By on February 20, 2013

And on we go in our round-the-world-travels, exploring what the main car markets in the world looked like in 2012. We have gone through the ChineseEuropeanRussianIndian and Israeli markets already, now let’s have a look at Italy…

Not really interested? That’s ok, you can check out the best-selling models and brands in 172 additional countries and territories on my blog. Enjoy!

Back to Italy. And for the first time since World War II… Well you’re going to have to jump to find out…

The Fiat Panda put an end to 18 consecutive years of Fiat Punto domination in Italy

See the Top 46 best-selling carmakers in Italy in 2012 here

Well, there’s no easy way to say this, but the Italian car market is in a crisis. And here’s why.

1. After losing a sizeable 15% in 2011 to fall to 1,749,739 registrations, it is down another 19% in 2012 to just 1,410,824 units. This is the lowest annual figure since 1979!

2. For the first time since World War II (here we go), the car population in Italy may even have decreased this year with more cars being scrapped than new cars being bought!

3. Aren’t the above two enough? If not, well. There doesn’t seem to be any ‘Bring back to scrappage scheme to get us out of this hole’ sentiment anywhere in the Italian government right now. So this could get worse, much worse.

See the Top 46 best-selling carmakers in Italy in 2012 here

Brand-wise, it’s hell on earth. If Fiat maintains its market share at 20.8% by dropping like the rock the overall market is at -18%, no manufacturer in the Top 15 actually gains ground this year… The one closest to do so is Hyundai with stable sales that enable it to go from #15 in 2011 to #12 in 2012. Kia is the star of the show at +39% in 17th place and Dacia the only other lucky one in the Top 20 at +1 and #18. Then you have Land Rover at #23 and +38% and then… no brand in positive territory until the #41 spot.

Told you, hell on earth.

 Hyundai is the only carmaker in the Top 15 to NOT lose ground in 2012

See the Top 50 best-selling models in Italy in 2012 here

Now onto the models ranking. And these are historical times indeed as for the first time since 1994 we hail a new leader: the Fiat Panda. Helped by the third generation of the model launched in late 2011, the Panda puts an end to 18 consecutive years of Fiat Punto domination with sales up 2% to 117,775 units and 8.3% share. It even broke the 10% share barrier in October for the first time since 1989 for the Panda nameplate and for the first time for any model in Italy since December 2007 when the Fiat Punto hit 10.5%.

Also interesting to note that it is the first time the Fiat Panda nameplate finishes the year in pole position in Italy, even though it was launched back in 1980. But it always had someone bigger than her (yes for me the Panda is a she – go figure): Fiat 126, Fiat Uno and Fiat Punto. Not anymore. Ha!

Fiat Punto

See the Top 50 best-selling models in Italy in 2012 here

Reversely, the Fiat Punto, in effect not truly renewed since the Grande Punto launched back in 2005, dives to its lowest ever level at home. For the first time ever in a full year, it sells less than 100,000 units: down 35% on 2011 to just 80,011 units and 5.7% share. It even fell below 5% market share 3 times this year: in November 4.8%October (4.7%), and August when it hit the nameplate’s lowest-ever market share in the country since its original launch in 1993 at 4.6%…

Lancia Ypsilon

Thanks to a strong start of year, the Lancia Ypsilon climbs onto the podium for the first time ever at #3 with 44,410 sales and 3.1%, down 19%. It passes the Fiat 500 (-28%) and Ford Fiesta (-36%) but has not ranked in the monthly Top 3 since April.

Peugeot 208

Panda-Punto-Ypsilon-500: for the first time since 2000 when the Fiat Punto led the way ahead of the Fiat Seicento, Lancia Y and Fiat Panda, the Top 4 models are 100% Italian this year…

See the Top 50 best-selling models in Italy in 2012 here

The first Alfa Romeo to rank within the year-end Italian Top 10 since 1990 last year, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta confirms in 2012, up one spot to #8 with 29,878 units and 2.1% (-15%). With the Panda, the only other 3 models to not lose ground in the 2012 Top 20 are the Toyota Yaris stable at #10, the all-new Peugeot 208 landing directly at #15 with 19,451 sales and 1.4%, peaking at #5 in October, and the VW Tiguan up 28% and 18 ranks to #19…

Mercedes B-Class

Other great performers in the Top 50 include the Fiat Freemont up 44% and 23 spots to #22, the Hyundai ix35 up 28% and 19 ranks to #23, the Mercedes B-Class up 51% and 40 spots to #25, BMW 3 Series up 18% and 24 ranks to #32 and the Audi Q3 and VW Up! up to #40 and #44 for their first full year of sales.

See the Top 50 best-selling models in Italy in 2012 here

You can also check out:

December sales: Italy December 2012: Fiat 500L up to #6, Renault Clio at 10-year high

Previous year: Italy Full Year 2011: An Alfa Romeo in the Top 10 for the first time since 1990

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.
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5 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What The Italians Bought in 2012...”


  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    In America in tough times, overall sales go down,luxury cars hold steady, but there’s a pronounced move to smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Do you see a similar move toward greater fuel economy, and really, Italy’s main oil supplier has been Libya – what happened to Italian fuel prices over the last year?

    • 0 avatar

      Hi Lorenzo,
      Italians have always been one of the countries in Europe that buys the most amount of smaller cars so it would be hard to but even more. However the luxury brands are steady or dropping less as you said. And Italian fuel prices have gone up relatively significantly over the last few years.
      Cheers,
      Matt

  • avatar

    Thanks Matt. I for one have always appreciated Italian cars. Stylistically and mechanically. I find that market irresistible. If only Fiat brought over some Lancia, Alfas and different Fiats…

  • avatar
    skor

    I know an Italian car joke, but I’m not sure I should tell it for fear of being banned.

  • avatar
    rayb2403

    it really pains me to see the fiat group in such trouble, i have read articles about the possibility of fiat selling alfa romeo to VW….sad times indeed!


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