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

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

New Kia boss Paul Philpott has been true to his word and pulled the Korean brand out of the low-profit fleet business. A drop of four places to 20th in our chart of business car brands due to a 41.8% plunge is evidence of that, with the baby Picanto the obvious fall guy, falling outside the top 100 from its place just inside the top 50 at the end of last year. The good news, though, is that the new Ceed lower medium hatchback has already broken into the top 100 (at 97).

Nissan's recovery after a couple of years with little attractive product seems to be well underway. The Note has passed the Vauxhall Meriva to lead the supermini-MPV category (though how much of that was Mobility business is open to question) while the Qashqai is also selling well, and is comfortably inside the top 50 despite only being launched this spring.

Among the top 100 models the Focus, Astra, Fiesta and Mondeo lock out the top four once again, with Peugeot's new 207 being the only car outside of Ford, Vauxhall and VW to make the top 10.

Further down, Citroen's C4 has had an eyebrow-raisingly good half-year for a car approaching middle age, while newcomers such as the Ford S-max and Toyota Auris have joined the 207 in establishing themselves in the top 50.

Diesel sales

Fleet diesel registrations are up 7.3% in the first six months of the year, and have accounted for 46.0% of new fleet cars, two percentage points up at the same time in 2006. Audi's good run is, unsurprisingly, mirrored in the diesel chart (right), grabbing fourth place above BMW and Peugeot, while Renault slipped behind Toyota to eighth and Nissan comes into the top 20 at the expense of ChryslerJeep.

Of all the market segments (left), the lower medium sector is again the dominant one, accounting for 28.7% of fleet registrations. The upper medium sector was down 3.6% in the first half of 2007 and its market share dropped 1.4% to 20.8%, at least in part due to the Mondeo, the biggest player in the segment, being in changeover from old to new. Superminis and Mini-MPVs come next, with supermini-MPVs grabbing fifth place from small 4x4s thanks almost entirely to the popularity of Nissan's new Note.