MILAN -- New-car sales in Italy fell 19 percent to 110,292 in July, according to data from the country's ministry of infrastructure and transport.
There was one less selling day than in the same month of 2020.
Market research company Dataforce said all sales channels saw declines.
Sales to short-term rental companies dropped 32 percent after more than doubling in June. Demand from private customers fell by 21 percent. Registrations of company cars were down 22 percent while sales to long-term rental companies declined by 11 percent.
Self-registrations by automakers and dealers were down 13 percent.
Industry association UNRAE said the July sales total was 28 percent below the pre-pandemic level of July 2019.
Registrations for the first half were up 38 percent to 995,239.
Dataforce revised upwards its forecast for full-year sales as a new scrapping program comes into effect and the government makes more money available to incentivize EV purchases.
The company forecasts the Italian market will grow 12 percent in 2021 to 1.54 million, compared with its previous forecast of 1.5 million.
Starting Aug. 6, buyers of a new car emitting 61 to 135 g/km of CO2 who scrap an old car will get a 1,500-euro bonus. The money available is capped at 200 million euros.
A government fund covering incentives to buy battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles has been increased with an additional 60 million euros.
Monthly winners and losers
Stellantis, the Italian market leader with a 36.2 percent market share, saw most of its brands lose sales. The company was formed in January from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group.
Alfa Romeo was Stellantis's worst-performer with registrations down 46 percent.
Opel sales fell 45 percent and Citroen's volume was down 31 percent
Peugeot and DS sales were down 18 percent, Fiat brand posted a 16 percent decline and Lancia registrations dropped by 14 percent,
A bright spot was Maserati, whose sales rose 23 percent.
Among Volkswagen Group brands Porsche was the worst performer with sales down 50 percent. Seat's volume fell 43 percent and VW brand sales dropped 27 percent. Skoda and Audi were down 20 percent
Within the Renault Group, Renault brand sales were down 26 percent, while demand for Dacia vehicles fell by 11 percent.
Ford registrations dropped 39 percent.
Asian brands had a mixed month.
Hyundai sales were down 14 percent and Nissan sales declined by 8.4 percent.
Toyota gained 6.5 percent and Kia grew 4.9 percent.
Among premium automakers, Mercedes-Benz sales declined by 29 percent and BMW brand sales dropped 22 percent.
Registrations of plug-in hybrid and full-electric vehicles rose 206 percent to 11,368.
Their combined market share for the month was 10.2 percent, up from 2.7 percent in July 2020 and from 9.4 percent in June, importer association UNRAE said.
Sales continued to benefit from government subsidies of up to 8,000 euros ($9,400) for full-electric vehicles and up to 4,500 euros for plug-in hybrids.
Sales of plug-in hybrids increased 199 percent to 6,272, while registrations of full-electric vehicles increased 216 percent to 5,096.
The Fiat New 500 was the most popular full-electric vehicle with 883 units sold, followed by the electric version of the Renault Twingo with sales of 629.
The Jeep Compass compact SUV was again the most popular plug-in hybrid choice with 1,062 units sold, ahead of the Jeep Renegade compact SUV and the Volvo XC40 compact crossover.
Full-hybrid and mild-hybrid sales were up 87 percent for a 29.4 percent market share, higher than both gasoline and diesel car sales.
Diesel sales declined 51 percent for a 22.7 percent share, 14.3 percentage points lower than in July 2020.Gasoline powertrain sales were down 43 percent in July, with a market share of 27.4 percent, 11.1 percentage points down from July 2020.
Sales of cars powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were 5.6 percent higher, with an 8.4 percent market share, two percentage points higher than the previous year.
Demand for vehicles driven by compressed natural gas (CNG) dropped 39 percent, giving the powertrain a market share of 2 percent, down from 2.6 in July 2020.