Fleet News

Buyers hold off for September change

AUGUST’S new car market continued its traditional role of living in the shadow of the plate change this month, recording a fall of 6.1%.

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), August’s new car market reached 77,961 units – of which fleet sales accounted for 53.2% of the market and business sales to fleets with 25 vehicles or fewer accounted for 4.9%. For the year-to-date (YTD), total sales have reached 1,487,898 – down 4.3% on the same point in 2005.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: ‘August has become a quiet month for the new car market.

‘However, although fuel prices have fallen recently, the outlook is still clouded by economic uncertainty and the effect this has on consumer confidence.’

In the fleet market, Ford remains the best-seller, albeit with sales down 0.5% YTD.

The revised Fiesta is still driving growth, with sales up 37.4% YTD. Vauxhall is still second, although its sales fell by 7.7%, but a bright spot is the continued success of the new Zafira, up 31%.

Volkswagen was up 17.6%, thanks to a 44.3% rise in sales of the Passat, while Peugeot hung on to fourth place with sales up 23.1% – mainly driven by increases in sales of its CC range of coupe-convertible models.

Of the other manufacturers in the top 10, BMW saw sales rise by 12.6% due to strong demand for the 3 and 7-series, while Audi’s A6 and A8 helped to drive up sales by 24.5%.

Citroën was the only other firm in the top 10 to record a rise – of 7.5%.

Outside of the top 10, the South Korean manufacturers, Hyundai and Kia, continued to develop their market share – up 46.4% and 41.1% respectively thanks to new product.

This reflects a continuation of the trend away from traditional fleet manufacturers and sectors – lower and upper-medium sales are down while luxury, sports, off-road and other market niches are showing growth.


  • SALES of commercial vehicles up to 3.5-tonnes gross vehicle weight rose by 6.4% in August to 15,863, according to figures from the SMMT.

    This takes the total so far this year to 207,163, up 0.6% on the same period in 2005.

  • For registration figures and Top 10 charts click on next page.

  • Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

    Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

    Login to comment


    No comments have been made yet.

    Compare costs of your company cars

    Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

    What is your BIK car tax liability?

    The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee