Fleet News

Fleet sales smash million barrier - but a year of uncertainty is in store

A YEAR of consolidation clouded with uncertainty is ahead for the UK fleet industry following record-breaking sales in 1997. Fleet sales smashed through the one million barrier for the first time reaching 1,018,491 compared to the previous record set in 1996 of 955,371 as total new car registrations last year were the third highest on record at 2,170,725, a 7.2% increase on the 1996 total of 2,025,450.

Most manufacturers benefited from the boom in fleet business with Ford and Vauxhall both seeing year-on-year fleet sales increases despite continuing their widely reported policy of pulling back from fast-cycle business. Only Rover, down 8.1% year-on-year, and Fiat, down 1.7% year-on-year, of the leading manufacturers saw fleet sales slip last year, while the largest percentage increases were recorded by Renault (up 27.6%) and Toyota (up 22.2%).

The six best-selling fleet cars were the same as 1996, with the Ford Mondeo leading the way (84,492) - up 11.6% on 1996 sales. In addition Fiesta, Escort and Galaxy were top-sellers in their respective fleet sectors. However, despite the 6.6% rise in fleet sales last year fleet's share of the total new car market was down from 47.17% to 46.92%.

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