It was the second month this year that fleet sales dropped - there was a 3.4% fall in March - however, fleet sales in 1997 are 2.5% ahead of 1996 levels after five months at 437,902 compared with 427,381 last year. The total new car market is up 4.9% at 902,167 (1996: 859,352).
Ford suffered an amazing 15.3% drop in fleet sales to 16,928 with Escort business particularly badly hit (down 25.22%) and fleet sales accounting for a perhaps unprecedented under 50% of total sales by the manufacturer last month. Vauxhall also saw fleet sales drop a fraction (1.86%) to 14,119.
Alan Pulham, franchise director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: 'The marques which traditionally champion their products' value for money have performed particularly well, with the manufacturers that have a strong fleet presence falling behind. Although only a relatively small increase, closer analysis shows that retail custom is up at the expense of fleet sales.'