The proportion of new car sales that went to fleets last month was 51.35%, which was a minor milestone.
It was the first time this year that the fleet proportion was back to its pre-recession level. Taking 2007 as the last full year before the recession, June that year had a fleet proportion of 49.8%, so the figure for June 2010 represents a strong result, at least in percentage terms.
In fact, the fleet sales figure was quite strong in absolute terms as well. The monthly figure of 100,250 was up by 25.3% over June 2009 and was down by only 9.7% compared to June 2007.
Of course, there are always two questions with fleet sales – how many were there, and how were they achieved? The answer to the second question is always hard to establish completely, but the anecdotal evidence is not encouraging.
Market leading Ford went to the lengths of issuing a press release saying that it had deliberately walked away from heavily discounted short-cycle fleet business in June and thereby allowed its market share to slip.
Ford would not be the first manufacturer to have pulled back on fleet sales (remember Renault in 2008/2009?), but the issue is always one of consistency.
Renault has changed its position in 2010, so how long will Ford retain the moral high ground if it thereby slips down the sales chart? It is understood that Ford of Europe is totally behind the UK policy, which suggests it might stick – normally it is the manufacturer who overrules the best intentions of the national sales company.