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SALES FIGURES: Audi leapfrogs arch rival BMW to become premium top dog

Date: 25 July 2007

Six months into the year and Ford continues to dominate both the list of best-selling fleet makers and cars. However, look down a little and you'll see that every Audi model is on the march, writes Paul Barker

The status quo has been maintained at the top of the overall sales chart in the first half of 2007 as far business car registrations are concerned, but there has been a switch in leadership of the premium brand sector.

The first half of this year has seen a 2.8% rise in like-for-like fleet registrations, to a total of 617,286 units. Overall, new car registrations are running at 2.0%?up for the first six months of the year, and fleet is once again outperforming retail (which is up 1.4%).

Ford again tops the list of fleet car makers, enjoying an advantage of more than 5500 registrations over arch rival Vauxhall. The rest of the top five mirrors the hierarchy at the end of 2006 - VW, Peugeot and Renault in that order. VW, however, has had a good first half of the year to put some distance between itself and its rivals, while both French brands are down on 2006 to leave them peering nervously over their shoulders at Audi, which has seen amazing growth so far this year. A 37.5% increase in sales compared with the first six months of 2006 has seen it overhaul both Toyota and, more satisfyingly for the German premium brand, BMW, which has surprisingly suffered a 10.4% reduction in registrations.

Audi's success has also seen the A4 outsell the BMW 3-series to become fleet's top compact exec model, taking it to the verge of the overall fleet top 10, while the A6 has passed the 5-series to become the top-selling fleet executive model (see table page 17). Every Audi is up year-on-year, with the Q7 coming from a standing start this year to be the second best-selling large 4x4 behind the Land Rover Discovery. BMW meanwhile has suffered from a slow build-up after the new X5 was launched a couple of months ago, while the X3 has disappeared completely, dropping from position 65 at the close of 2006 to now rank 118 in the top sellers list thanks to a 66.1% fall in registrations.

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