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Business registrations hold top spot, highlights Glass’s

July’s registration figures from the SMMT revealed that the market split 44%, 51% and 5% between Private, Fleet and Business sectors respectively. According the SMMT, Business registrations once again held the top spot for year-on-year growth, albeit 10% lower than previous months, with a growth of 14%, equivalent to 1,180 additional registrations versus 2013. 

Fleet registrations grew again at a relatively modest 5.4% year-on-year (YoY) to 88,256. This result again adds to the tally of sub-10-percent growth in 2014 and is now the third consecutive month of decline since April, indicating that the seeming coincidence of last month is now forming into a trend, according to Glass’s.

Similarly, it was the fourth consecutive month of sub-10-percent growth for Private registrations with 7.25%, equating to 76,738 registrations. 

Andrew Jackson, Glass’s head of analytics, commented: ‘We are seeing a very interesting trend appearing in the fleet sector – while registrations are obviously growing year on year, three months of declining registrations suggest something may be going on. We will be watching carefully to see if this reverses over the next few months.’

When looking at registrations by fuel-type, diesel- fuelled registrations grew at 11% to total 91,324 and petrol-fuelled registrations grew by 1.0% to 78,291. AFVs registered an increase of 35.4% versus 2013 totalling 3,292 units.

At 46,017 vehicles, July’s top-ten highest-performing models, in total, were down -5.9% versus 2013. Fiesta, Focus and Corsa took first, second and third places respectively with 8,854, 6,013 and 5,467 registrations.

Andrew Jackson said: ‘It’s the Corsa that really stands out this month. Its registration volumes equated to a 10% climb versus the previous year and finally signalled an end to six months of declining growth.

‘We can expect the Corsa to be pushed over the next few months as old stock is run down in preparation for the all-new Corsa E due for release in January 2015.’

Other vehicles which did well in July included Nissan’s Qashqai, which grew 10% YoY to 4,729 registrations and Fiat’s 500, which grew at 9% to 3,021.

The major losers for the month were, once again, Ford and Vauxhall, with the Fiesta and Focus’ registrations declining -3% and -17% respectively whilst the Astra declined -31% to record 4,267 registrations for July. BMW also fared badly with its 3 Series declining -14% in registration volumes versus 2013.

Andrew Jackson concluded: ‘August’s registration volumes are now due to come into focus which leads to an interesting situation. The month denotes the low-point for the registration calendar year, due to deferral of registration by customers with September’s plate change looming on the horizon. 

‘Bearing in mind that due to the low volumes handled in August, plus the fact that when looking at registration volumes in 2013, both Fleet and Business sectors were subdued, it would not be surprising to see growth in the region of +10% for the Fleet sector and circa 40% YoY for the Business sector; even if conservative growth forecasts are employed. 

‘Therefore, Glass’s forecast new registration volume for August is approximately 75,000 units split 45%, 51% and 4% between Private, Fleet and Business respectively. Furthermore, extrapolating the patterns we have seen in 2014, we would forecast for total registrations in 2014 is now revised from 2.37million to 2.44million.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.