The automotive industry boasts a long tradition and plays a very important role in Italy’s economic development. This is true for the entire value chain, from vehicle and component design to the manufacture and marketing of finished goods.
In this page you will find:
Italian Automotive sector overview
Snapshots of the sector’s competitive advantages
Incentives to boost the automotive industry
Italy is among the main producers in Europe, with 732,377 motor vehicles among cars, vans, trucks and buses. Furthermore, thanks to logistical connections, foreign companies that choose Italy for their business, can easily access the European automotive market. In terms of vehicle sales, the Italian market is the 4th largest in Europe and 9th in the world.
In 2021 (last available data), the automotive sector’s turnover was €106.1 billion, representing 11% of Italy’s manufacturing turnover and 6.2% of Italy’s GDP. The sector is important also for the huge number of jobs filled: the automotive industry employs 278,000 workers (direct and indirect), more than 7% of the employees in the Italian manufacturing sector. Furthermore, the sector has a strong export vocation and is fully integrated in the major Global Value Chains (GVCs). In 2020, the export of new vehicles (cars and industrial vehicles) was worth 16 bln€, while the export of components amounted to 21.7 bln€ (Source: Invitalia).
Regional business environment
The automotive industry in Italy is defined by several production hubs spread throughout the country.
the industrial district in Piedmont: birthplace of FIAT (later merged in FCA and now Stellantis), the region is the forerunner in Italy in terms of automotive components companies and accounts for around 45% of the national automotive sector’s total revenue;
“Motor Valley” in Emilia Romagna: the world-famous Italian luxury brands are produced here. In fact, there is a high presence of sports cars and motorbikes companies (e.g., Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, Maserati, Dallara, Pagani, Red Bull, FAW, etc.) and high-level suppliers (e.g., AVL, HPE Coxa, Marelli, Borg Warner etc.)
Lombardy, where there is a high concentration of component manufacturers, especially in the province of Brescia;
the Abruzzo automotive industry district is active in new technological developments for motor vehicles and other machinery.
Campania: there is a relevant presence of production poles represented by large multinationals and small and medium-sized enterprises, operating both upstream of the supply chain, in the supply of materials, in processing and equipment, in the design and along the supply chain, in the design and testing of parts, in the construction of components and systems, in the specialized subcontracting of parts.
Apulia: One of the strengths of the regional automotive supply chain is the availability of highly qualified and skilled workers, technicians and engineers, thanks to the important contribution in terms of training offered by the regional territory.
Discover why Italy is a great place to invest and get detailed insights into Italian Automotive Industry
R&D and technology
Italian research activities in the automotive field is of a high-quality level. Italy is the 2nd in the EU for the number of citations in automotive engineering and the 7th at the global level. In addition, the country has several research institutions and technology hubs, where innovative applied technology is developed.
Human talent & academia
Italian universities rank in the top 10 positions in the World University Ranking 2021 in Engineering and Technology subjects. They also collaborate with automotive companies for the development of new technologies and for training activities.
Italy has a rich design tradition and Italian cars are considered among the most beautiful in the world. The country hosts some of the best-known styling companies (Dallara, GFG Style, Italdesign, Pininfarina, Zagato) and well-renowned design institutes (IED - European Institution of Design, IAAD - Institute of Applied Art and Design).
Key industrial players and multinationals
Foreign multinational groups are active in the country through commercial subsidiaries or through partner importers and distributors (for example BorgWarner, Bridgestone, CNH Industrial, GAC Group, FPT, ITT, Punch Group, Stellantis, SDF, Volkswagen). Cooperation and partnerships between companies along the chain are crucial since they enable firms to split the burden of some costs required to research, develop and manufacture increasingly advanced products, by having each partner use its specific skills and know-how.
A cutting-edge sector
Over the coming years, major developments will influence the automotive sector, for instance, lower emissions, electric batteries, connectivity and sustainable mobility. These trends are reshaping the sector and may offer new opportunities for the production of vehicle components, charging infrastructure and e-mobility.
Italy has promptly embraced these changes: the country ended 2021 with an increase in sales of electrified cars (hybrid and electric) by 199% compared to the previous year, reaching 38.4% of the total registered cars.
The country is also accelerating the transition to sustainable mobility and Zero CO2 emissions, and Italian companies are on track towards this goal. Eni Plenitude is an energy company constantly growing in Italy and worldwide, whose offer meets the production of energy from renewable sources and a widespread network for electric mobility.