While upper-medium cars such as Ford’s Mondeo and Vauxhall’s Vectra continue to struggle, sales of smaller models such as the new Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane and new Volkswagen Golf are taking off. Sales of the Astra are up 38.9% compared with this time last year, while the new Golf is up 48.1%.
The figures, released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), show that once again fleet business is keeping the UK’s new car market on course for sales of 2.45 million units by the end of the year. A total of 179,457 new cars were sold in April, down 4% on the same time last year.
While sales to private buyers are down 13.3% year-to-date, sales to businesses with fewer than 25 vehicles are up by 10.6%, giving total fleet business a 54.3% share of the new car market.
Vauxhall remains the number one manufacturer in fleet, growing sales by 1.05% in April thanks to huge rises in sales of new Astra, particularly the diesel model which is up by 75.8%.
Ford remains second, Renault is third (up 6.03%) while Volkswagen moved to fourth place with a 17.3% increase.
Vincent Kinner, head of Volkswagen Fleet Services, said: ‘Much of this can be attributed to new Golf and we are now seeing the full effect of this, as last year the old car was in run-out.
‘The market has reacted very well to it and it’s very competitive with contract hire rentals. And all this is before our recent price realignment so we’re looking for even further growth from now on.
‘Passat is still doing well. We’re down to the last few thousand cars now and the old model’s run-out has been better than we expected.’