Fleet News

February fall sees slide in car sales continuing

SALES volumes for all market sectors are continuing to slide year-on-year, with February predictably slow for new car sales as buyers waited for the new March registration plate.

The fleet market is down 8.4% year-on-year at 128,998 units and business sales down 18.5% at 14,624.

The Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders claims fleet volumes remain lower than usual as a result of company car drivers rushing to register diesel cars last December to take advantage of the 3% tax break on Euro IV diesel cars.

According to insiders, in a bid to get cars onto fleets in December some major volume and premium carmakers were offering leasing companies deals of up to a third off list prices.

However, diesel sales volumes have held strong in 2006 when compared to last year.

In February, the market fell by only 79 units to 28,859, ensuring a 38% market share, up from 37.5% in 2005.

Taking into account that potentially thousands of diesel buyers had registered early in December, the diesel share of the market could be even higher still.

In terms of car sales, the Focus retained its top spot, and year-to-date is more than 25% up as all its new variants come on stream. The Fiesta is up a massive 62% to nearly 5,500.

Ford’s joy is tempered by the performance of the Mondeo, which is the biggest loser in the top 10, down 30%.

The biggest winners in the fleet top 10 are Audi (up 47.9%) and Peugeot. While Audi’s continued impressive performance is no surprise, Peugeot’s is, especially when compared to great rival Renault, which is down 45.7% year-to-date.

Increases for the 407 (up 74%) and 307 (44%) have put Peugeot in a solid third place overall, up 39% in total across its range. But new Peugeot managing director Pierre Louis Colin has denied that the Coventry firm is using substantial discounting in an effort to buy back the share it lost as the result of a change in marketing tactics.

He said: ‘We decided to give up selling through the channels that were proving so costly that we were not able to run our business at a reasonable operating profit.

‘But penetration of 7% for January and around 7.8% for February show we have made a particularly good start to 2006.’

Colin added: ‘This is a significant improvement because the mix of vehicles we are selling is giving us a good balance between fleet and retail. We’re now back in line with our objective, which was to reach 6.5% market share.

‘Our team achieved an extra 5% volume for January, against the background of a total market down by 12%, and I’m delighted that, after a slow start, the order rate for March is very strong.’

Top 10 fleet models

Feb 06 Feb 05 YTD 06 YTD 05 % change
1. Ford Focus 6,263 4,029 14,444 11,482 +25.8
2. Vauxhall Astra 3,870 4,200 9,155 11,153 -17.1
3. Vauxhall Corsa 2,027 2,058 5,780 6,437 -10.2
4. Peugeot 407 1,711 499 3,683 2,114 +74.2
5. Ford Mondeo 1,711 2,072 4,718 6,824 -30.9
6. Volkswagen Golf 1,703 1,896 3,780 4,304 -12.2
7. Peugeot 307 1,599 1,045 4,329 3,007 +44.0
8. Ford Fiesta 1,520 657 5,489 3,389 +62.0
9. Vauxhall Zafira 1,479 1,304 3,937 5,227 -24.7
10. Vauxhall Vectra 1,300 2,011 3,959 5,655 -30.0

Top fleet manufacturers

Feb 06 Feb 05 YTD 06 YTD 05 % change
1. Ford 10,285 8,077 27,198 25,701 +5.8
2. Vauxhall 9,144 9,995 24,533 29,951 -12.1
3.Peugeot 4,376 2,172 11,137 8,065 +38.1
4. Volkswagen 4,203 4,394 9,766 10,536 -7.3
5. Renault 2,453 3,025 7,161 13,195 -45.7
6. Audi 1,950 1,435 6,025 4,074 +47.9
7. Citroen 1,706 1,289 4,437 3,577 +24.0
8. BMW 1,479 1,148 3,493 3,148 +11.0
9. Toyota 1,140 1,403 4,759 6,285 -24.3
10. Honda 1,034 998 3,576 4,236 -15.6

Top petrol models in February

Make Model Range Feb-06 Feb-05 YTD-06 YTD-05
FORD FOCUS 4451 3049 9994 8153
VAUXHALL ASTRA 2896 2447 6448 6717
VAUXHALL CORSA 1825 1890 5278 5624
FORD FIESTA 1216 558 4576 2875
VAUXHALL ZAFIRA 1206 363 2897 1887
PEUGEOT 307 997 401 2559 1252
RENAULT MEGANE 802 842 3004 3248
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 727 791 1395 1461
PEUGEOT 206 689 318 1996 1832
VAUXHALL VECTRA 670 1096 1855 3110

Top diesel models in February

Make Model Range Feb-06 Feb-05 YTD-06 YTD-05
FORD FOCUS 1812 980 4450 3329
PEUGEOT 407 1678 473 3269 2007
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 1140 754 2740 2183
FORD MONDEO 1119 1278 3029 4450
VOLKSWAGEN CARS GOLF 976 1105 2385 2843
VAUXHALL ASTRA 971 1753 2696 4433
VAUXHALL VECTRA 630 907 2104 2510
PEUGEOT 307 602 644 1770 1755
AUDI A3 570 426 1532 1295
AUDI A4 526 504 1785 1188

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