Manufacturers sold 21,900 diesels to fleets last month, accounting for 28 per cent of the total fleet market, a rise of 60.3 per cent on October 2000. By contrast, petrol sales dropped 2.6 per cent to 56,827 units.
Diesel-powered cars enjoy a considerable CO2 emissions advantage over their petrol equivalents, and therefore in many instances incurring a substantially lower company car tax under the new system that comes into force next year.
For the year-to-date, diesel has accounted for 22 per cent of fleet sales, or 194,611 vehicles, up 29.7 per cent on this time last year. However, petrol sales are down 5.3 per cent at 696,276, so the overall year to date fleet market is only up 0.6 per cent.
Vauxhall dominated the October fleet market, with a 33 per cent increase in sales to 16,844 compared to October last year.
Four of its models had places in the top 10, led by the Vauxhall Astra in second place (with 5,045 sales), the Vectra in third (4,490), the Corsa in fourth, (4,055) and the Zafira in seventh (2,639).
But the Ford Focus continued its dominance of the overall sales charts, with its 18th month at the top of the charts for both retail and fleet sales. Ford retains its position as the best-selling fleet manufacturer during the year, with 21.77 per cent of the fleet market, followed by Vauxhall on 19.26 per cent, Peugeot (8.5 per cent), Renault (8.4 per cent) and Volkswagen (6.81 per cent).
In the diesel sales charts, Vauxhall took top place with 4,088 sales, mostly shared between the Vauxhall Vectra, the top diesel seller for the second month running, with sales up 86.5 per cent to 1,608, and the Astra, in third, with 1,459 sales. Peugeot's 406 took second spot, while the Focus and Mondeo from Ford took fourth and fifth place respectively.