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%.