Italian new car sales fell 13.7pc to 119,454 units in December 2020 compared with 138,405 units recorded the prior month, according to data released by the Associazione Nazionale Filiera Industria Automobilistica (ANFIA) on January 5.
The decline was caused by a 49pc decline in self-registrations; a method used by some automakers to “artificially” increase sales volumes by selling dealerships a new vehicle that is “resold” on to customers as nearly new.
Unsurprisingly social distancing and restrictive travel measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 also negatively affected sales. Sales to short-term rental companies plunged 61pc given that the restrictions affected domestic tourism and business travel.
Sales to private customers declined slightly by 0.5pc, after growing 12pc in November. Private sales were hit when a government programme to subsidize new cars with low CO2 emissions ran out of funds by late October.
That said, the programme was revived in late December with the government providing €120mn ($147mn) in extra funding to offer a €2,000 incentive to buyers of cars emitting up to 60 g/km of CO2 and a further €6,000 Ecobonus for new full-electric or plug-in hybrid models.
For the whole of 2020, Italian new vehicle registrations declined 28pc to 1.38mn units.