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Latest fleet sales figures show increased business confidence, says Deloitte

April figures from the SMMT show that new car registrations rose 8.2% in April to 176,820 units, marking the 26th consecutive month of growth. 

The fleet sector saw a 13% rise in new car registrations to 84,853 compared to 75,065 for April last year. Registrations were also up for the sub-25 business sector, with a 23.4% rise to 8,079 units from 6,545 in April last year.

Commenting on the figures, David Raistrick, UK automotive leader at Deloitte, said: ‘The growth in the UK new car market and the positive message it is sending out about the recovery of economic activity in the UK is leading the overall European car market towards a more optimistic 2014. Whilst the key European markets in Germany, France and Italy are showing confident growth numbers, the UK market is growing at a rate two to four times greater. The UK alone has contributed a third of the overall European growth in new car sales for the first quarter of the year.

‘What has been particularly pleasing is that fleet and business sales in the UK market are recovering and supporting the impressive private sales market, which outperformed expectations during 2013.  This would suggest that businesses are having the confidence to invest in renewing their fleets. They are being supported in doing so by innovative solutions such as the salary sacrifice schemes, making this a cost-effective benefit for their employees while also leading the drive to reduce emissions. 

'The UK car buyer is still attached to fossil fuel power, whether diesel or petrol, and has been benefiting from the relatively stable, if not falling, fuel prices we have been seeing.  Whilst there has been growth in the sales of alternative fuelled cars, the UK and European market generally is not meeting the expectations of those manufacturers leading the way with electric propulsion.  It would appear that the market for these vehicles will only take off when there is a reliable infrastructure to support recharging. Until then, the electric vehicle will, in most instances, largely remain an option for the family’ second car rather than the main mode of transport.'

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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.