Record fleet registrations drive car market to new high
09 February 2016
On the cusp
Seat was the sole top 20 fleet brand to record a drop in fleet registrations, and it was a hefty one. The 12.7% fall in volume to fleet saw its 2.0% market share slide to 1.6%, with Mazda now just 1315 units away from putting the Volkswagen-owned Spanish brand out of the top 20.
Despite the result, the Spanish brand claimed it achieved record true fleet sales last year and increased its SME business, which means the reduction is a hefty drop in the number of vehicles it previously put into less-profitable channels.
While Mazda is closing in on Seat, it is Jaguar, two positions behind the Spanish brand, that could be a bigger threat, with a full year of XE sales expected to deliver significantly increased volume, backed up by the new F-pace crossover and the new XF. It's coming from a lot further back, but a 46.6% increase in fleet registrations for 2015 could only be the start.
Mitsubishi's growth was also impressive at 61.7% up year-on-year, alternatively fuelled as it was by the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid, which was again the biggest selling ultra-low emission vehicle last year.
The two massively eye-catching figures at the bottom of the table were both boosted by relevant new product refreshing a range struggling for relevance in the sector, with the Jeep Renegade and Smart Fortwo and Forfour models being behind respective 242.8% and 484.0% fleet registration rises. Smart's new Fortwo/Forfour saw it return to the fleet sales chart after disappearing last year, and Jeep was the only manufacturer to jump up more than two places.
With DS's arrival between Jeep and Smart, Dacia and Subaru dropped out of the top 30 fleet manufacturers.
As mentioned above, Mitsubishi had a strong year because of its plug-in vehicle leadership, and registrations of ultra-low emission vehicles grew rapidly last year. While still small, the market was greater than 28,000 last year, a 94% increase on 2014.
Overall, alternative-fuelled vehicles, including traditional hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, recorded a year-end figure of 72,775, a 40.3% increase and a 2.8% share of the total market.