Just about every automaker posted February sales gains compared to the same month in 2009, and industry-wide sales were up 13 percent for the month. Even Chrysler posted its first year over year gain for the first time in 25 months, albeit by a mere 399 units. So is everybody at the company's Auburn Hills, MI headquarters celebrating? We're guessing the answer is no... due to the fact that a knee-wobbling 58 percent of those sales came to fleet customers.

Automotive News is reporting that only 35,832 of those 84,449 sales were made to retail customers. That's not good, folks. In better times, Toyota would be disappointed if it only sold 35,000 Carmry sedans to retail customers. When AN asked Chrysler about its low sales for the month, a spokeswoman reportedly said, "Fleet sales were very strong this month, and our company sales reflect that." Big fleet sales will reportedly be temporary, though, as the company still eventually plans to allocate only 25 percent of its sales to fleets.

But while that's bad news for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers, the company is likely at least happy that fleet customers are buying again. When the economy hit the skids in the fall of 2008, the fleet market went from a sales oasis for domestic automakers to a discount desert. Chrysler isn't the only automaker to rely on fleet sales in February, either. General Motors allocated 45,000 of its 144,000 vehicles to fleets, about 31 percent of its total sales.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req'd]