Holden secures its berth as first in fleet

HOLDEN dealers could be forgiven for feeling smug. Their market dominance over the past few years looks set to continue for at least the next five years.

The Purchasing Intentions Survey 2002, compiled by the Australasian Fleet Managers Association, indicated that 34 per cent of the 136,277 passenger vehicles to be replaced by the respondents over the next five years would be Holdens. Ford came a distant second with 23 per cent of the new passenger vehicle market followed by Mitsubishi at 10 per cent and Toyota 9 per cent.

Ford’s hope rests with edging out the other manufactures vying for a slice of the 20 per cent market, representing 27,965 vehicles, that has not as yet been allocated to a manufacturer.

However, the results from previous surveys indicate that buyer intentions vary significantly. The 2001 survey showed only 18 per cent of vehicles were being considered for a Holden replacement. In 2000, Holden was the preferred replacement for 70 per cent of the fleet.

In the light commercial sector, Toyota dominated the market, with Ford and Holden sharing equal spoils, followed by Mitsubishi and Nissan.

Toyota is set to increase its market share over the next five years, from 9.77 per cent of the market indicated by survey respondents in 2001 to 42.99 per cent in 2002.

Overall, the demand for light commercial vehicles was expected to fall 0.8 per cent in 2001-02 but fleet managers expect to increase the light commercial fleet size by a net 4.43 per cent in the 2002-03 financial year and by 18.94 per cent in the period to June 30 2006.

Passenger vehicle demand is forecast to be stronger still. After falling 2.73 per cent in 2001-02, the number of vehicles is likely to increase 27.69 per cent to 2005-06, while demand for trucks is expected to climb 11.32 per cent.

The Australasian Fleet Managers Association is a membership-based not-for-profit organisation with almost 600 members, representing fleet managers responsible for an estimated 800,000 of the 1.2 million fleet vehicles on Australian roads. The total Australian car pool stands at around 10 million vehicles.

According to AFMA executive director Marja Thompson, fleets acquire 75 per cent of the Australian manufacturers’ passenger car production while accounting for more than 50 per cent of all new vehicles registered each year, including imported cars.

And while the major Australian car manufacturers were maintaining their share of fleet sales, industry consultant and Australian Automotive Intelligence director, Richard Johns, said the imported luxury car market had been increasing its sales, particularly in the past six months, albeit from a lower base. Mr Johns said this indicated it was the smaller businesses that were still buying vehicles, while many of the larger companies are holding off their purchases after the upheaval caused by the introduction of the GST.

Mr Johns said the market in WA was being influenced significantly by the trials and gains within the mining sector, a factor in demand for four-wheel drives and commercial vehicles.

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