Fleet News

T-plate bonanza as March fleet sales jump by nearly 50% year-on-year

COMPANIES went on a T-plate buying bonanza last month as fleet sales increased almost 50% year-on-year with the Ford Focus topping the fleet best-sellers' chart for the first time. Fleet sales totalled 151,502 last month - a 47.4% rise on March last year when fleet sales were 102,778. However, despite the fleet sales surge, 1999 first quarter fleet sales are 2% down year-on-year at 285,977 (1998: 291,803).

Total new car sales last month were 370,060 up 73.4% on March 1998's figure of 213,374 and taking 1999 new car sales to 635,942 (1998: 622,562) - a 2.1% increase. Roger King, acting chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: 'The new T-plate has clearly been a big hit with customers. The market is on course to hit two million vehicles for the year.'

Welcoming the popularity of the twice-a-year-plate change Alan Pulham, franchise dealer director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: 'The industry decision to go for a twice-a-year plate change has been endorsed by March's new car registration figures. The underlying message is one of consumer confidence driven by good product and attractive prices within certain marques. I believe we can look forward to a successful 1999 given continuing availability of attractive, sensibly-priced products.'

Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in March were: Ford 31,857, Vauxhall 25,988, Renault 15,992, Peugeot 14,130, Volkswagen 9,020, Nissan 7,630, Fiat 7,088, Rover 7,057, Toyota 5,424, Citroen 4,233. Top 10 best-selling fleet models in March were: Ford Focus 10,905, Vauxhall Vectra 8,841, Vauxhall Astra 8,585, Ford Mondeo 8,161, Renault Megane 7,406, Ford Fiesta 6,243, Vauxhall Corsa 6,156, Peugeot 306 5,319, Peugeot 406 4,644, Renault Clio 4,204.

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