2011 sales forecast: 2 million
2010 vehicles sold: 2.1 million
Estimated growth: -6%
Home to some of the world’s most iconic car brands, autos are a big part of the Italian identity. Yet, a steep decline between 2001 and 2005 has left the Italian car market struggling to recover its premiere status. A slowing economy and the Euro debt crisis has made things worse with auto sales falling 28 percent in the first quarter of 2011. In fact, sales have fallen for 13 months in a row up to June of this year.
Fiat is by far Italy’s largest carmaker. Fiat models account for three of the five best-selling cars in the country. More than 160,000 Fiat Puntos (pictured) — Italy’s most popular car — were sold in 2010. But Fiat has also suffered from the slowdown. In the first six months of 2011, Fiat was the worst performer among Europe's top six automakers in terms of sales.
Italy’s car industry luckily doesn’t depend entirely on the domestic market. Car exports account for over 50 percent of production. Italy’s iconic brand Ferrari, for example, saw record-breaking sales in the first half of the year driven by overseas demand, especially in China. The carmaker posted net profits for the first half of 2011 that were 23 percent higher than the previous year, while sales rose nearly 12 percent in the same period. Sales in China rose 116 percent in the first six months of 2011, while sales in the U.S. rose 23 percent. According to news reports, the company is now considering an IPO in Hong Kong.