Micropost: The Italian Car Park

Here is an Italian car-park: Naples Airport.


My casual analysis of the Italian fleet leads me to conclude Fiat, GM, Toyota and VW dominate the low to middle market and thereafter it’s Audi and Mercedes. The losers are Renault and Citroen at one end, Ford in the middle and Lexus and BMW at the top. Subaru, Mazda, Honda and Mitsubishi have no strong presence. Alfa aren’t even all that common.

On the colour front, I note that Italians like white and also have the same preponderance of blacks, greys and light metallic tones. There’s not as much red as in Denmark.

Older cars? Very few now I come to think of it, apart from Pandas. In one village near Salerno I counted the parked cars and Pandas made up a third of the vehicles. You could see four parked in a row with no difficulty. I would have thought the dry climate would mean more of all cars surviving. Of the non-Pandas the older cars were some 90s Alfas, Fiats and Lancias. Did I see an Astra F? No, sadly. No Asconas and no early Lagunas or Xantias. All of those are routine older-car examples in Denmark.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on “Micropost: The Italian Car Park”

  1. Don’t think the climate is the problem with cars not lasting that long, the reason is probably the insane driving of the Italians.

    1. Indeed: getting to Naples airport involved abandoning all my north European road discipline. You have to act like you are walking in a drunken crowd. I’ll have a longer commentary on Neapolitan driving soon.

    2. I actually enjoyed driving down the south of Italy. It’s a competitive sport, where confidence is king 😉

      As for the colours, red is the most prone to fading in intense UV, maybe that explains it? Or maybe red is reserved for Ferrari?

    3. Bit of both probably. Also like Mark pointed out below, the white will probably help keep the cars a bit cooler too

  2. It’s worth remembering that Italy is a diverse country and tastes in cars, just like food varies according to region. Hate to point out the obvious but white cars tend to be more common in southern climes – may be something to do with keeping cool. Red is probably rare as a hangover from the time when it was best to avoid public displays of political affiliation. The further north you go, the more you’ll see VWs and Audis although around while in the mountainous Garfagnana in Tuscany I noticed loads of Mitsubishi L200s . Italy’s scrappage scheme would have purged the country of a lot of old cars while restrictions in some cities on cars with polluting engines has probably helped too. I think airport car parks can be a bit unrepresentitive since parking at them is generally done by the more affluent. I expect you’ve already found this blog
    http://bestsellingcarsblog.com/category/italy/. Re. Japanese marques in Italy, I believe there were severe restrictions on importing Japanese cars until possibly the 90’s which meant they aren’t as well established as other countries like the UK. Ironically, this was due to Japan’s protectionism in the 50’s when they were worried about Italian car makers flooding their market.

    1. Good points and I’ll say some I ought to have known or remembered, especially white and the climate and the Japanese-import restrictions. The airport carpark differed in that more Mercedes lay about the place. The lack of Fords et al alligned with the rest of my anecdotal sampling.

  3. Visiting small villages in Italy or in the southern part of France is almost very amusing. You can often see cars parked at places that makes you wonder how this could happen. Probably this is the main reason for the success of the Panda and the Ypsilon. Small cars with 4 doors, made for those rural places and the people living there. And the old Panda is still a car that is able to fulfill this job in a pretty pleasant and cheap way, maybe better than many “big” small modern cars (for example a Peugeot 207 is larger in eyery dimension than a Peugeot 306 – not so clever for the italian rural customers).

    Did you see some Piaggio Apes – for me this is a really italian product.

    1. Above all Pandas are cheap and easy to fix. I am very impressed at their utility and durability and they accumulate charm as they weather.
      I did see the Apes. Not many but enough. Again, they fit well with people’s needs and purses.
      There were also tiny fourwheel trucks made of folded flat panels. Farmers and tradesmen used them.

  4. 50,000 Hyundais and 40,000 Kias sold in Italy in 2015. There was certainly enough Korean stuff in the north to worry Sergio, perhaps they’re more chauvinistic in the south.

    I saw a couple of Great Wall pick-ups in Piedmont on my last visit, but I’ve yet to see a DR Motor Italian “assembled” Chery in the wild.

    1. It’s likely the northern market is different and less local in its outlook. They didn’t have Marsala from a mere 200 km away, the signature wine of Sicily. Instead there was noxious local plonk or Martini. I did see a bottle of Lillet at Naples Airport. Alas, the time of day didn’t lend itself to a sip.

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