Italian car market down 5% in March 2013. Nissan Qasquai was cool.

Amid political uncertainty, the car market felt not only the continued economic recession but also the effects of the recent elections which are not leading to any sort of clarification in terms of the political and macroeconomic scenario.

The eco-incentives launched by the government in mid-March, ran out in a few hours due to the limited funds, very partially reviving the car market which only slightly increased its SAAR to almost 1.3 million, compared to 1.15 in the first two months of the year.

In March, new cars sold in Italy were 132.543, down 4.9%, posting the 18th consecutive year-on-year decline. Year-to-date sales were 354.487, down 12.9%.

For the first time in 15 months, though, the drop was single digit, apparently slowing the passenger car market’s downward spiral even considering that the year on year comparison can be misleading due to the effect of a truck drivers strike on March 2012 figures.

Nevertheless, some positive signs can be read scrolling the figures, at least in terms of SAAR, which was flat at 1.2 million, as customers who had previously held back their purchasing decisions, waiting for the implementation of a new round of eco-incentives, stepped back into the market.

The benefits of the subsidy ran out, due to the limited funding in just a few hours on March 14th soon after they kicked off, but they seem to have released some pent-up demand, with sales accelerating sharply in the latter part of the month.

The role of non-traditional powertrains and fuels, is increasing further: hybrids more than doubled the sales volume, despite the supply constraints affecting some makes, LPG increased almost 40% (now 9% of the market and 11,914 units), and CNG a whopping 61% (5.8% of the market and 7,661 sales), leading to a combined market share of close to 15%, the highest year to date.

Looking at the best brands performance:

Fiat confirmed its positive streak, sustained by sales of the recently launched 500L, the continued strength of its mini-cars (the Panda and 500 models dominate the segment with 60% of share) and by the wide offer of LPG and CNG engines: Q1 share is 2.5 percentage points above last year.

Volkswagen keeps a solid second position with 11,625 sales sustained by Golf’s dominance of the C hatchback segment and to the significant presence in some other mainstream segments (Up!, Polo, Passat, Tiguan all rank among top performers). Q1 sales were 29,846 with a 8.4% market share, just 0.1 points below 2012.

Ford continued its recovery from a slow beginning of the year, benefiting from the solid performances of compact hatchback Fiesta and the good performance small crossover B-Max and reaching 9,350 sales. YTD sales are improving as they reach 6.4% market share, well below last year’s 8.2%.

Opel in 4th sold 6,429 units with a share of 4.9%, down again versus the previous month and the main loser in March (-33% v last year). The good performance of the small Meriva MPV cannot compensate the reduced volumes coming from the aging Corsa hatchback and the severe slowdown of the compact Astra model, which is losing ground both in its hatchback and wagon versions. Opel is losing share also compared to Q1 2012 (5.2% v 5.7%) but will probably be looking forward to the volumes resulting from the introduction of the Adam mini-car.

Nissan was last month’s main winner with 6,436 sales, climbing 4 positions in the year to date ranking compared to 2012 full year; a performance sustained by the crossover range with Juke and Qashqai representing more than 90% of the brand’s sales.

Peugeot was 6th, selling 6,345 vehicles. Year-to-date sales were 16,812 with a share of 4.7%, mainly thanks to the performance of the 208, representing almost 50% of the total sales.

Lancia was 7th this month, regaining its January rank, selling 5,829 units with a share of 4.4%, up 0.4 points of share from the previous month, relying almost entirely on the Ypsilon sub-compact to achieve its sales.

Toyota kept the 8th position achieved in February with 5,631 sales and share at 4.2%, in line with last month. Q1 sales were 14,250 with 4.0% of share, slightly better than last month but still 0.2 points below Q1 2012.

Renault was 9th, losing 2 spots, selling 5,267 units with a share of 4.0%, minus 0.5 points from the previous month, due to the slowdown of the Clio hatchback, the backbone of its volumes which lost 3 positions in the model ranking. Year-to-date sales were 15,105 with a share of 4.2%, up 0.1 point from 2012.

Citroen slid drastically to 10th position from 6th the previous month, with 5,237 units in March losing 0.6 points versus last year, a second slowdown compared to the previous month (market share dropped from 5,4% in January to 4% in March) apparently due to the aging line-up in the core mass-market segments. It held to 6th place in the YTD tanking with 16,398 sales.

In The table below, the Top 25 Brands ranked by year to date position:

Rank Ytd

Rank 2012

Mar

Q1 2013

Q1 2012

Q2 2012

Q3 2012

Q4 2012

Feb

Mar

Q1 2013

1

1

Fiat

28.165

77.176

19,2%

21,9%

21,9%

21,3%

21,4%

21,2%

21,7%

2

2

Volkswagen

11.625

29.846

8,5%

7,8%

8,6%

7,7%

8,8%

8,8%

8,4%

3

3

Ford

9.350

22.934

8,2%

6,3%

7,0%

6,9%

6,3%

7,1%

6,4%

4

4

Opel

6.492

18.679

5,7%

5,7%

5,7%

5,2%

5,2%

4,9%

5,2%

5

7

Peugeot

6.345

16.812

4,4%

4,7%

5,3%

5,5%

5,1%

4,8%

4,7%

6

6

Citroen

5.237

16.398

5,2%

5,2%

4,4%

4,7%

4,6%

4,0%

4,6%

7

11

Nissan

6.436

15.354

3,8%

3,2%

3,8%

3,7%

3,9%

4,9%

4,3%

8

5

Lancia

5.819

15.159

5,0%

5,5%

4,9%

4,8%

4,0%

4,4%

4,3%

9

8

Renault

5.267

15.105

4,1%

4,8%

3,6%

4,3%

4,5%

4,0%

4,2%

10

9

Toyota

5.631

14.250

4,2%

3,4%

3,6%

4,6%

4,2%

4,2%

4,0%

11

10

Audi

4.546

12.853

3,6%

3,7%

3,9%

3,4%

3,4%

3,4%

3,6%

12

15

Mercedes

4.657

11.848

2,9%

2,9%

2,7%

3,1%

3,2%

3,5%

3,3%

13

13

Bmw

4.288

11.742

2,9%

2,8%

3,2%

3,3%

3,7%

3,2%

3,3%

14

12

Hyundai

3.990

10.738

3,1%

3,1%

3,0%

3,1%

2,9%

3,0%

3,0%

15

17

Kia

3.277

9.114

1,7%

1,7%

2,2%

2,2%

2,5%

2,5%

2,6%

16

14

Alfa Romeo

3.194

8.493

3,0%

3,2%

2,9%

2,7%

2,3%

2,4%

2,4%

17

16

Chevrolet

2.312

6.387

2,1%

2,7%

1,8%

2,0%

1,8%

1,7%

1,8%

18

18

Dacia

2.584

6.254

1,9%

2,0%

1,7%

1,9%

1,8%

1,9%

1,8%

19

19

Smart

1.917

5.454

1,4%

1,7%

1,6%

1,4%

1,6%

1,4%

1,5%

20

20

Mini

1.632

4.397

1,2%

1,3%

1,2%

1,3%

1,4%

1,2%

1,2%

21

22

Suzuki

1.779

4.127

1,2%

0,8%

1,0%

1,1%

1,0%

1,3%

1,2%

22

23

Land Rover

1.641

3.919

1,0%

0,8%

1,1%

1,0%

0,8%

1,2%

1,1%

23

21

Volvo

1.381

3.500

1,1%

1,1%

0,9%

1,2%

1,0%

1,0%

1,0%

24

24

Skoda

1.130

2.880

0,8%

0,7%

0,6%

0,8%

0,7%

0,9%

0,8%

25

25

Seat

1.047

2.843

0,9%

0,7%

0,7%

0,8%

0,8%

0,8%

0,8%

Apart from the podium where the traditional Fiat group mini and subcompact cars confirm their positioning a further positive result for the Italian make comes from the 500L, now in 4th position, up three places with a 3.4% market share.

Other signs of commercial vitality come from the Nissan Qashqai, up 5 places compared to February and the Nissan Juke which moved upwards on the scale from 25th to 17th position, both models substantially contributing to the Japanese make’s solid performance in the month.

The Ford Focus doubled its volumes, improving from 26th to 19th place.

Among other main movers, the small premium Mini, from 35th to 20th position and the BMW 1 series from 51 to 29; the VW Up! From 40th to 25th, the Dacia Sandero from 57th to 26th, somehow underlying the current market polarization towards either premium or low cost brands.

Other models lost some steam: the Opel Astra dropped from 18th to 27th place, the Kia Sportage from 22nd to 28th and the Nissan Micra from 30th to 42nd, the VW Tiguan from 28th to 44th.

In the table below, the top 50 models, ranked for the last month position:

Rank Mar

Rank Feb

Rank 2012

Model

Mar

Q1 2013

I Half 2012

Q3 202

Q4 2012

Feb

Mar

Q1 2013

1

1

1

Fiat Panda

10.559

29.778

8,0%

8,4%

9,4%

8,8%

8,0%

8,4%

2

2

2

Fiat Punto

5.877

17.969

6,0%

5,8%

4,9%

5,3%

4,4%

5,0%

3

3

3

Lancia Ypsilon

4.585

11.640

3,4%

3,0%

2,7%

3,0%

3,5%

3,3%

4

7

62

Fiat 500 L

4.525

9.909

0,0%

0,0%

2,0%

2,1%

3,4%

2,8%

5

4

7

Volkswagen Golf

4.246

10.957

2,5%

2,7%

2,1%

3,7%

3,2%

3,1%

6

11

13

Nissan Qasquai

4.142

9.152

1,6%

1,7%

2,0%

2,4%

3,1%

2,6%

7

5

4

Fiat 500

3.632

9.864

3,1%

3,4%

2,8%

2,7%

2,7%

2,8%

8

8

8

Volkswagen Polo

3.577

8.853

2,3%

2,1%

2,3%

2,2%

2,7%

2,5%

9

6

12

Renault Clio

3.456

9.535

1,7%

1,4%

2,1%

2,6%

2,6%

2,7%

10

10

5

Ford Fiesta

3.260

8.270

2,9%

3,2%

3,0%

2,3%

2,5%

2,3%

11

9

15

Peugeot 208

3.141

8.354

0,5%

2,5%

2,7%

2,6%

2,4%

2,3%

12

13

10

Toyota Yaris

2.620

6.571

2,0%

1,8%

2,2%

1,8%

2,0%

1,8%

13

12

6

Citroen C3

2.413

8.157

2,8%

1,8%

2,5%

2,1%

1,8%

2,3%

14

15

9

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

2.329

6.050

2,2%

2,1%

2,0%

1,6%

1,8%

1,7%

15

14

11

Opel Corsa

1.921

5.714

1,8%

1,9%

1,7%

1,5%

1,4%

1,6%

16

16

14

Smart fortwo

1.917

5.455

1,5%

1,6%

1,4%

1,6%

1,4%

1,5%

17

25

25

Nissan Juke

1.746

3.788

0,9%

0,8%

0,8%

0,9%

1,3%

1,1%

18

20

19

Ford C-Max

1.734

3.924

1,3%

1,1%

0,9%

1,0%

1,3%

1,1%

19

26

16

Ford Focus

1.669

3.655

1,6%

1,1%

0,9%

0,8%

1,3%

1,0%

20

35

18

Mini

1.632

4.402

1,3%

1,0%

1,3%

1,4%

1,2%

1,2%

21

17

44

Mercedes Class A

1.590

4.670

0,6%

0,4%

0,9%

1,3%

1,2%

1,3%

22

21

23

Fiat Freemont

1.512

3.690

1,0%

1,2%

0,9%

0,9%

1,1%

1,0%

23

19

33

BMW 3 series

1.434

3.644

0,7%

0,7%

0,9%

1,1%

1,1%

1,0%

24

24

26

Mercedes B Class

1.421

3.478

0,8%

0,9%

0,9%

1,0%

1,1%

1,0%

25

40

46

Volkswagen Up!

1.200

2.763

0,5%

0,7%

0,8%

0,6%

0,9%

0,8%

26

57

48

Dacia Sandero

1.179

2.278

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

0,5%

0,9%

0,6%

27

18

17

Opel Astra

1.124

3.747

1,5%

1,2%

1,1%

1,1%

0,8%

1,1%

28

22

50

Kia Sportage

1.058

3.172

0,5%

0,7%

0,7%

0,9%

0,8%

0,9%

29

51

49

BMW Series 1

1.054

2.521

0,6%

0,7%

0,6%

0,8%

0,8%

0,7%

30

27

21

Dacia Duster

1.042

2.957

1,2%

0,8%

0,9%

0,8%

0,8%

0,8%

31

38

24

Hyundai Ix35

1.027

2.745

1,0%

0,9%

0,9%

0,8%

0,8%

0,8%

32

56

65

Audi A3

984

2.121

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

0,5%

0,7%

0,6%

33

29

35

Audi A4

968

2.781

0,7%

0,8%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,8%

34

39

63

Ford B Max

939

2.524

0,0%

0,0%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

35

42

59

Land Rover Evoque

939

2.336

0,4%

0,7%

0,6%

0,5%

0,7%

0,7%

36

37

31

Fiat Qubo

919

2.543

0,8%

0,9%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

0,7%

37

31

28

Chevrolet Spark

918

2.728

0,8%

0,8%

0,8%

0,9%

0,7%

0,8%

38

44

64

Opel Mokka

885

2.337

0,0%

0,0%

0,0%

0,6%

0,7%

0,7%

39

58

27

Opel Meriva

861

2.132

0,9%

0,7%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

0,6%

40

45

32

Toyota Aygo

849

2.269

0,7%

0,7%

1,0%

0,7%

0,6%

0,6%

41

32

78

Citroen C3 Picasso

744

2.504

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

0,7%

0,6%

0,7%

42

30

36

Nissan Micra

654

2.462

0,7%

0,9%

0,6%

0,8%

0,5%

0,7%

43

34

79

Mini Countryman

628

2.288

0,4%

0,4%

0,5%

1,0%

0,5%

0,6%

44

28

20

Volkswagen Tiguan

625

2.496

1,1%

1,0%

0,9%

0,9%

0,5%

0,7%

45

33

39

Audi Q3

599

2.294

0,7%

0,7%

0,8%

0,6%

0,5%

0,6%

46

36

30

Fiat Bravo

584

2.056

0,8%

1,0%

0,5%

0,6%

0,4%

0,6%

47

48

 

BMW Serie 5

584

1.675

0,5%

0,4%

0,6%

0,6%

0,4%

0,5%

48

49

61

Ford Kuga

582

1.664

0,5%

0,5%

0,5%

0,6%

0,4%

0,5%

49

50

 

Toyota RAV4

577

1.659

0,5%

0,4%

0,5%

0,6%

0,4%

0,5%

50

52

34

Alfa Romeo MI.TO

568

1.326

0,8%

0,7%

0,6%

0,7%

0,4%

0,4%

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This report was written by Frederick.

(82)

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