Fleet News

Fleet registrations for April

The fleet market share was 48.7% in April, but figuring out whether that was good or bad is not a straightforward task. Compared to April 2009, it looks bad (then it was 54.2%), but this time last year the retail market was flat on its back awaiting an emergency transfusion from the scrappage scheme.

Subtracting the scrappage registrations in April 2010 would give a current fleet proportion of 52.9%, which is actually slightly higher than in the last full year before the recession hit (50.6% in April 2007).

> > Click here to download fleet registrations for April 2010

So fleet sales are not great in absolute terms at present (after all, unit sales are almost identical to April 2009), but their share of the market is very much what one would expect. However, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic for the rest of the year.

The Business Confidence Monitor for the first Quarter of 2010 found a rising number of companies expecting to increase output in the rest of 2010. The net confidence index (companies expecting an improvement over the coming year, minus those expecting a decline) was +25.8, compared to a record (and horrifying) -45.3 this time last year.

This would suggest that corporate buyers should gradually return to the market over the next six months. It is known that many buyers either delayed car purchases last year or only signed up to short term contracts until the economy showed signs of recovery.

However, what of the here and now? Ford had a bad month as the company evidently took a decision to stand back from the escalating discount battle (especially prevalent in the short-cycle area of the market). Ford had a pretty good first quarter, so we would need to see a couple more months before claiming any trend-change for the company.

Vauxhall, in the throes of developing a new business plan, was in no position to take advantage of Ford’s reticence, so the gains went elsewhere. Renault increased by no less than 164.8%, mostly thanks to the new Megane and Scenic. Seat, not usually very prominent in this market, was up by 134.3%, mostly thanks to the Ibiza.

However, the oddest result came from a manufacturer never before quoted in the context of fleet sales: Aston Martin almost doubled fleet sales for the month and is up more than five-fold year-to-date. No less than 147 Aston Martins have been registered to fleets so far this year. That means Aston Martin had a higher fleet proportion than Fiat (28.2% vs. 16.7%). It did have us checking they were not all registered on April 1.
 

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