Fleet News

Fleet sales bonanza… but it’s too close to call for a record

A FLEET sales bonanza as the new registration plate arrives this month will decide whether total car sales reach an all-time record this year.

The introduction of the new 54-number plate identifier is expected to generate around £5.7 billion worth of business in September, with 440,000 new cars registered this month.

Since the industry moved to a twice yearly plate change, September has typically taken the lion’s share of annual registrations accounting for 17.7% of the total market. However, a March market of 466,955 units means that September is likely to take silver this year.

Christopher Macgowan, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, said: ‘Despite recent increases in interest rates the UK economy continues to support a healthy new car market.

‘The breadth of new models and competitive prices mean that there is a new car to suit every taste and budget.

‘The market is neck-and-neck with last year’s record total and with four months to go, it’s probably too close to call.’

Car sales hit an all-time record in 2003, reaching 2,579,050, while fleet sales topped one million for the seventh year running.

Fleet NewsNet will reveal how the September registrations bonanza has gone in a special report to be published early in October.

March and September new car registrations

Year March September
1999 370,060 386,999
2000 401,972 353,494
2001 408,024 443,265
2002 423,727 432,661
2003 438,075 439,365
2004 466,955 440,000 (forecast)

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