Fleet News

June sales show signs of recovery

After three years of falling sales, the new car market is showing the first signs of recovery.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that June’s sales were 1.5% up on the same month last year, continuing a four-month period of growth.

June’s 222,863-unit new car market was 8,000 sales above the SMMT’s forecast and may prompt the organisation to revise its full-year forecast up from 2.35 million units.

Unusually, it was private buyers who fuelled much of the growth, up 2% year-on-year to 94,717 units thanks to a raft of showroom offers.

Fleet’s share of June’s market was down 0.1% to 110,907 units, while sales to businesses running 25 vehicles or fewer rose by 10.2% to 17,239 sales.

This figure reflects the growing focus among fleet manufacturers to capitalise on small local fleet business through specialist sales departments located in dealerships.

Ford maintained its position as the best-selling brand in fleet, despite having Mondeo in run-out mode in preparation for the arrival of the new version.

However, Focus and Fiesta continue to sell well and S-MAX and Galaxy are picking up in the MPV sector – the latter increasing sales by 44% year-on-year and S-MAX growing from less than 500 sales in June 2006 to around 3,800 units last month.

On the LCV side, Ford has ramped up its Southampton plant and is, according to the company, “squeezing every unit out of the plant it can” to cope with demand for the new Transit model.

Roelant de Waard, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, said: “We strengthened our sales position in the UK through the first half of 2007 thanks to a stream of fresh models.

With the new Mondeo on sale, this will give a major boost to the second half of the year.”

Elsewhere, Peugeot continued to enjoy massive demand for its 207 range, with fleet sales hitting 12,635 last month – a year since the model was introduced in three and five-door hatchback form.

Now the manufacturer has added SW estate and CC coupe cabriolet versions.

Vauxhall saw fleet sales rise fractionally in June thanks to an 11% increase in demand for Astra and Vectra continuing to do well despite its age and replacement already being talked about.

Of the top 10 best-selling manufacturers in fleet, Audi showed the biggest rise – up 37.4% thanks mainly to a 41% increase in A4 diesel sales.

BMW saw sales slip by 10%, although this is reflected more in the fact that X5 sales are massively down (-55%) due to the wait for the new model to replace the old one.

BMW 7 Series sales also fell by more than 40%.

Top 10 fleet models

Models YTD 2007 YTD 2006 % change
Ford Focus 51,813 53,876 -3.9
Vauxhall Astra 44,197 39,763 11.1
Ford Fiesta 24,066 23,165 3.8
Ford Mondeo 22,908 22,878 0.1
Renault Megane 21,019 21,475 -2.2
Vauxhall Corsa 20,333 22,249 -8.7
Vauxhall Vectra 19,941 19,074 4.5
Volkswagen Golf 19,889 18,275 8.8
Vauxhall Zafira 18,818 18,854 -0.2
Peugeot 207 12,635 1,387

Top 10s

Here are the fleet-relevant tables for new car sales for the year-to-date (June) from the SMMT.

LCVs

Sales of LCVs up to 3.5 tonnes reached 30,437 units in June – up 1.7% year-on-year.

So far this year, the market has totalled 170,075 units – up 1.2% year-on-year.

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