Italian car market grows in shadow of economic worries

December 05, 2016

New car registrations in Italy will be the highest for six years by the end of 2016. Growth has come despite the economic disruption caused by the ongoing banking crisis and months of uncertainty ahead of yesterday’s referendum on constitutional reform.

New car sales in 2016 will exceed 1.8 million units, compared to just under 1.6 million in 2015.

Market analyst Centro Studi Promotor (CSP) predicts that growth will continue in 2017. It says new car sales will rise 11% to reach more than 2 million units.

This will be an important benchmark, as the Italian new car market averaged at least 2 million units until the recession took hold in 2009.

CSP forecasts that the market will grow again in 2018 by 5.9% to take annual new car sales back to pre-recession levels of about 2.2 million units.

The growing volume of new sales will lead to increasing numbers of cars entering the Italian used car market in the coming years.

However, the overall number of vehicles reaching the used car market is still substantially lower than pre-recession levels. New car sales for the three years to the end of 2015 were 2.2 million units lower than the same period just before the recession.

Therefore, it is likely to be 2020 before the volume of cars entering the used vehicle market for the first time reaches the levels seen before the 2009 economic slump.

As the volume of used cars recovers, demand is expected to keep pace with supply to maintain residual values at their current position, with potential for a slight improvement according to Autovista Intelligence analysts.

This may depend on how the economy responds to the weekend’s events. However, elsewhere in Europe, used car values have proven resilient in the face of economic shocks such as the Brexit vote and the diesel emissions scandal.

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March 31, 2017

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