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
In recent years, we know very few people with kids who have opted to buy domestic minivans as the primary family hauler. More often than not, we hear the Odyssey and Sienna names put forth, followed by an assortment of SUVs, domestic and otherwise. Some people have undoubtedly abandoned a domestic brand for one of the Japanese big guns. This isn't surprising, since the Odyssey and Sienna do the job very well.