Automakers often report their sales figures in whatever way makes them look most positive, and for a long time including fleet sales has been an effective way to make a slow selling vehicle look more popular with consumers on paper. Automakers don't distinguish between fleet and retail when reporting their sales, so we've been forced to believe them recently when we've been told that fleet sales are being reduced. General Motors, Ford and the Chrysler Group have all claimed that reducing fleet sales is a component of each company's respective turnaround plan, but we've found a document that suggests they're still way behind Toyota and Honda when it comes to resisting the easy route to higher sales.
These PDF documents from fleet-central.com, which we've converted to images and included below in a handy gallery, report in detail the percentage of sales sold to fleet operators in the first half of 2007. It's broken down by both vehicle segment and specific models, which allows us to pinpoint exactly which depend more on fleet sales than others.
Let's dive right in and pick out some of the more interesting numbers that you may be curious to know.
Subcompacts: (fleet) 149,766 | (retail) 825,697 | (total) 975,463 | (% fleet) 15.4%
Chevrolet Cobalt: 29,090 | 44,141 | 73,231 | 39.7%
Ford Focus: 19,660 | 54,621 | 74,281 | 26.5%
Toyota Corolla 22,999 | 121,348 | 144,347 | 15.9%
Honda Civic: 2,817 | 128,113 | 130,930 | 2.2%
VERDICT: Not surprising: While the Focus is older than the Cobalt, it enjoys a smaller percentage of fleet sales. The Corolla has a lot of fleet sales, but its retail sales are so large that its percentage of fleet sales is relatively small. The Civic's retail sales are higher than the Corolla's, however, which means that it is actually the real best-selling subcompact.
More segments after the jump! All the numbers can be viewed in the gallery below.
UPDATE: Fleet sales for trucks, minivans and SUVs added to the gallery.
[Source: fleet-central.com via AutoSpies]
Related GalleryFleet Sales - first half 2007
Compacts: (fleet) 194,545 | (retail) 306,291 | (total) 500,836 | (% fleet) 38.8%
Chevrolet Malibu: 37,792 | 26,435 | 64,227 | 58.8%
Chrysler Sebring: 25,916 | 14,866 | 40,782 | 63.5%
Dodge Avenger: 10,013 | 2,591 | 12,604 | 79.4%
Dodge Caliber: 23,248 | 28,288 | 51,536 | 45.1%
Ford Fusion: 17,905 | 48,838 | 66,743 | 26.8%
VERDICT: Very surprising: According to these numbers, both the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger are supported largely by fleet sales. The Avenger's retail sales are ridiculously low compared to its fleet sales. The Malibu is about to be replaced by an all-new model, so its high percentage of fleet sales is understandable. The Fusion, meanwhile, enjoys a reasonably low percentage of fleet sales, though it needs to be lower.
Intermediates: (fleet) 309,829 | (retail) 809,332 | (total) 1,119,161 | (% fleet) 27.7%
Buick LaCrosse: 7,199 | 17,475 | 24,674 | 29.2%
Buick Lucerne: 5,111 | 34,012 | 39,123 | 13.1%
Chrysler 300: 29,078 | 36,993 | 66,071 | 44.0%
Ford Five Hundred: 13,885 | 18,337 | 32,222 | 43.1%
Honda Accord: 7,995 | 155,556 | 163,551 | 4.9%
Toyota Avalon: 6,304 | 34,804 | 41,108 | 15.3%
Toyota Camry: 14,762 | 177,431 | 192,193 | 7.7%
VERDICT: Japanese automakers have the upper hand. The Lucerne does well for Buick compared to its smaller sibling, the Lacrosse, which sells less total yet more to fleets. In fact, the Lucerne has almost as many retail sales as the Chrysler 300, which is surprising. The Five-Hundred is headed down the path of the original Taurus with a high percentage of sales to fleets. Here's hoping the new Taurus will buck that trend. The sales numbers of the Camry and Accord stand out here as exceptional, with single-digit percentages of sales to fleets. The Avalon, perhaps Toyota's most likely model to have high fleet sales, had a lower percentage than expected.
Full-Size Cars: (fleet) 37,771 | (retail) 14,811 | (total) 52,582 | (% fleet) 71.8%
Ford Crown Victoria: 25,705 | 2,459 | 28,164 | 91.3%
Mercury Grand Marquis: 12,060 | 12,044 | 24,104 | 50.0%
VERDICT: Predictable: Nearly all of the Crown Victoria's sales are to government agencies like police forces. The Grand Marquis, however, still has a loyal following of retail customers.
Entry-Luxury Cars: (fleet) 21,080 | (retail) 315,824 | (total) 336,904 | (% fleet) 6.3%
Volvo S40: 4,222 | 7,038 | 11,260 | 37.5%
Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 3,312 | 18,829 | 22,141 | 15.0%
BMW 328: 1,047 | 34,670 | 35,717 | 2.9%
Audi A4: 1,632 | 22,628 | 24,260 | 6.7%
Infiniti G35: 3,161 | 29,959 | 33,120 | 9.5%
VERDICT: The Entry-Luxury segment as a whole has a very low percentage of sales to fleet. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, however, sells more to fleets than its competitors, despite having the lowest total number of sales.
Lincoln Town Car: 12,235 | 8,687 | 20,922 | 58.5%
Cadillac DTS: 6,462 | 17,128 | 23,590 | 27.4%
Infiniti M35: 1,602 | 8,850 | 10,452 | 15.3%
Cadillac CTS: 2,017 | 20,343 | 22,360 | 9.0%
Lincoln MKZ: 783 | 12,661 | 13,444 | 5.8%
Ford Mustang: 18,541 | 45,350 | 63,891 | 29.0%
Chrysler Crossfire: 1,825 | 760 | 2,585 | 70.6%
Chevrolet Corvette: 440 | 15,825 | 16,265 | 2.7%