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The Italian Auto Industry Looks Like The Polar Opposite Of The US

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Car sales in Italy are rising, but sales in the US are declining.

2017 was not a great year for the automotive industry in the US. Total vehicle sales were around 17.2 million, a 2% decrease from 2016. Despite tax cuts from the Trump Administration, 2018 is predicted to be a second straight year for declining auto sales thanks to higher interest rates. We know that European markets can be very different from the US. Europeans buy different kinds of cars, so countries such as Italy can end up having different sales trends, as Automotive News Europe reports.

The US may have had a slow sales year in 2017, but Italy saw its highest car sales in eight years. This is the fourth year in a row that Italian car sales have risen. "The 2017 sales increase is due to incentives by manufacturers and dealers, as new-car demand remained weak," industry association ANFIA said in a statement. FCA is the market leader in Italy, and all brands except Lancia saw sales increases in 2017. This is the exact opposite of the US, where Alfa Romeo was the only FCA brand with an increase in sales. In Italy, Maserati sales went up by 42%, and Alfa Romeo and Jeep sales rose by 25% and 22% respectively. Fiat also saw a small increase of 4.3%.

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The Volkswagen Group also saw sales increases in 2017. The main VW brand sales rose by 6% and Skoda, Seat, Audi and Porsche rose by 18%, 13%, 4.9% and 7.2% respectively. PSA Group also had sales increased with the Peugeot and Citroen brands rising by 11% and 29% respectively. Unfortunately, PSA's luxury DS brand actually fell by 28%. Renault increased by 15%, while its budget Dacia brand increased by 21%. American automaker Ford posted 7.8% growth and German automakers BMW and Mercedes increased by 1.5% and 2.2% respectively. Asian automakers Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia saw increases of 18%, 14%, 4.5% and 6.2%.

Many Italian car buyers opted for efficient drivetrains such as diesels, hybrid and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Diesel car sales have been slowing down in Europe, but the decline wasn't as bad in Italy. After reviewing the data, we can see that Italy's car sales are completely opposite from the US. Not only did Italian auto sales go up when they went down in the US, many of the sales increases were on cars that aren't even sold in the US.