Fleet News

Fleet sales hit new high as retail market falls short

FLEET sales smashed the record they set last August despite a 25% dip in Ford's share of the business market and expectations of a retail revival. The fleet market was up 3.4% while the total market only increased by 2.2% and retail sales struggled to improve by 1%. Ford justified its plunging market share by saying it was one of the few manufacturers to seriously cut back its daily rental business, while Vauxhall saw the Vectra top the August fleet sales charts.

Total fleet market volume increased from 172,075 to 178,009 units in August, while the year-to-date sales are up from 663,806 to 704,822 units. Diesel sales continued their downward spiral, falling 8.1% from 44,610 to 40,984 - accounting for 23% of total fleet sales. Winners included Volkswagen, whose sales increased by 73.5% to give it a 6.2% share of the fleet market, and Peugeot, which had a 17.4% increase in sales and is rapidly closing the gap on Rover.

Ford fleet sales director Mike Wear said: 'We said we would take 28,000 units out of daily rental - and we are sticking to our word,' he said. 'We are not interested in short-cycle business, but disturbingly this is not being replicated by our competitors. Unfortunately, we are not immune to what happens elsewhere in the nearly new market.'

Vauxhall hit back by claiming Ford registered almost 10,000 cars on the last day of August. Fleet marketing and strategy manager Steve Higgs said: 'Vectra did very well but we didn't do anything extraordinary with daily rental business. This time last year we didn't sell many Cavaliers into daily rental because it was on run out so the Vectra figures are higher, but year-on-year, the daily rental figures are 30% down and our replacement cycles are far higher than the industry average.'

Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in August were: Ford 35,377, Vauxhall 29,073, Rover 21,644, Peugeot 18,203, Renault 12,905, VW/Audi 11,101, Nissan 9,211, Citroen 8,323, Fiat 8,011, Toyota 5,199.

Top 10 best-selling fleet models in August were: Vauxhall Vectra 13,176, Ford Mondeo 12,164, Ford Escort 11,065, Ford Fiesta 9,149, Rover 400 8,902, Vauxhall Astra 8,172, Peugeot 306 7009, Peugeot 406 6,251, Renault Laguna 5,115, Vauxhall Corsa 4,578.

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