However, with August fleet sales expected to be at record levels - close on 200,000 units - Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' director of public affairs Roger King said: 'The market was down for July - probably the result of more customers than usual holding off for August delivery and the new year identifier. The first few days of August appear to confirm this.'
And, despite the sales drop Alan Pulham, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said: 'The new car market is bubbling and all indications point to a record August. Our initial prediction of 490,000 will be comfortably exceeded and that will put us on course for 2.1 million sales for the whole year.'
Most of the leading fleet manufacturers saw sales drop year-on-year last month with Ford (3,134 fleet sales) reporting an 18.6% drop, Vauxhall (2,806) a 19.4% drop, Rover (2,643) reporting a 22% fall and Volkswagen, in fourth spot ahead of Peugeot, (2,149) a 3.9% drop. Peugeot saw fleet sales static.