Following the launch of the T-plate in March and the V-plate last month replacing the traditional August plate change, only now can meaningful sales comparisons with last year be made. With the total fleet market down 3.4% year-on-year at 818,201 (1998: 847,211), Ford has seen sales drop 2.7%, Peugeot by 7.3%, Fiat by 8.4%, Rover by 47%, Nissan by 10.9%, Toyota by 26.6% and Citroen by 33.5%.
With fleet sales more than 20,000 units up on last year, Volkswagen was comfortably in fifth spot in the fleet manufacturers' league table. Both the Golf and Passat were fifth in their respective sectors. Golf sales are 128% up year-on-year at 23,618 units, putting it behind the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane and Peugeot 306 in the lower medium sector. Meanwhile, Passat sales are up 7.1% year-on-year at 16,218, putting it behind the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra, Peugeot 406 and Renault Laguna - all of which have seen sales drop this year.
Vauxhall pinpointed three reasons for the Luton-based manufacturer's success: Corsa, despite being in its sixth year, has seen sales increase 36.4% year-on-year to 31,731 due to continued success in the driving school market and fleet downsizing. Omega business, although down 7% year-on-year which equates to 780 vehicles, is in run-out year and has 'exceeded our expectations', according to Vauxhall. Astra sales are 25% up year-on-year at 48,034 partly as a result of the demise of the Rover 200 and 400.