Australian fleet sales, which account for the largest slice of all new local vehicle purchases, have slowed by 22 per cent this month as the financial crisis deepens.
Hit hardest by the fall are manufacturers of locally made six-cylinder sedans which traditionally account for up to 70 per cent of all fleet purchases.
The latest Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) sales figures show that almost 20,000 fewer new vehicles were sold last month as compared with February 2008.
Holden, Ford and Toyota, which rely heavily on fleet sales, have all experienced larger than usual sales slumps falling 27, 22 and 31 per cent respectively.
Hyundai was one of the few brands to see an increase in sales last month up 3.5 per cent as compared to the same time last year.
Audi too posted an increase, up by 5.4 per cent, as did Jaguar with a surprising 22 per cent rise.
Fleet operators are urging businesses to take advantage of Government tax incentives with many businesses eligible for a 30 per cent deduction against the cost of an eligible new vehicle bought before June 30.