Fleet News

Diesel sales boost fuels July market

Diesel cars accounted for a record 41% share of the market in July as new car sales continued to exceed expectations.

The 10.9% year-to-date (YTD) increase in diesel registrations saw July’s sales book close on 176,277 units – nearly 5% up on the same month last year.

Fleet and business (fleets operating 25 vehicles or fewer) sales continued to bolster the new car market, up 3.1% and 6% YTD respectively.

Audi and Honda were the biggest winners in the fleet market during July, recording sales increases of 35.5% and 19.1% respectively.

Audi’s inexorable sales growth is being fuelled by massive demand for the A6 range (up 70% thanks to the continued popularity of the 2.0 TDI models and the Le Mans edition, which adds extras such as leather seats and 19-inch alloy wheels for £115 extra) and the new TT (up 60%).

The marque’s core fleet offerings – the A3 and A4 – both recorded double-digit growth, despite supply problems which mean there is currently a five-month wait for A3 models.

Honda is reaping the rewards with its futuristic Civic range – now complete with the arrival of three-door and sporty models.

Civic sales were up 41% in fleet while Accord weighed in with a healthy 22% increase.

And despite the negative publicity surrounding SUVs, the new CR-V has found plenty of user-chooser demand (up 10%).

Citroën, Volkswagen and Toyota were the next biggest growers, with the C4 Picasso, Golf and Avensis respectively fuelling the rise.

Elsewhere in the top 10 list, Ford and Vauxhall both recorded slight gains, while BMW, Renault and Peugeot all saw their fleet sales slide.

In the case of BMW, strong demand for the 3 Series Coupe and Convertible models has provided the good news, but large falls in demand for the X3 and X5 SUVs (both of which have recently been revised) have meant a slight drop overall.

However, it is worth remembering that the firm’s Efficient-Dynamics models (especially in 1, 3 and 5 Series guise) have only just gone on sale and are sure to prove a hit with fleet buyers, thanks to low CO2 emissions.

Renault’s fall is mainly due to Laguna sales dropping by a quarter – hardly surprising since a new model is due soon.

The same is true for Peugeot, which has a new 308 due to arrive in the UK in September. As a result, 307 demand is down slightly.

The good news is that the 207 continues the strong start it made after going on sale last year – helped by the recent introduction of the SW estate model.

Top 10s

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

YTD 2007 YTD 2006 % change
Ford Focus 58,294 62,595 -6.9
Vauxhall Astra 50,014 45,935 8.9
Ford Fiesta 27,546 26,792 2.8
Volkswagen Golf 24,286 21,112 15.0
Renault Megane 24,147 24,768 -2.5
Vauxhall Corsa 23,778 24,754 -4.0
Vauxhall Vectra 23,124 21,891 5.6
Vauxhall Zafira 22,309 21,958 1.6
Volkswagen Passat 18,090 17,085 5.9
Peugeot 207 15,528 2,690

LCV sales

Sales of LCVs up to 3.5 tonnes reached 26,517 units in July – a 14% rise on the same month last year. 2007’s total now stands at 196,483 – up 2.7% year-to-date.

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