Originally published on opportunity:energy.
Italy’s car market consolidated its recovery from the covid-19 spring lows in October, as sales rebounded to last year’s levels. Meanwhile, the road to electrification continues, with exponential growth trends reaffirmed in the country and across Europe.
October was going to have a hard time following the recent all-time highs set in September, the result of a combination of new government incentives and the typical end-of-quarter push. So, while no new record was reached this time around, it is reassuring to see that in an otherwise stable market, growth is something reserved for electrified cars.
Over 158,000 vehicles were registered in October, in line with the same period last year (see Unrae data). Traditional internal combustion models were, however, at a loss year over year (YoY), as the switch to hybrids by legacy carmakers goes mainstream. Traditional, plugless hybrid cars now make up about a quarter of all registrations, over 39,000 units, improving on previous levels and eating most directly into petrol car sales.
Plug-in vehicles registrations are still relatively low by other European markets’ standards, yet they have impressed with consistent growth, only arguably limited by low availability at Italian dealerships compared to other European markets.
Full electric (BEVs) in fact tripled YoY in October, with 2,889 registrations (up from 947 in October 2019), for a 1.8% market share. This is their second best result to date, right after the September records. Even more notable is the result for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs): with 3,653 units and 2.3% market share — over 4 times the 849 registrations from October 2019 — this month not only gives PHEVs an unusual edge over BEVs, but also sets a new historic high. Total plug-in market share stood at 4.1%, just shy of the previous month’s record 4.4%.
When it comes to individual results for pure electric cars, the top 10 monthly chart for October shows how dominant compact cars are in the Italian market.
The Smart ForTwo conquered the top spot for the second time this year, with 571 registrations, one of only three models to achieve best selling status in monthly stats in 2020. The Renault Zoe (usually on top) followed in the second position, with 304 registrations, while the Hyundai Kona EV finally reached the podium for the first time, getting third place with 258 registrations.
Volkswagen followed with two models. The brand new ID.3 took fourth place with 234 registrations — slightly below the previous month’s level (270), when it first landed in Italy. Lukewarm reception or just a matter of VW logistics favouring other European markets? We shall see. Meanwhile, the e-up! stayed strong and took fifth place, with 198 registrations, confirming its popularity in a country highly biased towards city cars.
The top 10 was completed by more well-known models. The Mini Cooper SE took sixth place with 149 registrations, while the Opel Corsa-e trailed at 129 units. The Smart ForFour (108 registrations) followed, separating the Corsa-e from its French siblings, the Peugeot e-208 and e-2008, which closed the chart at 100 and 97 units, respectively.
So, any surprises this month? Perhaps one: no Tesla among the best sellers. Right after record deliveries in September (880 units), the Model 3 was out of the October top 10, a temporary dry spell that could, however, be anticipated, given the brand’s usual push in favour of quarter-end numbers.
However, it is this market’s main feature to favour models from the A and B segments. Speaking of which, more brand-new mini BEVs are on their way to make an impact in the last months of the year, with the Fiat 500e leading the charge. 2020 is poised to end on a high note for the Italian EV market!
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