MILAN -- New-car sales in Italy fell 50 percent to 99,711 in May, according to data from the Italian transport ministry.
Dealer showrooms gradually reopened from May 4 after being closed for nearly two months under coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
May 2020 had two less working days than May 2019.
Sales to private customers declined 35 percent to 68,106 in May, according to market researchers Dataforce, even though buyers who had ordered cars were able to take deliveries starting in early May.
Sales to short-term rental companies plunged 92 percent, as tourism and business trips were still hampered by a ban of nationwide travel. Registrations by long-term rental firms dropped 50 percent and sales to companies were down 42 percent.
Importers association UNRAE said most of the May registrations came from contracts signed before the COVID-19 lockdown. May's order intake was down 60 percent from the same month of 2019, UNRAE said.
Salvatore Saladino, of Dataforce, said in a release that "given the low level of orders, the market performance in June could be worse than in May."
By powertrain, electrified vehicle sales jumped thanks to new mild hybrid models such as the Ford Puma and the Fiat 500. Sales of hybrid cars, including mild hybrids, rose 18 percent to 12,618 with a 12.5 percent market share, up from 5.4 percent.
Full-electric car sales increased 36 percent to 1,063, while plug-in hybrids jumped 145 percent to 1,176.
Gasoline car sales suffered a 52 percent decline, while diesel sales dropped by 57 percent.
Both industry association ANFIA and importer association UNRAE have called upon the government to support the industry with a stimulus program. The government has so far helped automakers and dealers with measures such as pay for temporary layoffs and financing help but refrained from taking steps to directly stimulate demand.
Winners and losers.
The only brand to increase registrations in May was Ferrari, which posted a 50 percent jump to 59 from 40 units, according to Dataforce.
Premium brands fared better than the overall market as BMW sales fell 31 percent, Mercedes and Porsche were down 41 percent and Audi dropped by 43 per cent. The DS brand fell 19 percent.
Tesla, which had gained market share during the lockdown period because of its home delivery retail model, suffered a 50 percent decline.
Among the Fiat Chrysler group brands, both Fiat and Lancia sales suffered 60 percent declines. Alfa Romeo sales dropped by 50 percent, and Jeep lost 46 percent.
Volkswagen brand sales were down by 53 percent. Is T-Roc small SUV sold 2,501 units, making it the second most popular model last month after the Fiat Panda.
The longtime bestseller, the VW Golf, dropped out of the top 50 as the eighth generation of the compact hatchback started to arrive in dealerships.
Among VW Group's other brands, Seat dropped by 44 percent and Skoda suffered a 34 percent decline.
Within the PSA group, Peugeot sales slumped by 39 percent, Citroen declined by 45 percent and Opel slumped by 63 percent.
Toyota sales were down 52 percent, while Nissan suffered a 59 percent decline. Hyundai sales fell by 50 percent while sister brand Kia dropped 40 percent.
Ford sales fell by 43 percent and Renault sales were down 52 percent.
Italy sales through May are down 50 percent to 451,366, with a loss of more than 460,000 units from 2019.