Fleet News

Experts puzzled as fleet sales fall by 0.34%

FLEET sales in May surprisingly dropped 0.34% year-on-year in a total car market which rose 2.5% leaving industry experts puzzled as to why the reduction in the fleet market occurred. Last month's fleet sales, according to Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders' figures released this week, show a market down 277 units on May last year at 81,779 (May 1996: 82,056), in a total market of 169,886 (May 1996: 165,685).

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.'

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