Car market Italy - Cardinali (Unrae): "The boost from incentives will not be felt"

In May the market fell by double digits (-15%) for the eleventh consecutive month, after the physiological rebound of March-June 2021. Of these eleven consecutive drops, two were slightly below 20%, five were above 20% and three above 30%. In short, in May, things went a little less worse (so to speak) than in recent months, but it’s only half a disaster. “Compared to the -30% of some time ago”, comments Andrea Cardinali, general director of Unrae, “a -15% can be considered a half disaster”. According to the number two of the association that groups foreign houses, registrations have not yet benefited from the arrival of the incentives, which can only be booked from 25 May last. An initiative that, however, according to Cardinals will not give the market the expected boost effect. “The 170 million euros on cars with emissions between 61 and 135 g / km is not well invested money”.

In your opinion, has the departure of the incentives had an impact on the number plates? It is possible that those who could wait have waited for the platform to open to book and register …
I don’t know how much the backlog of orders may have weighed, but I cannot exclude that some vehicle ready for registration was actually registered thanks to the incentives. In general, orders pass on the IT platform in the form of booking contributions and the impact on the license plate is seen some time later. In any case, it is not quantifiable.

However, there has been a surge in number plates for individuals, to whom incentives are reserved …
In theory, there could be a correlation: if the incentives are reserved for individuals, and the share of individuals rises, one can actually think that this is attributable to those who bought cars ready for delivery with the incentives. However, since the analytical data is not available, it is impossible to say how many there were.

And at the same time, self-registrations, as often happens, went against the trend …
Self-registrations, which, as I always say, are to a large extent “the day after day”, have reached the level that was expected for months in a situation of short supply. As physiological as it is, a 10-11% share of cars without a final customer yet, in this context that level actually appeared to be an anomaly. 5.9% in May seems more consistent to me. If the shares of private individuals and self-registrations are added together, a certain stability is noted.

In terms of power supplies, however, there has been some movement on cars with plugs, which have risen by one point since April, from 8.79% to 9.8%. In particular, plug-ins with 6.1% are back close to the record levels of December 2021, 6.49% …
There is actually a rise in cars with plugs, both pure electric and plug-in, but these are decimals, I do not think there is a transformation in the market. However, May was a strange month, because the great expectation of the incentives has certainly distorted some dynamics. However, the incentives generally turn into license plates in the following months. We will see the effect in the second half of the year, especially in autumn. Delivery times range from 4 to 18 months for particular set-ups of some models: it is evident that the effect is diluted over a very long time horizon.

Speaking of incentives, after the initial flare-up of bookings on cars in the 61-135 g / km range, demand slowed down and demand for 0-60 never really started. Did you expect it?
The stakes introduced by the government have reduced the number of potential buyers. Therefore, it is normal for the draft to be lower than in the past. That said, considering that the platform was opened on May 25, I would expect to make comments one way or the other, but it is easy to predict that after months of announcements the fund on cars with emissions between 61 and 135 g / km will not it will see the middle of June… An initiative made like this is of little use, as we said from the beginning. When the budget is so vastly insufficient, it may not even be worth it.

Does that mean there won’t even be that boost that some people expect?
Those 170 million will have no effect on the total volume of the year. We can safely say that 170 million are wasted: if an initiative lasts two weeks, it means that it is not money well invested.

In theory, however, they could be refinanced …
If it will be refinanced perhaps they know it at the Ministry of Economic Development, for now there has been no mention of it. Instead, we mentioned the possibility of raising the deadline of 180 days: we hope it will happen before Christmas.

By the way, given the production context and the lengthening of the deadlines decided in 2021, the decision to restore a deadline of 180 days does not seem functional to further circumscribe the audience of interested parties and, therefore, to make the funds last longer. ?
Honestly, I don’t think it’s one of those cases in which the saying “thinking badly makes you sin but you get it right” applies. In reality, the 180-day limit is not comparable to an “ex ante” post, such as the exclusion of legal entities or the lowering of the price cap. The 180 days – in the midst of a global supply chain crisis – are a cleaver that hangs over the heads of those who sold the car and those who bought it: an unacceptable thing, attributable to a conception of legislator-dominus , which keeps operators and customers suspended in uncertainty until the last second.

However, there has been talk of an extension several times …
It is the all-Italian philosophy of the “milleproroghe”. Instead of indicating a realistic deadline by law, we prefer to set an unrealistic deadline and hold the lever of the amnesty, to then make an emergency measure at the last minute. On the other hand, we are the country of emergency. It is a way of proceeding that we have known for decades. Moreover, it must be said that in this situation it is possible, indeed probable, that someone has even given up asking for the incentive, not having the certainty of the extension yet. Damage has certainly been done. This situation may have influenced the draft of state contributions but, I repeat, it is premature to make assessments after a few days.

Have you updated the forecast for the end of the year in light of the May data?
We have no elements to change the forecasts. For now, we confirm 1.4 million registrations for 2022. A few days of incentives are not enough to change our forecasting model. However, we hope that the second half of the year will be less lean than the first, otherwise we should revise the forecasts downwards. To update the forecasts, however, we will have to wait for July.

Speaking of estimates, do you foresee that the funds earmarked for cars with emissions between 0 and 60 g / km will advance? And that, therefore, resources can be moved to the 61-135 fund?
If our calculations are not far from the truth, there could be a surplus, but only in the final balance. In other words, I don’t think anyone wants to do a preliminary balance in two or three months and, on the basis of that data, establish a reallocation of funds. Unless there is such a sensational imbalance as to justify an action in this sense. It is true that the Dpcm foresees the possibility of intervening in this regard, but it seems to me absolutely unlikely that it will happen now. If anything, the government should refinance the 61-135 bracket with additional resources, provided and granted that there is the political will to do so. And if at the end of the year funds were to be advanced on the 0-60, these resources will have to be destined to replenish the 2023 endowment in the same bands, which as of now appears to be underfunded for the years to come.

Don’t you see the possibility of opening up to businesses? At least on 0-60?
Desirable, but extremely unlikely. On the business front, in our opinion, it is still necessary to intervene on the fiscal side, a battle that we will not stop carrying out in all offices.

Is the objective an intervention in the budget law?
In the budget law it would be possible as an experimental measure, for a period of time between one and three years. It would be better to intervene in the context of the fiscal delegation, to make a structural measure.

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