Ecomotive - Archive

Automotive and freight traffic driving the upswing

Ecomotive: automotive economy


Positive trends confirmed by double-digit growth

Paolo Castiglia

Not for the first time the automotive sector, along with its supply chain, proved to be one of the essential factors in the country’s on-going economic recovery. Taking a closer look at 2017, as it often happens in times of financial statements, after the month of January, when the index remained unchanged compared to January 2016, the trend variation of the automotive sector - according to Anfia – remained positive, except in August, when the index fell by 4%, while in October, the industrial production index grew by a staggering 10.4% compared to October 2016.

Such a success though comes from afar: with the exception of the month of June, even in 2016 the industrial production index, related to the production of motor vehicles, spare parts as well as bodywork parts experienced a steady growth, with a 7% increase over 2015, which in turn had already recorded an amazing 27% growth over 2014.

Going back to 2017, the aggregate results for the first 10 months showed an automotive production index up by 7.4% compared to the same period in 2016. The motor vehicle production index took off in October with a +11.7%, even better than the already positive +8.7% recorded in the first 10 months on aggregate. The production of bodywork parts, trailers and semi-trailers increased by 10.1% in October and 3.9% in the January-October period while spare parts and accessories increased by 7.7% for the month and 7.2% on aggregate.

The total orders for the automotive sector showed a falling trend of 2.1% in September 2017, with foreign orders dropping by 9.1%, while orders in the domestic market grew by 4%. Therefore, on aggregate, the trend of the first nine months in 2017 showed a 7.9% increase, thanks mainly to the 6.6% growth on the domestic market and 9.5% on foreign markets.

Shifting our attention to freight traffic, according to the most recent Confetra economic survey, 2017 figures show a consistent growing trend over the previous year. Positive turnovers and growing profit margins also for the entire international freight sector with a +5% for maritime transport and + 4.9% for air freight, particularly significant figures as these two sectors struggled throughout 2016. 

Express couriers confirmed their record breaking performances, both in terms of business volumes (+ 6.5%) and turnover (+ 6.0%), in the wake of the relentless growth of e-commerce channels. Not to be outdone, the road haulage sector, both national and international, recorded positive trends in traffic (+ 4.9% and + 5.2% respectively) and turnover (+ 4.7% and + 3.8% respectively).


But where does this success stem from? The evolution experienced by the historic Italian district of bodywork designers and builders – with its new entries and traditional designing skills applied to the production of a limited series of lightweight vehicles using advanced lightweight materials - was in fact the focus of a high level bilateral meeting held at the London Museum of Design workshop.

The theme of the meeting was "Italian car and industrial design from sketch to production: a unique know-how and heritage for the future", organized by Anfia’s Bodywork and Designers Group and by Ice – Italian Trade Agency - in collaboration with Smmt (The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) and Mia (the English motorsport industry association).

Leading experts in the automotive sector discussed the legacy, the skills and overall excellence of Italian car design & engineering districts, taking a closer look at its know-how related to design and production processes.

In addition, participants also spoke about the internationalization process of their companies, able to make the most of their specific skills as well as investment opportunities in Eastern Europe and the Far East, expanding their business well beyond the automotive industry going into aerospace, rail and naval sectors, where it is often possible to adopt the same approach to design and production. All this without neglecting the talent and resourcefulness that makes Italy famous around the world.

back to archive