Latest figures from the SMMT for February have shown fleet and business registrations are 1.1% down year on year.
Overall registrations grew 8.4% compared with the same month in 2015. 83,395 new cars were registered in the month, marking the biggest February since 2004.
Fleet demand dipped compared with the private sector, but still retained its majority share of new vehicles.
Demand was up across all fuel types, with diesel and petrol registrations growing by 5.6% and 10.7% respectively, while alternatively-fuelled vehicles enjoyed an uplift of 19.9%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “February is typically one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of March’s plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months."
Steve Jackson, chief car editor at pricing experts Glass’s, said: “February SMMT registration statistics show private customers have been incentivised back in to the market with low interest rates, deposit incentives and a selection of new models on offer.
"The consumer is the market that the manufactures can currently influence the most to increase volume in the first quarter of 2016.
"There are no doubts from Glass’s that retail demand will also be the major influencer in the March 2016 figures, the largest new car plate change month of the year.
“Post-recession fleet has returned to pre-recession volumes and now is largely a numbers game. Manufacturers are competing for a share of a finite, yet important market of fixed term contract company car drivers via BIK advantages and financial incentives.”