MILAN -- Italy's new-car sales fell 14 percent in January to 134,001, according to data from the country's ministry of infrastructure and transport.
January had two fewer selling days than the same month of 2020. With the same number of selling days, sales would have declined by 5 percent.
Sales were hit by lower short-term rental demand, which fell 81 percent and a drop in self-registrations by dealerships, which dropped 22 percent.
Private demand remained more stable, falling just 0.6 percent, helped by scrapping incentives which offset the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business sales declined 13 percent, while long-term rental demand fell 14 percent, according to data from market researcher Dataforce. Dealer registrations fell 22 percent.
Private demand was 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.
A further up to 6,000-euros Ecobonus is available if the new car is a full-electric or a plug-in hybrid model.
Customers who trade in old cars and buy one emitting between 61 g/km and 135 g/km of CO2 benefit from a 1,500-euro subsidy until June as part of a second, 250-million-euro finance program.
Dataforce forecasts 2021 sales in Italy will rise 12 percent to 1.55 million.