MILAN -- Italy's new-car sales declined 12 percent in February to 142,998, according to data from the country's ministry of infrastructure and transport.
A rise in demand from private customers failed to offset a drop in sales to short-term rental companies.
According to the ANFIA industry association, it was the worst February for registrations in the last 6 years.
Sales to private customers were up 11 percent, helped by a government program to subsidize new cars with low CO2 emissions, which had run out of funds by late October but was revived in late December.
The government is providing 120 million euros ($140 million) to offer a 2,000-euro incentive to buyers of cars emitting up to 60 grams per km of CO2.
Short-term rental demand fell 72 percent while long-term rental demand fell 16 percent, according to data from market researcher Dataforce. Business sales declined 5.6 percent, while self-registrations by dealerships dropped 3 percent.