TURIN — Sales of new cars in Italy declined 7.3 percent in June to 174,702, according to figures published Monday by Italy’s transport ministry.
The June decline follows a 2.8 percent drop in May.
"The 14,000-units drop in [June] sales is entirely due to a fall in self-registrations by carmakers and dealers and to a 28 percent decline in short-term rentals," Dataforce wrote in a release.
Private demand was relatively stable, down only 0.3 percent, while long-term rentals grew 4.1 percent last month.
Also playing a role was the 17 percent fall in diesel sales, said Gianmarco Giorda, head of the industry association ANFIA. Without this slump, he writes in a release, overall sales would have risen 6 percent in June and 5 percent in the first half of the year.
The market share for diesel cars was 52.6 percent in June, 6 percentage points less than during the same month in 2017. The gasoline share was 33.1 percent, up from 29.6 percent in June 2017.
The share for vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas doubled to 2.8 percent, thanks to an 84 percent increase in sales, while the share for vehicles powered by liquefied petroleum gas was marginally down to 6.6 percent.
Hybrid cars took a 4.5 percent share, up from 3.3 percent in the same month of 2017. Full-electric sales more than doubled to 440, resulting in a 0.3 percent share.
The decline of the Fiat accelerated in June. Sales of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ flagship brand fell 31 percent after declining 23 percent in May and 15 percent in April. Fiat’s market share tumbled to 16 percent in June from 21.4 percent in the same month of 2017.
According to Dataforce, the slump "is a direct effect of the fall of self-registrations."
FCA sales fell 19 percent, with Alfa Romeo down 23 percent and Lancia slipping 13 percent. Jeep was FCA's bright spot, with a 92 percent jump fueled by sales of the Compass compact SUV.
Volkswagen Group sales were up 17 percent on the back of a 21 percent jump in VW brand sales and a 19 percent increase from Seat. Skoda sales were up 6.7 percent.
Within the PSA Group, Peugeot sales grew 9.3 percent in June, Opel sales were stable and Citroen registrations slipped 8.1 percent.
Renault sales were down 7.6 percent, and sister brand Dacia lost nearly 16 percent. Ford registrations declined 6.5 percent.
Among premium automakers, BMW sales rose 9.2 percent and Audi 8.8 percent, while Mercedes-Benz sales fell 16 percent. Jaguar registrations were up 86 percent.
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Asian automakers reported mixed results. South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia lost 8.5 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively. Nissan's sales fell 42 percent, while Japanese rival Toyota rose 4.1 percent.
Among volume segments, only small and compact SUVs posted positive results, with sales of the latter growing 46 percent. Small, compact, medium and large cars all suffered sales declines of more than 20 percent.
The first half of 2018 saw 90,000 additional sales of SUVs and a 100,000-unit decline in registrations of traditional body styles, said Salvatore Saladino, country manager of Dataforce in Italy.
It is too early to determine whether this switch is due to changing customer preferences or to a different product offering by automakers, Saladino said.
Overall registrations in the first half of 2018 totaled 1.12 million, down 1.5 percent from the previous year.