New car sales last month totalled 168,200 - down 8.11% on April last year's 183,057 - with fleet sales accounting for 80,928 units (April 1999: 88,585) down 8.6%. However, despite the fall, a strong first quarter has put both the total market and fleet sector ahead of last year at 828,971 (1999: 818,989) and 385,118 (1999: 374,562) respectively. Much of the blame for the monthly fall was placed on car buyers getting to grips with the bi-annual number plate change. Traditionally, after a plate change month, fewer cars are registered. However, it is believed that few people knew of the introduction of the two-plate system last year but are now aware of it.
Overall, the Rover 25 was the best-selling car in April - the first time a Rover has occupied the spot since December 1995 - and the Rover 75 was the fifth best-selling vehicle as the manufacturer's sales increased 116.5% year-on-year to 22,665 units, taking Rover to second place in the best-selling manufacturer's chart behind Ford in April. Rover's fleet sales increased 39.2% year-on-year to 4,874 units, taking the company to fifth spot in the best-sellers' league table with the 25 and 45 figuring in the top 20 best-sellers' list.
Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in April were: Ford 16,016, Vauxhall 15,477, Peugeot 7,853, Renault 7,223, Rover 4,874, Volkswagen 4,246, Fiat 3,741, Toyota 3,446, Honda 2,843, Nissan 2,672. Top 10 best-selling fleet models in April were: Ford Focus 5,549, Vauxhall Astra 5,366, Vauxhall Vectra 4,688, Ford Mondeo 3,687, Peugeot 306 3,172, Vauxhall Corsa 3,134, Renault Megane 2,897, Ford Fiesta 2,781, Renault Clio 2,677, Peugeot 406 2,569.