A shrinking true fleet market in the UK during 2017 can be attributed to a combination of Brexit and new tax policies, according to Dataforce.

The UK’s 2.54 million new car registrations, while remaining above the 10-year average, represented a 5.8% drop from 2016’s figures.

Out of the EU’s five largest economies, the UK was the only country to see its true fleet market contract. Spain (+12.5%), France (+7.2%), Italy (+6.2%) and Germany (+2.1%) all bested records from last year.

These gains by other European nations, Dataforce reports, came in spite of significant political events which had the potential to affect markets and derail growth in the fleet sector.

Spain, for instance, saw a resurgent Catalonian independence movement deliver a destabilising referendum result, while France contested a controversial presidential election.

Dataforce said that the UK’s relatively poor performance was “no doubt influenced by the new wave of vehicle taxes implemented from April 1 and the triggering of Brexit, which in the eyes of the population, remains shrouded in mystery, as to just what this will mean for them post March 29, 2019”.

While one half of the UK’s top 10 brands showed improvements on results this year – with some growing at rates of double digits – other companies posted significant losses. Ford achieved the top spot, followed by Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan.

Kia became the newest entry into the top 10, expanding 2017 fleet sales by 6.5%.