The predictions come against a backdrop of rising new car sales which started in April and are continuing this month with fleet sales up about 16% year-on-year and retail currently up 11%. The National Franchised Dealers' Association is predicting an August boom of around 475,000 units - but at only 6,000 units higher than last year's volume, the NFDA estimate has been branded conservative. Meanwhile, some manufacturers are being more upbeat with a survey suggesting August sales could range from a forecasted 470,000 units by Peugeot to an optimistic 488,00 at Vauxhall.
Traditionally, August is the big month for retail sales and manufacturers are expecting this year to be no different with a fleet/retail split of 37%/63% as last year against a typical monthly split of around 50/50.
Manufacturers remain publicly cautious about over-estimating demand, but privately, many are more upbeat about this summer's prospects than at any time since the recession. Talk of a return to record 1989 levels, when more than 500,000 cars were sold during August, is probably premature, but a number of pundits said a figure of around 490,000 would not be unrealistic.