The used car market in Italy suffers heavily from excessive bureaucracy and this is reflected in residual values.
Second-hand values in Italy are well below average for Europe, due partly to cheaper on-the-road prices, and also because of the additional cost and downright harassment that a new owner has to go through to re-register a car.
In many countries the registration of a vehicle requires no more than a simple signature on the vehicle license document and a first-class stamp.
But in Italy re-registering a car translates into a complex, time-consuming and expensive six-stage bureaucratic procedure. It involves a notary public (minimum fee €32), about €65 in stamp duty, taxes and various regional levies, and queues in no less than four different public administration offices, possibly nine in the home town of the buyer.
The overall average costs amounts to about €325 - or closer to €500 if your nerves are weak and you put everything into the hands of a specialist agency.
Things have improved - until a year or so ago it could have taken anything from six months to a year to receive the updated licence document. Now it's just a few days, but you still have to wait for more than a month for the new certificate testifying the ownership of the vehicle.
Part of the problem is caused by the involvement of not one, but two different government bodies, although life should become easier for fleet managers and private sellers alike.
At the end of March, the Government approved legislation that would abolish one of the public bodies responsible for much of the expense and delays - the PRA (Public Automobile Register).
Transport Minister Pierluigi Bersani claimed that 'within two or three months, it will be possible for motorists to save between 200,000 and 220,000 Lire (€103 to €113) when buying a second-hand car'.
The six bureaucratic procedures should be reduced to just one, and a car will no longer be considered in the eyes of the law as a mobile asset subject to registration.
Three months on, and the only change has been a series of strikes by workers in the Motorizzazione (civil motoring department), the second public body involved in registering cars, which has delayed the delivery of upwards of 10,000 new cars by failing to provide new number plates.
This second office is itself the target of government reform in a further attempt to speed up procedures by decentralising the organisation and getting services on-line. There may be light at the end of the tunnel for motorists in Italy, but it's still going to be a long hot summer stuck in queues for many.