Following March's massive rise in fleet diesel sales — due to the introduction of the T-plate — it is too soon to say if the slowdown reflects a fleet realisation that diesel power is favoured under company car tax reforms due to come into effect in April 2002, but diesel manufacturers will note the signs.
Last month, a total of 26,878 diesel cars was sold - a 0.4% rise on April - of which 15,823 went into the fleet market, 2.7% down on April 1998's figure. However, diesel car sales remain well below 1998 levels. Total diesel market sales stand at 113,731 (down 10.6% year-on-year) with fleet sales totalling 64,020 (down 13%).
Ford overtook Peugeot as the best-selling fleet diesel manufacturer last month with a 13.1% rise in sales to 3,381 and in the Mondeo it had the best-selling fleet diesel car. Peugeot saw sales drop by 20.2% to 2,971, although it retains the year-to-date market leadership.