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Car dealer fleet-use to spike in March

The usage of courtesy and demo fleets across the UK’s dealer network will spike next month, according to new research by automotive software specialist, DCML.

Last year, demo cars were on the road almost 29% more in March than they had been in February. Across the last five years, that figure dips a little but still represents an increase in usage of almost a quarter (24%).

Dealers typically increase fleets in time for the arrival of new registrations in March. Over the last five years, fleets have swelled by an average of 11% at this time but, despite the additional stock available, overall usage of the fleet has also increased by 14% - amounting to a 3% rise or an extra day per car across all departments.

Last year, sales demo fleets grew by around 16% between February and March, but even with the stock increase, each car was typically 6% busier.

Service departments should also be braced for additional courtesy car usage, with vehicles recording a 12% increase in workload, despite an average 10% increase in fleet size.

DCML analysed data from more than 40,000 dealership vehicles controlled by its Dealer Car Manager software over the last five years.

Managing director at DCML Vince Powell said: “Dealers already know that March will be one of their busiest times of the year, but our figures show to what level larger fleets are working more days when new registrations land.

“With the September new registration period not nearly as busy, with an average increase of three percent in fleet usage, it’s important that sales opportunities are maximised now and that any customers returning for servicing or repairs are catered for.”

Bodyshops also recorded an increase in March over the last five years, growing their courtesy fleets by an average of 7% and using them 11% more each month overall, or 3% more per individual car.

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