The British True Fleet Market entered November following seven consecutive months of declining registrations. The comparison against a particularly strong November 2016 with one less working day available wasn’t a promising starting point and thus it comes as no surprise to see the channel continuing its downwards path, falling short of the previous year by 15.6%. This in turn accentuated the decline of the Total Market where registrations dropped by 11.2%.
Strong unique selling propositions helping Suzuki, Toyota and Land Rover
With the depreciation of sterling continuing and the government seeking to raise taxes on diesel there is little chance to see the market segment returning into the black any time soon. However, we found a maybe surprisingly large number of increases in our analysis on both brand and model level.
The strongest growth in terms of True Fleet volume were recorded by Suzuki (+ 421 registrations), Toyota (+ 382) and Land Rover (+ 274). The Japanese off-road specialists Suzuki widened their foothold in the fleet market by 84.0%. Toyota’s registrations were pushed up significantly by the C-HR, which wasn’t on sale a year ago. Meanwhile Land Rover managed to increase fleet sales for five out of its six models upping their True Fleet share to 2.5% for their home market, the highest since Dataforce’s recordings began.
Compact Cars saved the day for some OEMs
Having a strong seller in the Compact Car segment was an advantage that helped a couple of brands in recording an above-average performance. The Volkswagen Golf posted a 21.9% growth, the Ford Focus was up 17.9% and the Mercedes CLA’s fleet registrations rose by a remarkable 78.7%. Further credits for high growth both in terms of volume and percentage goes to the Hyundai Ionic that was starting out just a year ago, the SEAT Leon (+ 23.4%), the Honda Civic (+23.5%) and the Kia c’eed (+ 19.8%). Some of these were clearly absorbing volume from Astra, capitalising on Vauxhall’s sharp strategy shift toward increasing sales margins.
A Galaxy not that far away
Another vehicle segment to record a surprisingly strong performance were the large MPVs. Leaving out the passenger car derivatives from utilities, the model range has dwindled to just six, with maybe more about to leave the market? However, the force was especially strong in one and while the 75.2% rise in (Ford) Galaxy registrations may not have had some kind of connection to a long-awaited movie launch in December it certainly seemed that the other models were not the ones the fleet market were looking for. It was noted though that this surge has helped to lift the segment by 9.7%.