Registrations of new vehicles in Italy fell 9.6 percent in March to 193,662, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Although March had one less selling day than a year ago, much of the blame was attributed to a loss in consumer confidence.
Demand from private customers slipped 1.2 percent after four consecutive months of growth, according to market researcher Dataforce. Sales to companies declined 7.3 percent, and those to long-term rentals were down 7.7 percent. Both deliveries to short-term rental fleets and self-registrations by dealers fell 18 percent. Self-registrations by automakers plunged 79 percent.
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. While the tax kicked in March 1, the incentive has been delayed by the lack of an implementing decree.
According to Dataforce, the CO2 measures had virtually no effect in March, as cars subject to the additional tax saw sales increase to just under 8,000 units, compared with under 5,000 in March 2018. Just over 1,000 low-emission vehicles were sold, down 20 percent from the same month of 2018.
According to the Il Sole 24 Ore Italian daily business newspaper, the rise in deliveries of high-emission cars might derive from self-registrations by dealers.
Paolo Scudieri, chairman of the industry association ANFIA, said the drop in overall demand has been triggered by a decline in consumer confidence, given the negative forecasts for Italy’s economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently revised downward its growth forecast to minus 0.2 percent for 2019, Scudieri said.