Registrations in Italy slipped 2.4 percent in February to 177,825, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. The month had the same number of selling days as February 2018.
Demand from private customers rose 12 percent, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. Previous increases were 4.3 percent in January, 10 percent in December and 5.2 percent in November, according to market researcher Dataforce.
Sales to private customers have risen by 16,000 units in two months, said Dataforce, helping sustain overall demand. It is too early to tell whether the recovery of private demand is solid or customers just pulled forward purchases to avoid a feared increase in taxes, said Salvatore Saladino, Dataforce’s country manager in Italy.
The 2019 Italian budget law introduced an additional purchase tax on vehicles emitting more than 160 g/km of carbon dioxide, while granting incentives to cars emitting up to 90 g/km of CO2. The tax kicked in March 1, while the incentive side has been delayed by the lack of an implementing decree.
Sales to companies were up 11 percent.
All other channels suffered declines, with registrations by short-term rental companies dropping 18 percent and sales to long-term rental businesses down 15 percent. Self-registrations by dealers and automakers fell 14 percent and 72 percent, respectively.