The retail sales rise could be the result of the decision of Ford, Vauxhall and Rover to pull back from daily rental and fast cycle fleet business; reduced availability leading to a surge in residual values. At the same time, with some major motor manufacturers appearing to 'force the market' in the last few days of the month and with many of those 'self-registered' vehicles going into the fleet sector, there is widespread belief that the true fleet market is down.
Total new car sales last month were 165,685 - up from 152,658 in May last year - with the retail sector, which accounted for a 44% share, increasing by 13.5% over the previous year. Meanwhile, fleet and business registrations rose 5%. For the first five months of 1996 total new car sales are 859,352 - up 5.2% on the first five months of 1995 when the figure was 816,792.
Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in May were: Ford 19,985, Vauxhall 14,386, Rover 8,123, Peugeot 8,070, Audi/VW 5,295, Renault 5,079, Fiat 3,921, Nissan 3,603, Citroen 3,190, Toyota 1,709. Top 10 best-selling fleet models in May were: Ford Escort 6,557, Ford Mondeo 6,514, Vauxhall Vectra 5,459, Ford Fiesta 5,314, Vauxhall Astra 4,088, Peugeot 306 3,137, Vauxhall Corsa 2,845, Rover 400 2,757, Peugeot 406 2,340, Fiat Punto 2,281.