Italian True Fleet has continued on from its outstanding form in 2016 by producing an exceptional start to 2017. The fleet market produced the highest volume on record for a January with a robust + 9.2% growth over January 2016 figures. This has helped propel the passenger car Total Market to finish with 172,000 registrations equating to a + 8.7% in terms of growth.
Inside January’s Top 20 models for True Fleet we found some high climbers in terms of volume, with no less than seven new entries. The Fiat Tipo was the highest climber moving from 77th to 3rd with release date perhaps playing a factor. The same might be said of the VW Tiguan moving from 61st to 7th, the BMW X1 jumping from 44th to 15th and the Opel Astra accelerating from 39th to 16th which could have also capitalised with their new generation releases. The Fiat Punto moving from 51st to 8th the Lancia Ypsilon shifting from 26th to 9th and the Mercedes GLC rising from 30th into 14th were the remaining entries with only 106 units separating them.
We decided on taking a deeper look into the Middle-Class vehicle segment. The segment had suffered a significant decline between the 2006 high of 72,620 till the 2013 low of 28,104 but the last four years has seen it once again start to grow. While on the surface this is perhaps the result of German brands continuing to dominate the market with more models available than ever before, it might also be a reflection on the other brands not having a product that matched the markets needs or wants and thereby losing some market share. There are however clear signs that manufacturers still regard this segment as open for disruption.
Alfa Romeo has re-emerged into this vehicle class bringing the new Giulia to where they had once competed with the 156 and the 159 before a seemingly 4 year hiatus for the manufacturer. After returning in 2016 the Giulia finished with 5.2% of the market share and in 2017 they have already managed to claim 4th position in the model ranking for January behind BMW 3 series in 1st, VW Passat in 2nd and Audi A4 in 3rd.
However for 2017 the Alfa Romeo brand may well encounter some competition along the way. Opel will release the new Insignia, the Skoda Superb finished out 2016 with record numbers, tripling its volume from 2015 and with the resurgence of the Jaguar brand, alongside three new engines available for the Jaguar XE mean it may not be as straight forward as it first seems. What we can see is room for the Middle Class vehicles to continuing to regain some of the lost True Fleet segment share in Italy.