIA YPSILON 44,417 

4 FIAT 500 42,918 

5 FORD FIESTA 42,043 

6 CITROEN C3 36,403 

7 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 34,414 

8 VOLKSWAGEN POLO 31,831 

9 ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA 29,869 

10 TOYOTA YARIS 28,099 

Source: ANFIA

Link to Italian car data (ANFIA)

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more