Fleet News

Fleet sales down on '98 but on course to break million mark

FLEET sales this year will drop below last year's record 1,055,816, but still look set to break the one million mark for third year in succession. Until this week's publication of October new car sales figures by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a true comparison between 1998 and 1999 sales figures has been impossible due to the first-time impact of the twice-a-year plate change.

Fleet sales last month totalled 72,905 units (October 1998: 76,925), down 5.2% in a total new car market down 3.5% at 149,614 (October 1998: 155,263). This year, fleet sales total 891,106, down 3.6% from 1998's 10-month tally of 924,136 units with total new car sales down 1.5% at 1,969,710 (1,998,742).

The slight decline in fleet sales was predicted at the start of the year with industry experts anticipating a fall for the first time since 1991 after six years of record figures culminating in the one million barrier being broken in 1997 and last year. Earlier this year, industry experts predicted fleet sales in 1999 would be between 994,000 and 1,020,000 and, if November and December fleet sales are close to last year's figures, then this year's fleet sales look set to narrowly beat 1997's 1,018,491 figure while being behind last year's total.

SMMT figures show that while the fleet market is down 3.6% year-on-year and the retail sector down 1.8%, the business sector - sales to companies running fewer than 25 vehicles - are up 14% year-on-year to 167,930 units. Vauxhall, along with Volkswagen and Honda, is one of only three fleet manufacturers among the top 10 to see sales increase year-on-year - up 8.7%, 54.8% and 30% respectively. Last month only Ford (up 6.6%), Peugeot (up 3.8%), Volkswagen up 25.5%, Honda (up 79.6%) and BMW (up 72.6%) saw year-on-year fleet sales increases.

Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in October were: Ford 16,988, Vauxhall 13,974, Peugeot 6,675, Renault 5,366, Volkswagen 4,915, Rover 3,562, Honda 2,769, Nissan 2,422, Toyota 2,408, BMW 1,945. Top 10 best-selling fleet models in October were: Ford Focus 5,526, Vauxhall Vectra 4,505, Ford Mondeo 4,357, Vauxhall Astra 4,297, Ford Fiesta 3,343, Vauxhall Corsa 3,202, Peugeot 306 2,441, Renault Megane 2,400, Peugeot 406 2,363, Volkswagen Golf 1,653.

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