Fleet sales also an issue abroad
To put those numbers in perspective, in the U.S., Ford sells about 66% of its vehicles now to private buyers, and 34% to fleets, which is almost the complete opposite of BMW and Audi in their home markets. Both Ford and General Motors, as well as the Chrysler Group to an extent, have managed to lower their fleet and rental sales in the first quarter of 2007.
Fleet sales take a toll on automakers because of the big discounts with which they're usually associated. The magazine says that the Focus typically sells to fleets at a discount of 28%! Passats (27%), Renault Lagunas (30+%) and Ford Mondeos (30+%) also go for a song. At 30% off those cars aren't making much if any money for the manufacturers. Essentially, they just keep the plants running, according to one sales director. It's hard to say why the percentage is so huge in Europe compared to US totals, but the fact that Americans have more vehicles per capita is probably one big factor.
[Source: just-auto, Blogging Stocks]
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