New-car registrations in Italy fell 4.6 percent last month with most major automakers losing volume except Renault, Skoda, BMW and Citroen.
Sales for the month were 160,359 with two fewer working days compared with April 2016, according to figures published by the transport ministry on Tuesday.
The fall marks the end of a 34-month year-on-year rises in sales, although sales grew 6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Sales to individual customers were down 17 percent, while business sales rose 25 percent and sales to rental companies grew by 6 percent. According to Dataforce, self-registrations by dealers rose 69 percent to 17,488.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' volume declined by 4 percent, lower than the market decline as Alfa Romeo and Maserati helped to offset falling sales at the Fiat brand. Alfa Romeo sales rose 47 percent thanks to the availability of the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. Fiat sales declined 6 percent, Lancia's volume was down 16 percent. Maserati more than doubled sales while Ferrari registrations slumped 60 percent.
Volkswagen Group sales declined 8 percent, with a 7 percent rise in Skoda sales failing to offset drops at other group brands. VW brand's volume plunged 13 percent while Audi and Seat sales both fell by 3 percent.
PSA Group sales were down 4 percent, with a 5 percent increase for the Citroen brand partially compensating an 8 percent decrease for Peugeot and a 47 percent fall for DS.
Renault Group bucked the market trend with a 12 percent increase. The Renault brand rose 14 percent and Dacia 9 percent.
Ford sales were down 4 percent and Opel 11 percent. Toyota sold 2 percent fewer cars than in April 2016, Japanese rival Nissan’s registrations slumped 31 percent. Hyundai was 13 percent down and sister brand Kia's sales fell 6 percent.
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Among luxury brands, BMW Group sales held firm thanks to a 5 percent increase in sales of BMW brand cars. Mini sales were down 14 percent. Mercedes-Benz sales declined 7 percent.
Sales through April are up 8 percent to 743,321. Despite the first year-on-year fall in sales from 2014, dealers remain optimistic for the full year. "This year could see an 8 percent sales growth on 2016 despite a slowdown in the second half," said Filippo Pavan Bernacchi, head of the dealers’ association Federauto.
Unrae, which represents importers, forecasts a 9. 6 percent increase to nearly 2 million units.