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Fleet registrations drop 4.4% in February while private demand continues to rise

The SMMT’s data shows that a total of 35,759 fleet cars were registered in February, down from 37,412 for the same month last year and leading to a decline in the sector’s market share from 60.5% to 53.6%.

For the sub-25 fleet sector, 1,708 vehicles were registered, down from 1,733 in February 2012 and leading to a fall in market share from 2.8% to 2.6%.

In contrast, private registrations rose 28.9% to 29,282 units from 22,723 for February 2012 – marking the 14th consecutive month of increases and the highest growth in the private market since the end of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme in spring 2010. Meanwhile the market share for private registrations increased from 36.7% to 43.9%. This led to a rise in overall registrations, up 7.9% to 66,749 from 61,868.

The SMMT added that the increase was on par with the average growth posted during the last three months and is above the 6.4% average growth posted in the last 12 months. Given the subdued nature of the economy, the organisation said the growth is likely to be the result of market-specific factors – notably replacement demand being enticed through attractive deals and offers on new, more efficient cars.

For the year to date, all sectors remain up, with fleet registrations improved by 2.4% to 110,967 from 108,333 and sub-25 fleet registrations up 30.1% to 9,068 from 6,972. Private registrations are also up year to date, with a 19.8% to 90,357 from 75,416, and the market remains positive overall, with a 10.3% rise to 210,392 units from 190,721.

‘UK new car registrations have risen every month for the last year with February continuing the trend, growing 7.9% year-on-year boosted by the highest increase in private consumer demand since spring 2010,’ said Mike Baunton, interim chief executive, SMMT. ‘However, February is traditionally a low-volume month as motorists look forward to the plate-change in March, but attractive new car deals are sustaining the market. New models are delivering ever greater fuel efficiency, practicality, refinement, technology and predictable ownership costs, so motorists are seeing the benefit of new car purchases.’

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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.