Italy’s 2009 new car sales will match those of last year, the industry ministry has said, predicting a second half bounce after a 10.7% fall in the first half.

“Thanks to government incentives, there is a significant recovery in car sales under way,” the ministry said in a statement cited by Reuters. Italian new car sales fell 13.36% in 2008 to 2.16m units and totalled 1.128m in the first half of this year, down from 1.263m a year ago.

But the industry ministry said the outlook for industrial and commercial vehicles was not so bright.

“The fall in sales (in this sector) is still very steep without any significant signs of recovery,” the ministry said.