Long-term rental drives Italian true fleet market

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The Italian true fleet market posted growth in March despite a total market tumble, according to latest research by Dataforce.

Jeep Compass

The Jeep Compass is now the brand’s highest-selling model

Analysis by the firm’s Benjamin Kibies shows true fleet registrations rose 6.1% last month, driven by growing interest in long-term rental (LTR) contracts, echoed among private customers. However, overall new car demand from private buyers was down for the fourth month running, contracting by 12.7%. Total market registrations for March fell 5.1%, leaving registrations just shy of 229,000 units.

Within the true fleet manufacturer league table, Fiat – despite not fully participating in the long-term rental boom, remained comfortably in the lead. BMW was second, growing its fleet registrations by 47.3% and also climbing up the ranking by four positions, driven primarily by the 1 Series but with substantial contributions from the 2 Series Active Tourer, the X1 and the 5 Series.

Volkswagen retained its third ranking along with Mercedes-Benz in fourth, both of them with growth rates exceeding the channel’s average. Ford secured the fifth position, despite the challenge of repeating the high registrations from March 2017 which mostly came from the Fiesta. Audi on number six was just six registrations away from duplicating its result from one year ago.

Jeep was seventh and saw its registrations rise 87.0% due to the new Compass. Peugeot took the eight spot while Alfa Romeo achieved growth of 68.5%, earning ninth position. Renault completed the top 10, moving down the ranking but securing a double-digit rise.

Dataforce’s Benjamin Kibies also looked closer at the long-term rental market and found that mini car registrations rose by 26.7% in the segment with a notable decline in other fleet sub channels. The same is true for the Higher Middle Class, with a +14.1% growth in LTR and a ‑7.6% decline in the rest of the fleet market. But small cars saw a 10.3% drop in LTR, contrasting with an 8.8% increase in the other parts of the fleet market. SUVs saw significant increases through both the LTR and fleet other channel while compact cars and the middle class both lost ground in the sub-channels, leading Dataforce to conclude that buyers of the latter are now switching to SUVs.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.