Italy - Country Commercial Guide
Automotive Sector

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-10-09

Overview

Automotive is a major industry sector for Italy. In 2019 the Italian automotive supply chain was formed by over 5,500 companies and employed 274,000 employees (direct and indirect); its turnover was $118.5 billion, 11% of manufacturing turnover in Italy and 6.2% of Italian GDP.

In 2019, Italy was the fourth European market after Germany, the UK and France. Sales were stable (1.916 million compared to 1.91 million in 2018). Italy was in the first quarter of 2020, the 3rd largest European automotive market after Germany and France, with 347,000 new registered passenger vehicles, a 35.5% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. The market was sharply diminished by the Covid crisis and the ensuing economic downturn. However, the situation seems to be slowly improving, as 132,000 new passenger vehicles were registered in June 2020, 23.1% less than June 2019. Between January and June 2020, the reduction was 46% (594,000 units in 2020 compared to 1,083,000 in 2019). In 2019 the Italian vehicles production was 854,000 units (995,000 in 2018.)

Italy is also one of the largest European markets for motorcycles and mopeds; in 2019 the total amount of two – wheel vehicles registered (mopeds excluded) was 232,000 units, 5.7% more than in 2018. In the first five months of 2020 registrations were 67,000 units, 38.6% less than in the same period in 2019. Considering the total market (mopeds included), registrations were 73,000 units in 2020, 37.8% less than in the first five month in 2019.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The Italian automotive market

In 2019 and in 2018, foreign brands captured about 75% of the Italian automotive market. Major foreign competitors, all manufacturing abroad, were PSA and VW, respectively with 14% and 8% of the market. Italian manufacturers registered a 26% market share. FCA is the only auto manufacturer producing significant volumes of cars and light commercial vehicles in Italy. FCA models are mostly manufactured in Italy; some of them are imported from abroad, including from North America. Jeep models are both imported from the United States, (and from North America), and manufactured locally in Melfi (Italy). In the framework of the current incentives to help the automotive sector, FCA was given a $7.05 billion state-backed loan to help its Italian unit and the whole country’s automotive market and supply chain to overcome the crisis. FCA is supposed to complete a merger with the French PSA Group by the first quarter of 2021. Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati are also manufactured in Italy. In 2018, Ford sold 129,000 cars (6.8% of the Italian market) and saw a decrease in 2019 to 122,000 cars (6.4% of the Italian market). In May 2020 Ford Puma was the bestselling hybrid car in Italy with 1,200 units. Tesla increased its sales from 53 units in 2018 to 364 units in 2019. Tesla’s market share reached 1.5% in Italy in March 2020 from 0.14% of market share in March 2019.

Italy has one of the largest car stocks in Europe (over 39.5 million units in 2019, or 1.4% more than 2018). Cars are, on average, 11 years old. Italy also had a stock of 100,000 buses and 6.9 million motorcycles in 2019.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alternative fuel vehicles are a sizable share (21%) of the Italian car market primarily due to incentives to buy non-polluting or less polluting models. There are country-wide bonuses as well as some local, ‘regional’ incentives

Italy remains a strong market for both LPG and CNG vehicles. In the past FCA opted for developing technologies related to these vehicles, more recently focusing on hybrid and electric models.

The alternative fuel vehicles market is composed by both new and retrofitted used vehicles. It is hard to determine proportion of vehicles manufactured in Italy versus imported. Alternative fuel vehicles rely on a widespread distribution network, with thousands of LPG and CNG refilling stations.

Automotive Components

Italy is one of the major world manufacturers of automotive components and in 2019 the sector’s balance was $7.31 billion. The United States was Italy’s 5th export market, worth $1.48 billion. U.S. imports accounted for 3% of the total Italian imports or $580 million, creating a U.S. deficit was $900 million. U.S. automotive component manufacturers, including Exide, Federal Mogul and PPG, have a significant manufacturing presence in Italy where they manufacture parts used in vehicles that are produced locally and then exported.

Opportunities

Italy is an interesting market for alternative fuels technologies. The U.S. has a competitive advantage in the use of alternative fuels, particularly in the public transportation sector. Besides that, the Italian market offers opportunities for U.S. companies active in the following subsectors:

  • Diagnostic equipment needed to maintain gasoline engines converted to dual fuel (gasoline/LPG and gasoline/CNG).
  • Refueling stations, including parts and components. The increasing number of LPG and CNG vehicles requires refueling stations allowing for self-service refueling (self-service is very rare in Italy and was prohibited until recently due to safety reasons.)
  • Electric vehicles. The Italian market shows interest in electric cars and two and three-wheelers. Since 08/01/20, new, diversified, incentives between Euros 1.75k and 10k are available to buy new Euro 6, hybrid or electric vehicles. A price ceiling (Euros 40 or 50k + taxes) is applied.

Resources

Trade shows:

  • Automotive Dealer Day: – Digital Edition: September 16th - 17th, 2020. Innovative mobility services.
  • Oil&nonoil - Fuel Storage & Transport: October 20th - 23rd, 2020, Verona, Italy. Italy’s only event for all players in the liquid and gas fuel distribution industry.
  • MBE (Motor Bike Expo): January 21st - 24th, 2021, Verona, Italy. It is the world’s largest custom motorcycle event, a key point of reference for the biggest brands in the motorcycle market.
  • EICMA – International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition: November 11th - 14th 2021 (November 9th -10th reserved to press and trade), Milano – Rho Fiera, Italy. It is the most important trade fair event for the entire two – wheel sector in the world.
  • Autopromotec: May 25th - 28th, 2022, Bologna, Italy. The most specialized international exhibition of automotive equipment and aftermarket products.

Major Associations:

  • ACI – Automobile Club of Italy
  • ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers Association
  • ANCMA – Italian of Cycles, Motorcycles and Accessories
  • ANFIA – Italian Association of the Automotive Industry
  • UNRAE – Association of foreign car makers operating in Italy

U.S. Commercial Service Contact:

Mr. Andrea Rosa, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Consulate Milan
Tel. +39/02/62688-523
E-mail:
Andrea.Rosa@trade.gov
Website: https://www.trade.gov/italy