Fleet sales last month totalled 83,020 (May 1998: 88,995), putting year-to-date fleet sales 3% down on 1998's five-month tally at 457,582 compared to 471,613. It is expected that fleet sales will also drop year-on-year in June, July and August as fleets wait to take advantage of the V-plate from September 1.
But, surprisingly, total new car sales in May were 1.8% up year-on-year at 175,898 (May 1998: 172,850) as retail customers took advantage of ultra-competitive manufacturer deals. Year-to-date new car sales total 994,887 - 2.9% up on last year's figure for the same period of 967,102. After Ford's April sales bonanza - much of which was attributed to late registrations as a result of a 'summer sale' of Mondeos - May fleet sales were 4.9% down year-on-year at 18,261 but strong enough to stay ahead of Vauxhall despite the latter's 12.3% year-on-year rise to 15,603.
That performance saw the Vauxhall Vectra become fleet's best-selling model last month with sales 5.4% up year-on-year at 5,779, ahead of the Ford Focus which, with fleet sales of 5,549, saw its highest position in the best-selling fleet models list since launch late last year. However, the Focus was the UK's best-selling car last month for the first time.