Italy’s new-car market suffered an abrupt decline last year, with sales plunging 19.9 percent versus 2011.
Hovewer, this is not a big surprise given the state of economies in the euro zone. What’s more interesting is that in 2012 the Fiat Panda ended an 18-year-old domination of the Fiat Punto as Italy’s best sold automobile.
Launched in 1993, the Fiat Punto has become Italy’s No. 1 nameplate a year later and maintained this position until last year, when only 80,011 Puntos were sold, accounting for a drop of 34.6 percent (122.287 units in 2011). Launched in 2005, the third-generation Fiat Punto is beginning to show its age, despite two minor facelifts in 2009 and 2012.
The Fiat Panda on the other hand benefitted from the launch of an all-new model and reached 117,775 sales in 2012, compared to 115,863 the year before. So a city car has become Italy’s best sold vehicle. A return to basics, maybe?
What’s even more surprising is the name of the third-best selling car in Italy in 2012 – the Lancia Ypsilon. Virtually absent outside of Italy, the Lancia brand managed to outsell the world famous Fiat 500 with the Ypsilon (44,410 units versus 43,007 units). Italy’s best-selling imported car in 2012 is the Ford Fiesta (5th place overall), followed by the Citroen C3.