Fleet News

45% drop in fleet sales tops off a disastrous October for Rover

FLEET sales figures fell for the third month in succession in October but the slight fall was overshadowed by the dramatic slump in Rover's performance. Rover's fleet sales fell 45% year-on-year, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' figures published this week.

The manufacturer dropped to fifth spot in the fleet best-sellers' table and completing a wretched month for the manufacturer amid concern over the future of its Longbridge plant. Overall fleet sales dropped just 0.2% to 76,925 (October 1997: 77,104), but fleet sales for the first 10 months of 1998 are 3.4% ahead of last year at 924,137 (1997: 893,765) thereby virtually ensuring that fleet sales this year will beat last year's record of 1,018,491.

Amid continuing concerns of the onset of a recession, despite the Government's best efforts to talk up the economy, residual value concerns are prompting tough talks in the daily rental sector over 1999 volumes. But, given that many of the vehicles taken on by fleets next year will not reach the used car market until 2002 there is reason to expect that 1999 fleet sales could be buoyant if buyers take an optimistic long-term view.

A general election is likely to take place in 2002 and while the economy might be shaky at the moment the chances are that by the time of the election the Government will ensure the economy is on a sound footing. Consequently fleet optimists who buy cars next year to sell around the time of the election may reap the dividends of their long-term confidence.

Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in October were: Vauxhall 15,979, Ford 15,932, Renault 7,111, Peugeot 6,432, Rover 4,064, Volkswagen 3,915, Nissan 3,209, Fiat 3,098, Toyota 2,954, Citroen 2,487. Top 10-selling fleet models in October were: Vauxhall Vectra 6,416, Vauxhall Astra 5,310, Ford Mondeo 5,186, Ford Escort 4,606, Renault Megane 3,270, Ford Fiesta 2,861, Vauxhall Corsa 2,547, Peugeot 306 2,446, Renault Laguna 2,162, Fiat Punto 2,000.

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