Fleet News

Fleet sales head for record - and Renault springs a surprise

THE continuing increase in fleet sales offset a drop in retail sales to ensure that October's new car sales figures were 1.3% up on October 1996. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures reveal that fleet sales last month were 77,104 (October 1996: 73,328) - a rise of 5.1% - which enabled total new car sales to increase 1.3% to 156,706 (October 1996: 154,733).

With two months of the year remaining it seems certain that fleet sales will smash through the one million mark for the first time and in the process overtake last year's record fleet sales tally of 955,371. In the first 10 months of this year fleets have bought 893,765 units (1996: 842,036) with total new car sales standing at 1,933,768 (1996: 1,811,967).

However, there was widespread amazement across the fleet industry at the performance of Renault last month, as the French marque overtook both Rover and Peugeot to secure third spot in the best-selling fleet manufacturers' league table and was the fourth best-selling manufacturer in Britain in the total market.

Renault's fleet sales rocketed from 4,669 in October 1996 to 7,442 last month - an increase of 59.4% - as the marque's total sales soared 36.3% to 13,885 (October 1996: 10,187) to take a record 8.86% share of the overall UK car market. The company says that excluding captive registrations it took a record 10.7% share of the fleet market and fleet director Mike Power said: 'Renault has enjoyed strong and steady growth throughout 1997 both in terms of penetration and volume. This kind of success comes from maintaining a balanced mix of programmes over a long period and being able to offer excellent and innovative new products.'

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