Fleet News

Fleet leads upturn in May new car market

NEW car sales have risen for the first time this year, with May’s market showing a 1.1% increase thanks to improved performances from the fleet and business sectors.

Fleet sales in May were up 2.3%, giving a market share of 50.5%, while sales to businesses with 25 vehicles or fewer were up 18.8%, giving a 5.5% share. At the same time, private registrations were down 2%.

The performance has helped revive a market which has been in the doldrums since the start of the year. Sales across all three sectors are still down year-to-date (YTD) though, with fleet down 3.4%, business down 11.7% and private down 4.2%, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Chrisopher Macgowan, chief executive of the SMMT, said: ‘In what is proving to be a competitive market, the rise in May reflects a small upturn in consumer confidence. ‘It has been a tough year so far but the industry is proving to be resilient.’

In the fleet sector, Ford continues to be number one, with the Focus remaining the best-selling car thanks to a massive rise in diesel registrations (up 45.2%) and the facelifted Fiesta recording a massive 42.7% increase in overall fleet sales.

Kevin Griffin, director of fleet operations at Ford of Britain, said: ‘Ford fleet sales are reaping the rewards of new products and campaigns.

‘Fleet buyers have taken to the 2006 Fiesta freshening and the six to seven months of the ‘Dash for Diesel’ campaign advertisements is also bringing in new business.’

Another marque performing strongly in the fleet market is Peugeot, which has seen sales rise by 23.5%. This is attributable to strong demand for petrol-engined 307s – up a massive 79% – and a 23.8% increase in registrations of diesel 407s.

Elsewhere, there were strong performances from the new Vauxhall Zafira in petrol guise (up 43.8%) and the Volkswagen Passat (up 31.7% in diesel form).

Vauxhall remains the number two fleet manufacturer, although some models are showing losses. Most notable is the diesel-engined Astra, which is down by 29.6% YTD and the Vectra (down 13.1%).

The sales figures also make for bad reading for Renault, with overall fleet sales down by nearly 31% YTD. Much of this is down to a decrease in demand for diesel-engined Megane (down 42.6%), although petrol-engined Clio sales are also down by nearly 19%. Renault claims much of this is due to its move away from short-cycle, unprofitable daily rental business.

Top 10 fleet models

YTD 2006 YTD 2005 % Change
Ford Focus 45,791 43,714 4.7
Vauxhall Astra 34,321 37,444 -8.4
Ford Fiesta 19,249 13,412 43.5
Vauxhall Corsa 18,511 23,869 -22.5
Ford Mondeo 18,507 20,678 -10.5
Renault Megane 17,675 25,970 -32.0
Vauxhall Vectra 15,293 17,787 -14.1
Vauxhall Zafira 15,132 14,111 7.2
Volkswagen Golf 14,261 16,095 -13.4
Peugeot 307 13,216 9,598 37.7

TOP 10s

HERE are the fleet-relevant performance tables for new car registrations in May 2006 from the SMMT...

Top 10 petrol models

Model YTD 06 (% change)
1 Ford Focus 30,034 (-8.6)
2 Vauxhall Astra 24,312 (4.6)
3 Vauxhall Corsa 16,765 (-19.4)
4 Ford Fiesta 15,796 (42.7)
5 Vauxhall Zafira 11,643 (43.8)
6 Renault Megane 11,300 (-24.1)
7 Vauxhall Vectra 7,297 (-14.3)
8 Peugeot 307 7,095 (79)
9 Renault Clio 6,244 (-18.9)
10 VW Golf 5,528 (21.5)

Top 10 diesel models

Model YTD 06 (% change)
1 Ford Focus 15,743 (45.2)
2 Ford Mondeo 13,098 (-9.5)
3 VW Passat 10,596 (31.7)
4 Vauxhall Astra 9,992 (-29.6)
5 VW Golf 8,733 (-24.4)
6 Vauxhall Vectra 7,993 (-13.1)
7 Peugeot 407 7,670 (23.8)
8 Renault Megane 6,375 (-42.6)
9 Peugeot 307 6,121 (8.6)
10 Audi A4 5,975 (9.5)

Top 10 manufacturers

Model YTD 06 (% change)
1 Ford 92,356 (0.5)
2 Vauxhall 90,331 (-10)
3 Volkswagen 41,139 (8.2)
4 Peugeot 33,083 (23.5)
5 Renault 30,216 (-30.7)
6 Toyota 19,775 (-16.8)
7 Audi 19,611 (29.1)
8 BMW 19,585 (11.7)
9 Citroën 16,004 (11.9)
10 Honda 12,730 (-9.3)

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