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Fleets tighten their belts as registrations fall

Date: 08 August 2008   |   Author: Tom Webster

New fleet car registrations were down 7.3% in July compared to the same time in 2007.

Six of the top ten manufacturers sold fewer cars than 12 months ago.

Vauxhall was one notable loser with a 15.6% reduction, while Volkswagen and Peugeot also sold much fewer vehicles than the previous summer, with sales down 29.2% and 21.4% respectively.

Year-on-year fleet registrations are still up, but only just at 0.7%.

The reduction in sales is also reflected in the overall market, which was down by 13% for the month.

The tough economic market has seen a move towards downsizing, demonstrated by the fact that fleet sales of city cars have risen by 26.1%.

Manufacturers with a separate eco brand, such as BMW and Ford, have also seen an increase in sales. BMW's 30.6% increase in sales over July 2007 is bolstered by a 69% sales boost for its 1-series.

The biggest shock outside of the top ten came from Volvo. Fleet sales were up by 128.5% for the Swedish manufacturer, and sales of the lower medium S40 and V50 nearly quadrupled compared to this time last year.

Volvo puts the increase down to a variety of factors, including product realignment and the introduction of the R-design styling package.

A spokeswoman for the brand said that while it has to keep an eye on the current economic situation, they are confident its progress can be continued.

"We take a considered approach and do not get into a position where we damage residual values," she said.