ITALIAN AUTOMOTIVE BACK ON TRACK AND SEEKING TO INCREASE EXPORT
During the January-September 2015 period the overall growth of the sector increased by 27,6%
The growth of the automotive sector is evident in both productive and economic terms, and, as already stated in past issues of this magazine, is currently pulling the country’s economic recovery. And now all sights are set on international markets. In fact, over 80% of the production of light and heavy duty transport vehicles is destined for export, which has, in fact, recorded a 20% growth during the first 9 months of the year, while the production destined to the domestic market grew by a mere 7%.
As for the production of the automotive industry as a whole, according to Istat, the upward trend registered in September was 33%, while during the January-September 2015 period, growth stood at 27.6%.
All this while the industrial production index scores a mere 1,7% growth in September 2015 and an even smaller 0,9% when the first 9 months of the year are considered.
Leaving the automobile sector aside, as it is not the object of our consideration, and focusing instead on light transport vehicles (3,5-ton trucks), the reduced upward trend of this class of vehicles, during the first nine months of 2015, is evident: +15,5%. The anti-cyclic nature of this sector of the industry is rather interesting, though. It played a major role in limiting the industry’s downfall during recession years: in fact, between 2007 and 2014, LCV production figures dropped by 16%, significantly less when compared to the staggering -56%, -51% and -80% recorded by automobiles, LGV’s and busses respectively.
Large Goods Vehicles, on the other hand, after a 23% decrease in 2014, recorded a complete trend reversal, with an encouraging +51% for vehicles exceeding 3,5 tons GVWR, in the first quarter of 2015, and 7.800 units sold. In the second quarter, the growth trend reached an even more encouraging +77%, with about 9,200 units produced, while the third quarter’s production volumes exceeded by 12% the volumes of the same period of 2014, with almost 7,800 units. In total, for the first nine months of this year, the production volume of LGV’s exceeded the 24,700 units, with a 43% growth rate.
The most difficult situation, also due to the economic hardships currently afflicting the local public administrations, is being experienced by the passenger transport sector, which continues, unfortunately, to record very low production volumes. After totaling a mere 289 units produced in 2014, the first quarter of 2015 saw the production of about 190 units, while the second quarter did slightly better with the production stopping just under the 300 unit mark. Adding to these figures the 170 units in the third quarter, the total production for the first nine months of 2015 touched the 650 units, although mainly in the minibus segment.
Domestic demand for both urban and long distance busses, as well as tourist busses, is nothing short of depressing. It all stems from a problem that cannot be solved in terms of productivity or response to competition: in fact, we are faced with a lack of public transport planning and medium-term intervention strategy, aimed at promoting the efficiency and quality of the service essential in guaranteeing people’s mobility.
This situation has, in fact, weakened an entire industrial segment, while, at the same time, better fortunes are experienced in nearly all other European markets.