New car registrations for fleet totaled 31,544 in August and 1,574 for business – up 8.2% and down 27.4% respectively when compared to August 2009.

Year-to-date figures reveal fleet registrations are at 625,438, up 14.5% when compared to the same period last year, and business registrations total 61,886, up 3.5%.

Overall, registrations fell 17.5% in August to 55,305 units compared with scrappage-fuelled 2009.

The decline marks second consecutive fall, a pattern expected to continue through to year end.

Volumes, however, are up 13.2% to date against last year, at 1,300,413 units and full year forecast suggests 2010 registrations will finish at 2 million, up 1.2% on 2009.

“New car registrations were down 17.5% in August and conditions will remain challenging through the rest of the year,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “The industry enjoyed a better than expected first half of the year and, despite the difficulties, SMMT is forecasting that new car registrations will close just ahead of 2009 figures.”

A FleetEvolution spokesperson commented “this headline figure is great news but the detail shows that business confidence is playing catch up with the confidence of consumers. However with consumer confidence demand for all types of products should now grow leading to a further increase in business vehicles over the next few years. Funding remains an issue and were continuing to investigate innovative solutions for our customers.”