Forecast: Italy new car sales down 15% in January image

Italy’s new car sales will drop to 140,000 units in January, the head of the Italian association of foreign carmakers said Tuesday Italian newswire MF-Dow Jones reported.

“It will be difficult to have more than 140,000 new car sales registrations” in January, Gianni Filipponi, the head of UNRAE said.

In addition, the executive said Italy’s new car sales this year will likely drop 5.6% to 1.65 million vehicles as the slowing economy and the government’s austerity reforms hit consumer confidence.

“UNRAE’s forecast as of December was for average 2012 car sales to come in at about 1.68 million, and that looks optimistic to us right now.”

Italian business confidence fell in January to the lowest in more than two years as the economy probably entered into a recession under the weight of austerity measures to fight the sovereign debt crisis.

The Italian economy, one of the most sluggish in the euro zone for more than a decade, posted a 0.2 percent decline in gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2011 and anal ysts expect GDP to continue falling for most of 2012.

In addition, Italy’s jobless rate rose to the highest in eight years in December.