Automotive: a roller coaster ride

Huge drops and then small signs of recovery. The situation of the automotive market, which resembles a roller-coaster ride, remains critical, especially following the news that anything not electric is bound to be outlawed from 2035 as decided by the European parliament. But let's stick to the facts: according to Gianmarco Giorda, director of Anfia, "There was another drop in April for the Italian automotive production index (-1.3 percent), although smaller than March (-8.2 percent)”. The index for the production of automotive parts and accessories remained stable (+0.4%), while the motor vehicle manufacturing index confirmed its decline for the tenth consecutive month, although a smaller drop (-2.5%) was reported compared to March (19.2%).

As of April 2022, according to Istat data, the production of the Italian automotive industry as a whole records a 1.3 percent decline compared to April 2021, while in the first four months of 2022 the decrease amounted to 1.2 percent. Looking at the sector's specific production segments, the index for the manufacturing of motor vehicles records a 2.5 percent drop in April 2022 and a 7.8 percent drop in the first four months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021; the production of bodies for motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers grows by 10.7 percent in the month and 8.2 percent in the first four months of 2022, while components and accessories increases by 0.4 percent in April and grows by 3.9 percent in the first four months of 2022.

“Looking at government incentives," Giorda explains, "we strongly recommend including the rental sector as well, and to revise the incentive formula for light commercial vehicles, opening up to other technological solutions then the current choice to focus exclusively on electric engines, if you have an older vehicle to scrap that is, and opening access also to other stakeholders other than SMEs. "These are changes," Giorda continues, "that would make it possible to speed up the pace on carbon neutrality, as well as being a vital aid for two sectors that are currently suffering - light commercial vehicles down 8 percent in January-April 2022 and rentals (-18.9 percent in January-May).

Meanwhile, national passenger car production surveyed by Anfia is up slightly (+2 percent), following a double-digit contraction in March. The latter trend is expected to improve further in the coming months as a result of incentives, which Anfia is calling for, to be extended to the rental car segment and a revision of the current formula for light commercial vehicles.

According to the data, domestic car production is up 2 percent in April, but remains down 7 percent in the first four months. The automotive manufacturing sector fits in the context of an overall Italian industrial production system that rose also in the fourth month of the year: in April 2022, in fact, the index of industrial production closed at +4.2% compared to April 2021 and is up 2.1% in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2021.

Meanwhile, demand for e-commerce logistics is growing: the logistics real estate company Mileway - specialized in properties dedicated to last-mile logistics - has surveyed 1,400 companies on the demand for urban areas dedicated to e-commerce deliveries. The respondents are businesses of different types - from small local businesses to multinationals operating in retail, food production, transportation, logistics, and other manufacturing and trade sectors - that have leased properties in the suburbs of large urban areas in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Great Britain. Sixty percent of respondents admitted to focusing their businesses on e-commerce in 2022 and therefore intend to increase their last-mile logistics space, either by expanding the premises they already have or by adding new ones. This percentage rises to 74 percent considering only the four hundred companies that are already renting space from Mileway.  Today, 40 percent of the respondents are already renting between two and five facilities. Mileway also operates in Italy, where it recently leased 32 thousand square metres to four clients in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.