Fleet News

Plate change fails to ignite new car market

THE 06 registration plate change in March failed to ignite much interest in the new car market with sales down once again.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that the March new car market was down 1.6% year-on-year to 435,847 units.

Of this figure, private sales showed a slight increase of 483 units, taking its share of the market to 46.7% year-to-date.

Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: ‘Some excellent deals have seen new car buyers heading back to dealerships although a reasonable March cannot mask the poor start to the year, and 2006 will continue to be a challenge for the industry as we fight for every sale.’

Fleet sales were down 3.8%, leaving fleet with a 46.6% market share while business sales to fleets with 25 vehicles or less were down 18.5% to a 6.7% share. Ford remained the best-selling fleet manufacturer with sales up fractionally to 57,951 year-to-date. Vauxhall was once again in second spot with 53,996 registrations, although this was a drop of 13.1% year on year.

The Focus remains the top selling fleet car with sales up 10.3% while the Astra continues to run it close despite a 2.5% drop in sales. This reflects the market trend with lower-medium cars once again out-selling their larger upper-medium stablemates, giving them a 29.4% share of the fleet market, compared to 22.4%. Other sectors showing good progress include luxury saloons, up a massive 74.7% in fleet year-to-date, and off-roaders and coupes, which are both up 15.1%.

  • MARCH was a record month for commercial vehicle registrations, mainly due to a strong showing from vans up to 3.5 tonnes. They were up 1.8% year-to-date at 87,384 registrations out of a total market to date of 102,415.

    Going up

    AUDI

    Total fleet sales up 40.3% YTD thanks to rises across the range – A3 up 38.4%, A4 up 34.0%, A6 up 68%, A8 up 154.0% and TT up 30.4%.

    BMW

    Total fleet sales up 21.7% thanks to 1-series up 18.8%, 3-series up 56.6%, 5-series up 7.5%, 7-series up 117.9% and X5 up 46.4%

    Going down

    Honda

    Total fleet sales down 19.9% with a heavy 67.4% fall for the Accord.

    Nissan

    Total fleet sales down 36.7% with Micra down 18.5%, Almera down 59.4%, Primera down 53.9% and X-trail down by 28.6%

    Renault

    Total fleet sales down 30% with falls across the range – Clio down 19.7%, Megane down 20.1%, Scenic down 29.6%, Laguna down 31.9%, Espace down 55% and Modus down 76.6%

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