Fleet News

Fleet sales record buoys car market

RECORD fleet sales in 2004 highlight the huge influence company car executives will play in this year’s new car market. As reported on last week’s Fleet NewsNet, fleet sales during 2004 reached the highest level in the history of the market.

Record sales in the industry come as the new car market as a whole fell short of beating 2003’s record figure.

Fleets accounted for 1,093,494 unit sales while the private market accounted for 1,200,066, giving fleets a 42.6% share of the new car market. Business sales to sub-25 vehicle fleets reached a record 273,709 units. In total, new car registrations were 0.5% down on 2003’s figure at 2,567,269.

New analysis shows fleet registrations of the best-selling Ford Focus were up by 8% year-on-year, with 98,867 units registered in 2004 and 91,234 the previous year.

Petrol registrations of the model to fleets fell slightly (from 68,013 units to 67,826) but diesel sales increased by more than 33%, from 23,106 units to 30,813.

A total of four models in the top 10 noted declines during 2004 and these were Vauxhall Corsa (-4.9%), Ford Fiesta (-21.5%) and Peugeot 307 (-10.3%) due to the cars being relatively late in their life cycles and the Vauxhall Astra (-13.5%) through a staggered release of body styles for the new model.

The biggest fleet registration increase came from Renault Megane, whose sales rose from 41,881 units in 2003 to 51,447 in 2004, up almost 23%.

Diesel sales for both the private and fleet market during the year reached record levels, jumping 130,697 units in 2004 to 835,334 units.

Commenting on the sales figures, Keith Parry, head of the motor retail group at Barclays Business Banking, said: ‘Rising interest rates and a slowing housing market have tightened the belts of private buyers in 2004, impacting on car sales. The fleet market, on the other hand, has recorded its highest ever annual total.

‘While our expectations for the private sector in 2005 point to a slightly weaker market than in recent years we expect a lot of interest to be shown in the introduction of a number of new car models during the course of the year.’

Sales of commercial vehicles also broke all records – with the growth mainly concentrated in the lighter end of the market, particularly medium vans.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: ‘These figures show 2004 commercial vehicle registrations breaking all records. 2004 has been a terrific year for vans and trucks in the UK, with registrations breaking record after record. A wide range of factors drive demand, meaning it is reassuringly durable, and order books are strong too, so 2005 will be another good year.’

TOP 10 MANUFACTURERS

YTD 04 YTD 03 YTD % CHANGE
VAUXHALL 223,057 221,806 0.56
FORD 212,761 213,947 -0.55
RENAULT 96,336 94,260 2.20
VOLKSWAGEN 87,695 80,705 8.66
PEUGEOT 75,740 82,652 -8.36
TOYOTA 46,079 38,382 20.05
BMW 39,858 33,336 19.56
NISSAN 38,127 50,184 -24.03
FIAT 30,299 29,883 1.39
CITROEN 29,053 28,694 1.25

TOP 10 FLEET MODELS

YTD 04 YTD 03 YTD % change
Ford Focus 98,867 91,234 8.37
Vauxhall Corsa 62,611 65,865 -4.94
Vauxhall Astra 59,357 68,618 -13.50
Renault Megane 51,447 41,881 22.84
Ford Mondeo 50,308 46,704 7.72
Vauxhall Vectra 41,094 41,010 0.20
Vauxhall Zafira 36,448 33,912 7.48
Volkswagen Golf 34,191 29,834 14.60
Ford Fiesta 30,678 39,097 -21.53
Peugeot 307 30,567 34,057 -10.25

TOP 10 PETROL MODELS

YTD 04 YTD 03 YTD % CHANGE
FORD FOCUS 67,826 68,013 -0.27
VAUXHALL CORSA 55,044 61,533 -10.55
VAUXHALL ASTRA 37,332 49,473 -24.54
RENAULT MEGANE 28,322 29,236 -3.13
FORD FIESTA 26,381 33,575 -21.43
VAUXHALL ZAFIRA 26,273 24,956 5.28
PEUGEOT 206 24,178 24,343 -0.68
RENAULT CLIO 21,095 23,308 -9.49
VAUXHALL VECTRA 18,457 21,809 -15.37
FIAT PUNTO 17,334 19,769 -12.32

TOP 10 DIESEL MODELS

YTD 04 YTD 03 YTD % CHANGE
FORD MONDEO 34,037 26,714 27.41
FORD FOCUS 30,813 23,106 33.35
RENAULT MEGANE 23,125 12,645 82.88
VAUXHALL VECTRA 22,328 18,475 20.86
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 22,267 17,210 29.38
VAUXHALL ASTRA 37,332 49,473 -24.54
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 20,038 20,406 -1.80
PEUGEOT 307 17,272 19,240 -10.23
BMW 3-SERIES 11,251 15,083 -25.41
CITROEN XSARA 10,191 8,041 26.74

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