However, predictions could be scuppered if the Government's long-awaited consultation document on proposals to change the annual August 1 registration system is published. It was widely believed that the document, which had been predicted to be published in September but was subsequently delayed, would not be published before next year's general election.
Also, the 'big three' have all dramatically cut supplies to the rental companies this year and while Vauxhall said it would keep 1997 supplies at 1996 levels Ford said it would continue its policy of reducing supplies to rental companies following a 28,000-vehicle cutback this year. Vauxhall rental volumes this year are 30% down on 1995 levels.
All three companies based their fleet projections on the industry definition of 'fleet sales' - cars bought by companies operating 25-plus vehicles. However, it is widely believed that around 75% of all new cars are bought with company money.