Originally posted on opportunity:energy.
As Europe sets sail for ever more ambitious growth in electric vehicles, all is not well in the continent’s fourth-largest car market, Italy. While other major European auto markets continued to see strong increases in electric vehicle adoption in February, the Bel Paese almost seemed to be coming to a standstill. Why is that?
as official UNRAE monthly figures show, February was another month of worrying losses for car sales. Similarly to January sales figuresAs well as those in recent months, car registrations in general in Italy decreased by more than 22% year-on-year (YoY), with a total of around 112,000 registrations compared to more than 144,000 a year ago. Petrol and diesel powertrains fell to 26.4% and 22.3% market share respectively (from 32.8% and 25.1%), a relatively modest decline in share, while that the absolute registration figures for both types of engines suffered year-on-year falls of almost a third or more. Plug-in traditional hybrids increased their market share to 34.2% (compared to 28.8% twelve months ago), while also falling in absolute numbers by 7.5%, a sign of worsening market conditions. Italian car market.
Fully electric vehicles also showed mixed signs, as a total of 3,175 units were registered, for a market share of 2.8%. Although this meant a relative increase in weight compared to the balance of last year (2.4% participation in February 2021), it also marked a decrease of more than 8% year-on-year from the 3,460 registrations a year ago, as well as the lowest absolute sales figure since October 2020. This is the first time in years that we have witnessed a decline in year-on-year monthly sales of all-electric cars (with the notable exception of April 2020, when full lockdowns froze the country ). The reason is quite simple: the Italian government is discussing new incentives, following the end of the original tax package last December and the market deterioration that followed immediately. However, they have yet to be confirmed, and this inevitably leaves customers waiting for new incentives before finalizing a BEV purchase. The sooner the government provides clarity (and funding), the faster the entire electric car market will return to its usual rate of growth.
Plug-in hybrids followed a different path than all other powertrains this month, going against the grain. With 5,473 registrations, PHEVs accounted for 4.9% of the market, up 11% from last year’s levels, when they stopped at 3.4% share. It’s a brilliant result for this transitional technology, which seems clearly favored by Italian consumers and certainly by car dealers. Their strong performance allowed the combined market share of all plug-in powertrains to reach 7.7%, a rather disappointing result but an improvement nonetheless from the 5.8% achieved in February 2021.
In such a small market, which BEV sold better despite waiting for new incentives? The monthly top 10 chart shows some unusual results as well as new entries.
The Fiat 500e won its first crown of the year, reaching 509 registrations in a month with no volume of deliveries from the main contender Dacia Spring. The Smart ForTwo took second place with 297 units, helped also by the absence of another contender from the A-segment podium, the Renault Twingo ZE. The two successful Groupe Renault minis may have been subject to logistical shortages and will surely meet again soon. Meanwhile, an unlikely competitor from the D-segment rose to third position: the Tesla Model Y, earning its highest place to date in the Italian BEV market with 223 registrations, in a month otherwise marked by the absence of the Tesla Model. 3.
Outside of the podium, the VW ID.3 was fourth with 152 registrations, just ahead of the Renault Zoe with 145 registrations. A new entry in the table reached sixth place, the Audi Q4 e-tron, a notable competitor to the Tesla Model Y whose potential has yet to be confirmed in Italy. Just behind, the brand new BMW i4 also debuted in seventh place with 101 registrations, a tie with the experienced Hyundai Kona EV, soon to be replaced by an all-new model. The Peugeot e-2008 and Nissan Leaf closed a table with an unusually high number of top segment models.
When a second month came and went without a clear electric mobility policy from the Italian government, the absence of incentives depressed the entire car market, including sales of the cheapest BEV models, greatly reducing the total number of electric vehicle registrations for the month. Higher-end all-electric models, by contrast, continued to sell at their usual pace given lower sensitivity to discounts. The impact on the entire car market could be felt very clearly for the first time, and policy makers took note of the situation. A new incentive scheme has been under discussion for several weeks, to help the sector out of the slump. It can’t come soon enough.
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