MILAN -- Italian new-car registrations increased 3,277 percent in April to 145,033, according to data from the country's ministry of infrastructure and transport.
In April 2020, only 4,295 units were registered as the country was under complete lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The April 2021 figure was still 17 percent below the pre-pandemic level in April 2019, despite one more selling day, industry association ANFIA said in a press release.
Italy was still under partial lockdown in April, with most of the northern regions under strict travel limitations, but dealerships were open for business as they are classified as an essential activity. Some restrictions - such as a ban on inter-regional travel - were partially lifted as COVID-19 levels slowly dwindled in most regions.
According to market research company Dataforce, private demand was 8.1 percent lower in April 2021.
A government program to subsidize new cars with CO2 emissions up to 135 grams per km has helped to stimulate private demand in the previous months, but funds for the 61-135 g/km bracket ran out in April.
Sales to companies were 10 percent lower than in 2019, Dataforce said. Sales to long-term rental companies were down 7.3 percent, and sales to short-term rental companies dropped by 54 percent from the 2019 level, with tourism still hampered by travel restrictions. Self-registrations by automakers and dealers were 23 percent lower than in 2019.