Italians are well known for their love of all things beautiful, and cars are no exception. Last December alone saw a 12.5% increase in car sales, as Italians continued to embrace their four wheeled companions. Cars are not just valued for commuting to work or touring the stunning countryside either: motor racing remains one of Italy’s favorite sports. So where did this love affair begin, and what does the future hold for this country and its cars?
A romantic history
Fiat was Italy’s first car brand, founded in 1899. Alfa Romeo followed suit in 1910, with the iconic Ferrari bursting onto the scene in 1947. Today, Ferrari continues to thrive, recently selling more than 10,000 cars per year for the first time. Legend has it that when Ferruccio Lamborghini, a manufacturer of tractors, complained about his Ferrari’s faulty clutch, he was so dissatisfied with the owner’s response that he took it apart himself and swapped it for a tractor clutch. Thus, a new Italian car legend was born. Sports fans also delight in the inspiration and skill of the Maserati brothers, moving from race cars to road cars and winning the Indy 500 twice along the way (the only Italian car brand to do so). Visiting car enthusiasts must head to Modena for its Maserati factory, private car collection displayed by Panini, and the nearby Galleria Ferrari in Maranello.
A modern marriage
Nowadays, cars remain an integral part of Italian culture. There are an estimated 625 cars for every 1,000 Italians, making the country one of the highest ranking nations when it comes to car ownership. Many a weekend is spent catching up with friends and family, enjoying good food and good company before lovingly cleaning the car’s paintwork ready for the week ahead. From city air to the bracing salt water by the coastlines, there’s always a good excuse to lavish some TLC on your car in Italy. Fortunately, experts do warn against over-cleaning, so if you’d rather spend time soaking up the culture and sunshine, that’s just fine too.
So what’s next for Italy and her cars? The smart tech market is flourishing as Italians seek to improve connectivity between their cars and phones, with the market now showing double digit growth and a promising future. The Italian government has also launched its subsidy programme for certain electric or hybrid vehicles, helping Italy’s roads become cleaner and greener for future generations.
Italy boasts a proud history when it comes to the development and design of cars, and Italians continue to embrace beautiful design and high functionality today. As thoughts turn to the future, technology is likely to play a big role in making cars even more integral to the Italian lifestyle, and improving the green credentials of the cars on Italy’s roads is an important priority for citizens, manufacturers and the government alike. One thing’s for sure: this love affair has many miles left on the clock.