Figures from the Italian automotive industry body UNRAE have confirmed that the Italian new car market is continuing the year-on-year decline witnessed in April. While the end of the government’s scrapping scheme is bad news for new car manufacturers, second hand dealers will be reaping the benefits.
Total new car sales in Italy are expected to be around 180,000 in May, down from 208,000 this time last year, according to UNRAE. This fall furthers the 5.8% year-on-year decline seen in April and has confirmed that all is not well in the Italian new car sector.
One of the hardest hit manufacturers has been Fiat, whose home market share dropped by 12.6% in April, compared to last year. This comes as a further blow to the Italian motor group, which is already struggling with widespread financial woes caused by poor market performance in the face of the wider economic downturn. The company is predicting that year totals for 2003 will be between 2.05 million and 2.1 million vehicles sold, a decrease from 2.3 million in 2002 and 2.5 million in 2001.
The new car sales declines follow the end of the government scrapping scheme, which offered incentives to encourage motorists to trade in their old heavy-emissions vehicles for new cars. This scheme was intended to remove many of the older and more heavily polluting vehicles from the Italian car parc, in favour of new, cleaner vehicles. The scheme was designed with both environmental and economic considerations in mind in a market notorious for its high proportion of older, pollution-spewing vehicles.
However, government cutbacks ended the scrapping scheme in March and the Italian retail sector has felt the pinch ever since, with buyers less keen to buy new cars now that they have returned to their full cost. While the ending of the scheme has made things harder for new car manufacturers in Italy, it will at least have a more positive effect on the Italian second hand car market.
SOURCE: DATAMONITOR COMMENTWIRE (c) 2003 Datamonitor. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Datamonitor shall not be liable for errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.