Photo: Flickr via ejcallow
Italy’s love affair with fast cars has become the latest victim of the eurozone crunch after figures revealed that domestic sales of Ferraris and Maseratis had more than halved.Sales of Ferraris, which can cost up to £250,000 for some models, slipped by 56% in 2012 when the company sold 248 cars in Italy, according to the country’s auto industry trade body, with Maserati slumping by 72% to 115 vehicles.
Lamborghini fared a little better, with the 60 cars it sold last year representing a decline of 16.6%. Alfa Romeo sales slipped by more than a quarter to 42,000.
Ferrari’s president, Luca di Montezemolo, said the company’s home market had been a blip in an otherwise excellent year.
He said: “Once again the exception is Italy where we have witnessed a drop partly due to the economic crisis, but also to a hostile environment for luxury goods which have long been, and continue to be, an important resource for the country.”
Total Italian car sales fell 19.9% in 2012 to 1.4m, the industry’s worst result since 1979. Premium foreign brands also suffered, with sales of Audi and BMW cars falling by 16%. Mass-market producers fared poorly too, as Ford sales fell by nearly a third and Fiat – the biggest domestic producer – fell 19% to just under 295,000 units.
Speaking to Reuters, the president of the Italian car dealers’ trade group, Federauto, blamed the slump on high taxes. “The car market is suffering from an overdose of taxes aimed at hitting, if not criminalising, the acquisition, ownership and use of autos,” said Filippo Pavan Bernacchi.
Elsewhere in Europe, new car sales in France fell to their lowest level in 15 years after 1.9m units were shifted in 2012 – a fall of 14%. Sales in Spain fell 13.4%.
The figures contained further warning signs for thousands of workers at Ford and General Motors, the US majors that announced overhauls of their continental operations last year. In December, Ford’s sales in France fell by 40% and GM’s Opel unit posted a 16% decline in the country. Both companies also reported significant falls in Spain and Italy in the last month of the year.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
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