Italian car industry – February 2012 Outlook.

The Italian car industry is weak since the end of Government scrap incentives (March 2010) and in the period 2010-2011 has lost 20%, from 2.159.000 in 2009 to 1.750.000 in 2011. However, last year closed with a negative trend and January started the 2012 with a lost of 16.6%.

In February 2012 sales has been heavily penalized by weather, considering that the unusual level of snow has blocked the country for 2 weeks. However, data includes huge self registrations forced by OEMs to give a better outlook to their performance.

Unrae, the association of importers, are pressing the Italian Government to put in place incentives to the sector, in spite the analysis previous incentives effects shows they are not useful to a real market growth in middle terms. Fiat Group is not asking any incentive.

Brands Performance             Fiat/Chrysler Group (Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Jeep) with 77.470 (-17.500) closed the first two months stable in share (28.7% or 0.2 down on previous year). The Brand Fiat is obviously the market leader with 53.445 (-13.050) and a share of 19.8 (0.5 down). Hard to say how many of these registrations were to final customers and how many self-registered to dealers or Fiat Companies in Turin…

Ford is importers leader in spite declining share at 8.4, 0.9 down) and Volkswagen is 3rd probably just temporary, with a share at 8.3% (0.9 up) very close to Ford (please see the PDF attached for more data).

Forecast                                  Political and Economic outlook give no change for short term market recovery. Consumer negative sentiment is reflected is the empty showrooms. Current inflation index at 3.6 is peaking after 4 years and 2011 salary increase is only at 1.7 pct. and youth unemployment still very high does not encourage new potential customers to purchase a new car. The increased taxation over car transfer acts has penalized also the used vehicle market. Liquidity in the bank system is really low and consumer credit is suffering constraints while dealer network system is close to collapse.

The OEMs Consensus forecast, issued by UNRAE in December was for a 2012 market at 1.680.000, or 4.0 down. Focus2move forecast, issued in December was  projecting the market at 1.620.000 or 7.4 down as effect of a very slow start and a recovery in the second half.

We have not yet reviewed this forecast, in spite a projection from first two month, based on market seasonality, is at 1.4 million.

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