The figures will fuel arguments that buyers are staying away from showrooms in anticipation of major price cuts in 2000, although manufacturers are holding firm in their determination to stick with their current pricing policies. A spokesman for Mitsubishi, however, said: 'Car makers need to follow our lead, reduce prices and restore confidence to the market. It's what customers and the market wants.'
Transaction prices are already well below official list prices in both the fleet and retail arenas, and Mark Hall, general manager fleet sales at Toyota Fleet, said the manufacturer had walked away from a number of deals that it could not supply profitably. Ford topped the December fleet charts, increasing its volumes by 31.8% to 10,656 units on the back of the Focus, up 125.9% to 3,355 sales, Mondeo up 18.8% to 2,565 units, and Fiesta up 11.6% to 2,149. Elsewhere, only Rover and Audi achieved year-on-year increases by 5.7% and 149.4% respectively.
Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers, December: Ford 10,656, Vauxhall 7,356, Peugeot 4,522, Volkswagen 3,552, Rover 2,580, Nissan 2,208, Fiat 2,164, Renault 1,928, Audi 1,576, Toyota 1,386. Top 10 best-selling fleet cars, December: Ford Focus 3,355, Ford Mondeo 2,565, Vauxhall Astra 2,167, Ford Fiesta 2,149, Vauxhall Vectra 2,066, Vauxhall Corsa 1,930, Peugeot 406 1,845, Peugeot 306 1,737, Fiat Bravo/Brava 1,189, VW Golf 1,076.