In December the True Fleet Market in Italy suffered a negative outcome for the first time since July, reporting a loss of -17.4%. At first glance this may seem a little disappointing after some really strong months, however taking into account the stellar volume performance of last year’s December, this outcome becomes a lot less surprising. Nevertheless new passenger car registrations on True Fleets this month are still clearly outperforming the level from the years 2008-2015. The Private Market was pretty stable in December with -0.9% while Special Channels grew by a remarkable +47.4%.
Brand performance December
The first four in the brand ranking (Fiat, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen) all suffered some December blues on the growth front. BMW (+ 10.0%) and Renault (+ 2.8%) remained in 5th and 6th place respectively while Peugeot in 7th (+ 18.0%) and Ford in 8th (with exactly one single registration less compared to December 2016) switched positions. Jeep and Citroën completed the top 10 with strong results of + 11.3% and a remarkable + 33.8% respectively; alongside this the French manufacturer was also the strongest market player by growth in absolute figures. The positive performance of Jeep was fuelled to almost 100% by the new generation of the Compass which achieved its highest share in the True Fleet SUV segment and was already the second strongest model behind the Renegade. The success for Citroën however is mainly based on three pillars with the C3, the all new small crossover C3 Aircross and the Jumpy/Spacetourer.
True Fleets and Private: two different target groups
Both the True Fleet and the Private Market lost volume compared to last year’s December albeit with notable differences within vehicle segments and channels. As you can see in the infographic this happens to a different extent from segment to segment. Furthermore there are two segments where the results are very different if you compare passenger cars registered on private customers’ vs company cars: While the Higher Middle class declined by 9.0% in True Fleets it grew by a considerable 42.7% in the Private Market. A similar outcome was achieved by SUV models with ‑ 10.2% (True Fleets) and + 21.7% (Private).
Not only is the general performance of these two vehicle groups different by channel; the top players were different too. If you look at SUV the local heroes, 500X and Jeep Renegade, were very strong both in private and in fleets. However, the Renault Captur and Nissan Qashqai placed 4th and 5th in the private sector “only” ranked 12th and 9th respectively for fleet customers in December. We came across another couple of models with even bigger discrepancies, the Dacia Duster and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The Dacia was ranked 2nd in Private and only 40th in fleet, while the Stelvio was 4th in True Fleets and only 41st in the Private Market.
Besides the ranking, it is interesting to understand the relevance of certain channels/customer groups by brand or model. While only 3% and 4% of all Dacia Duster or Kia Stonic in December were registered by companies we see a share of more than 50% for fleet customers for models like Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Range Rover Velar, Audi Q5 or Jaguar F-Pace.