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Fleet registrations to grow 5-6% in July, predicts Glass’s

That’s the latest prediction from Glass’s following the growth in the UK new car market in June, which saw the market’s record-breaking run extend to 28 months.

Looking at the performance last month, Glass’s highlighted that of the total 228,291 registrations, the Business segment again scored highest for year-on-year growth. At 26.4%, this is the sector’s fifth consecutive month of +20% growth – adding 2,674 units to take its registrations for June to 12,817.

Fleet registrations grew by just 5.5% year-on-year, to 113,859 – this segment’s fourth sub-10% monthly growth rate of 2014 and its second consecutive month of decline. Similarly, Private registrations saw a third consecutive sub-10% monthly growth rate, rising 4.8% to reach 101,615. These low rates are expected to remain relatively stable through July and August in the increasingly subdued period before September’s plate change.

The breakdown by fuel type shows diesel growing at 12.2% to a total of 117,411 registrations, while petrol has fallen by 0.4% to 106,720. Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) enjoyed another large leap in registrations. Their 32.9% increase compared to 2013 amounted to an additional 1,029 units, helping sustain momentum in an AFV market whose year-to-date figures are still more than 50% above those of the same period in 2013.

Andrew Jackson, head of analytics at Glass’s, remarked: ‘The fall in petrol-fuelled vehicle registrations is surprising in view of the trend of recent years, which was reflected in stabilisation of the petrol to diesel vehicle ratio between 2011 and 2014. In fact, a preference towards petrol-powered variants in all but D-segment cars and MPVs, especially in the last 12 months, has been reducing the diesel quotient in nearly all segments since 2013.’

He explained: ‘The June figures may well be indicating that the Private market is finally hitting its saturation point for petrol vehicles, while diesel’s popularity in the Fleet and Business sectors continues to drive growth in diesel-fuelled registrations. It will be interesting to see whether this anomaly is repeated in July’s figures.’

The total of 61,415 registrations for the top 10 sellers in June was down 5.5% on 2013, despite an increase of 19.6% (10,102 units) in month-on-month registrations against May. Fiesta ranked first (11,213 registrations), followed by Corsa (7,961) and Focus (7,399), but none of these volumes translated into year-on-year growth. Of the models that have regularly featured in the top 10 in 2014, only the VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai achieved growth in registrations – with a striking 11.4% and 18.8% respectively.

Vauxhall’s Insignia, Fiat’s 500 and Audi’s A3 re-entered the top 10 with respective year-on-year volume growth of 114%, 22% and 50%. Intriguingly, almost half of Vauxhall’s large increase related to three trim levels: SRI, Techline and Design.

‘It seems like a combination of attractive BiK and the summer months is driving demand, largely in the short-cycle leasing sector, creating ideal conditions for Vauxhall,’ added Andrew Jackson.

Summarising Glass’s latest predictions, Jackson said: ‘As we anticipated, the market did slow to a 6% growth rate, with the Fleet sector settling at a sub-10% level, in line with May’s market performance. Looking at the performances of the three key sectors in 2014, we can expect to see a continuation in growth of around 5% to 6% for the month of July in the Private and Fleet markets and around 20% in Business registrations. Our forecast for new registration volume in July is therefore around 172,000 units, with a split of 44%, 51% and 5% between Private, Fleet and Business.’

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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.