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Fleet registrations dip slightly in February

The SMMT shows that a total of 83,395 new cars were registered in the month – up 8.4% and marking the biggest February since 2004.

Fleet registrations totalled 44,254; down on the 44,893 seen for February last year. The sector still retained its majority share but the figure fell to 53.1% from the 58.3% in February 2015. The year-to-date figure was also down on 2015 by 1.2%.

In comparison demand from the sub-25 ‘Business’ sector was up 9.5% to 1,475 units while private registrations were up 22.6% to 37,666 units. For the year to date, Business registrations are up 5.8% and the private sector has risen 12.7%.

Demand was up across all fuel types in February, with diesel and petrol registrations growing by 5.6% and 10.7% respectively, while alternatively fuelled vehicles enjoyed an uplift of 19.9%. Fleet demand dipped slightly compared with the private sector, but still retained its 53.1% majority share of new vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “February is typically one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of March’s plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months.”

Commenting on the figures, Steve Jackson, chief car editor, Glass’s, said: “February SMMT registration statistics show private customers have been incentivised back in to the market with low interest rates, deposit incentives and a selection of new models on offer. The consumer is the market that the manufactures can currently influence the most to increase volume in the first quarter of 2016. There are no doubts from Glass’s that retail demand will also be the major influencer in the March 2016 figures, the largest new car plate change month of the year.

“Fleet however has fallen marginally by 1.4% during the month and is down 1.2% year to date. Post-recession fleet has returned to pre-recession volumes and now is largely a numbers game. Manufacturers are competing for a share of a finite, yet important market of fixed term contract company car drivers via BIK advantages and financial incentives.” 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 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.