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Manufacturers set to 'charm' fleets in 2010

Date: 22 January 2010   |   Author: Tristan Young

A fleet sales charm offensive is being predicted for 2010 to counter the drop in retail demand following the end of the scrappage scheme.

Leasing and rental association the BVRLA is predicting a tough 2010 for manufacturers without the scrappage scheme to boost car sales.

"Without the taxpayer-funded scrappage scheme to support them, retail sales are set to slump dramatically this year so it is not surprising that carmakers are already launching a charm offensive on their fleet customers in an attempt to regain share in the vital business market," said BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis.

"2009 saw a real slump in the business car market, which saw its share of new car registrations fall below 50% for the first time in 16 years as companies put off their buying decisions and chose to run their existing fleets for longer before replacing them.

"These vehicles will need to be replaced soon and with an economic recovery underway and firms beginning to recruit again, we expect fleet car sales to pass the million mark in 2010, providing a vital shot in the arm for manufacturers," added Lewis.

Sales of cars to businesses ended 2009 down 20.9% compared with 2008. The fleet and business total ended 2009 at 980,695 registrations.

However, signs for fleet and business sales in 2010 look more positive with the December 2009 sales figures down only 3% on 2008.

The total market including private registrations ended the year down just 6.4% at 1,994,999 cars. This figure was buoyed by the scrappage scheme in the latter half of the year.

Alongside the sales figures released by the SMMT, the average CO2 figure was also revealed. A spokesman said: "Average new car CO2 emissions fell by 5.4% on the 2008 level to 149.5g/km in 2009."