Fleet News

Private buyers eclipse corporate customers as consumer confidence continues

A BUOYANT retail market again saw private buyers driving growth in new car sales for the seventh consecutive month.

Last month's new car sales figures were up 7% year-on-year to 179,996, fuelled by a continuing resurgence in private buying as fleet sales dropped 3.4% year-on-year to 78,136.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders seized on the figures as a resounding vote of confidence in Britain's dealer-based car distribution system, which has been the subject of intense scrutiny in the European Community debate over the future of the block exemption.

Chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: 'Although some people have called for an end to manufacturers' dealer networks, seven consecutive months of growth shows that car buyers have confidence in their local franchise.

'They know that the most competitive deals are available in the UK and that their local dealer is best placed to offer advice, assistance and aftersales care.'

As private new car sales have soared so fleet's share of the overall market has declined - private sales took 48.3% last month against fleet's 43.4% compared to 42.2% and 48.11% a year ago. However, once sales to small businesses - companies running less than 25 cars - are included, corporate sales overtake private sales.

Last month private sales totalled 86,906 units against combined fleet (78,136) and business (14,954) sales of 93,090. Private sales in the first four months of this year total 424,895 against combined fleet (353,879) and business (76,305) sales of 430,184.

Top 10 best-selling fleet manufacturers in April: Ford 19,723, Vauxhall 12,057, Renault 8,164, Peugeot 6,745, Volkswagen 5,627, Nissan 4,706, Citroen 3,085, Toyota 2,300, Rover 2,081, BMW 2,080.

Top 10 best-selling fleet models in April: Ford Focus 7,906, Ford Mondeo 6,205, Renault Megane 4,430, Vauxhall Astra 4,354, Vauxhall Vectra 3,408, Ford Fiesta 3,147, Vauxhall Corsa 2,490, Peugeot 406 2,287, Renault Clio 2,272, Citroen Xsara 2,135.

Top 10 best-selling fleet diesel manufacturers in April: Ford 3,646, Peugeot 3,112, Volkswagen 2,228, Vauxhall 2,061, Citroen 934, Renault 867, Audi 658, Nissan 526, MG Rover 359, BMW 340.

Top 10 best-selling fleet diesel models in April: Ford Mondeo 1,653, Peugeot 406 1,500, Ford Focus 1,343, Vauxhall Astra 1,031, Peugeot 306 943, Volkswagen Passat 941, Volkswagen Golf 782, Citroen Xsara 629, Vauxhall Vectra 626, Renault Megane 542.

Top 10 best-selling fleet diesel manufacturers in 2001: Peugeot 14,180, Ford 13,837, Vauxhall 10,596, Volkswagen 8,703, Citroen 4,743, Renault 2,799, BMW 2,308, Audi 2,239, MG Rover 1,566, Nissan 1,508.

Top 10 best-selling fleet diesel models in 2001: Peugeot 406 6,779, Ford Focus 6,598, Vauxhall Astra 5,274, Ford Mondeo 4,325, Peugeot 306 3,933, Volkswagen Golf 3,330, Citroen Xsara 3,164, Volkswagen Passat 3,086, Vauxhall Vectra 3,053, Peugeot 206 2,502.

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