The Italian earthmoving machinery market contracted by -14% year-on-year during the first quarter, with 2236 units sold, and sales of road building equipment and backhoe loaders were the worst affected, registering decreases of -42% and -36% respectively.
Sales of compact machinery also declined, with -17% fewer mini excavators sold - the largest equipment market by volume in Italy - and -22% fewer skid steer loaders.
Enrico Santini, president of Italian construction equipment association Unacea, said the figures demonstrated that the market was still in crisis.
"By now, we can speak of an Italian anomaly. Almost all over Europe a new spring has started, with Germany taking a leap forward of more than +100% and other markets such as France and the United Kingdom growing respectively by +50% and +37%. Our country, on the contrary, is still in winter."
Meanwhile, Unacea vice president Franco Invernizzi called for the Italian government to intervene and introduce measures that would drive up new equipment sales.
"We think in particular of provisions for environmental protection that would increase the efficiency and safety of building yards. For example, the attribution of extra points in tenders to the building firms that carry out the works employing machines no older than three years, a prohibition of using machines older than 10 years for public works, or older than six if they are to be employed in urban centres, and a check at the start of the works to make sure that the machines employed correspond with those declared by the firm."
Indeed, Unacea reiterated its opposition to the influx of non-EU compliant machines to the market, and called again for the introduction of a compulsory registry of all construction machines working in Italy.
Unacea vice president, Enrico Prandini, said, "Italian and European producers are required to adhere scrupulously to the numerous regulations concerning the construction of machines, while non-compliant vehicles are allowed to be present on the market. This problem must be solved through a real policy of surveillance of the market, as well as the creation of a registry."