Fleet registrations continue to take up slack in new car market
According to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) fleet sales rose to 38,588 units in February; up by 8.6% compared to the same month last year. This follows a 3.1% dip last month and gives the fleet sector a 60.8% share of the total new car market compared to 51.7% for February 2010.
Year-to-date, fleet sales are down just 0.7% to 109,036 units whilst market share has risen from 50.6% to 56.7%.
Sub-25 small business sales were not so positive, falling 4.1% to 2,252 compared to the same month last year, but this sector also saw a rise in market share from 3.4% to 3.6%. Year-to-date business sales are down 9.5% to 9,040 units while market share remains static at 4.7%.
However, it was the retail sector again that showed the biggest decline due to continued concerns over economic stability. Sales dropped 26.7% to 22,584 units. This sector is down 22.7% for the first two months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
Overall new car registrations in February were boosted by strong fleet sales and fell less than expected to 63,424 units; down 7.7% compared to the scrappage-boosted market in February 2010. Year-to-date sales are down 10.2%.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the SMMT says that the first six months of 2011 are expected to be down by 8.3% before picking up in the latter half of the year.
The organisation adds that this month’s Budget will be critical in determining consumer and business confidence and the ongoing stability of the market.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, commented: 'We’re looking for certainty on motoring taxes, a freeze on fuel duty and measures that support business investment and access to finance and credit.'