In the last nine years fleet sales have increased by almost 300,000 units and 1996 fleet sales were a record 955,371, up from 912,629 in 1995, a volume increase of 4.7%. The total UK new car market was up 4.12% at 2,025,450 from 1,945,366 - the third highest figure on record and the highest since 1989. As a result of the record figures fleet's share of the total UK new car market climbed to 47.17%, although Ford, Vauxhall and Rover all lost market share.
This week Nissan fleet director Simon Rutherford made the bullish prediction of a possible one million fleet market this year based on recent growth, and the fast-emerging players again increasing their share of the fleet market - largely at the expense of Ford, Vauxhall and Rover as they pull-back from rental business and 'fast-churn' fleet deals. Nissan is among the increasingly important 'second division' fleet manufacturers which include Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen. They all increased fleet sales last year although Citroen and Toyota recorded single figure rises.
Even smaller importers such as Mazda, Mitsubishi and Hyundai are enjoying quite significant increases in their sales and market share, and are becoming more and more serious about the fleet market. Add in other manufacturers such as Honda and Audi and the pre-eminence of the 'big three' is under serious attack.