The latest round of new vehicle registration data has been good for Honda - three of the Japanese brand's models are retail sales leaders and the Accord was the most registered car built in America in 2013, according to the data compiled by Polk. In fact, 360,089 units of the family sedan were purchased by individual consumers last year, an increase of 12.2 percent.
Fleet sales are a way of life in the automotive industry. There are many non-retail customers that need vehicles, but going too far can reduce brand image and vehicle resale value. While some of its competitors have fleet sale that account for up to 20 or 30 of overall sales, Honda is bragging that it has the lowest fleet sales of all mainstream automakers for the first five months of 2013.
A sale is a sale, right? Well, at least in the automotive world, that's not entirely true. A sale to a regular consumer is, generally speaking and for a number of reasons, much more attractive to an automaker than a sale to a fleet company (sales to companies or the government, for instance).
Toyota can attribute much of its uptick in sales last month to fleets. While the automaker saw its sales leap by 7.5 percent compared to a year earlier, Newsday.com reports Toyota sold 47 percent more cars and trucks to fleet customers in the U.S. than in January 2011. Without the fleet sales, the improvement would have been less than one percent. All told, rental companies accounted for 93 percent of the automaker's fleet sales in January, with the remainder going to other organizations.
Most everyone at Ford is grinning from ear-to-ear these days, as the company is enjoying profits as well as a vastly improved product portfolio and public image. Sales are up, the product pipeline is full, and market share grew last year. You can almost imagine Ford CEO Alan Mulally saying, "What, me worry?"
Before General Motors and Chrysler entered bankruptcy, the predominant fear was customers wouldn't purchase vehicles from a bankrupt automaker. Those fears turned out to be more or less unfounded, as the market share of the fallen two didn't fluctuate all that much during court proceedings, and both companies have seen sales increases the following year. Automotive News reports that while GM's sales are up 13 percent and Chrysler up 11 percent, the majority of those increases have come courtesy
Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, known in the retail world as Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, will be buying about 40,000 fewer Chryslers than it did last year. Previously, the company was contractually bound to ensure that 75% of its fleet was composed of Chrysler vehicles. After the bankruptcy kerfuffle, the contract has been revised to compel Dollar Thrifty to purchase a new minimum number of vehicles, and the company is using the freedom to increase its model mix.
While most automakers are reporting double-digit drops in sales each month, Hyundai and Kia continue to swim against the current and maintain (or even increase) units sold. According to Automotive News, a significant part of their success is attributable to fleet sales – large numbers of cars going directly into rental and corporate fleets. During the first quarter of 2009 alone, more than 33 percent of Hyundai's first quarter sales of 95,854 units were fleet related. Rental car sales repr
Last summer, it was the Detroit Three that were restraining themselves from dumping cars into the gaping maw of fleet sales just to boost the bottom line. Turns out they had some help with that discipline: Due to last year's events, rental car fleets shrunk by 400,000 units from 2007 to 2008. As we begin 2009, rental car companies have declared they will be trimming their fleet orders and curbing the number of vehicles they keep on hand even further.
Even after posting a $3.25 billion loss, General Motors won't resort to fleet sales to ease their pain. In the automotive industry, fleet sales typically represent the lightly equipped, and heavily discounted, vehicles sold to rental companies or corporations. The numbers are significant, and fleets sales of a particular model may even exceed the volume sold at retail. Often laden with special financing incentives, the sales are less profitable for the automaker, and they hurt the used-vehicle m
Chrysler has looked deep into it soul and decided to join the General and FoMoCo in an attempt to reduce its reliance on fleet sales. Chrysler's Vice Chairman, Jim Press (that still doesn't sound right), alluded to the reduction during a conference call regarding December sales figures and said, "you have to stay out of the 30-percent range and into the 20s." Where in "the 20s" was unspecified, but with vehicle sales expect to continue their decline this year, any reduction of income could hurt
OK, this seems like a no-brainer. As GM and Ford have gradually pulled back from the low-margin fleet sales market, import fleet sales have surged. After all, somebody has to keep the rental car lots filled. It's mostly been the mainline Asian automakers that have stepped in to fill the void. Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Kia have all increased their corporate sales of cars and trucks, but they still remain bit players overall. About 11 percent of U.S. import brand sales are to fleets so far this ye
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 s
For the domestic automakers, 2007 was supposed to be the year that they weaned themselves off the fleet sales teat. For GM, they've been doing pretty well, limiting their offloads of 10 or more vehicles to one company to around 24-percent of total sales. Chrysler and Ford, on the other hand, are still relying on the practice, coming in at 36-percent and 34-percent respectively – the highest of any automakers.
Now here's a story that won't take many Europeans by surprise. Just as GM, Chrysler and Ford get knocked for selling tons of vehicles to rental fleets in the States, BMW and Audi do basically the same thing in Europe. In fact, those two German firms lead the list of automakers who rely the most on fleet sales in their home market. This according to auto motor und sport magazine, which has reported that Audi and BMW "have the fewest private customers of all brands in Germany," with just 33.5% and