By on January 21, 2010

Ford’s fleet business has traditionally been in trucks and full-sized vans, a fact that explains why you’ve never seen an E-Series van in anything other than fleet white. But with residuals on the Ford Fusion staying higher than, well, the Sebring and Malibu, Ford’s recently-refreshed midsized sedan is becoming an attractive fleet option as analysts project a pickup in corporate fleet buying this year. Ford’s Jim Farley tells Automotive News [sub]:

We’re seeing a whole new group of clients come to us saying we want to buy Fusions. We’ve never had that before, at least in the recent past, and that has really grown our commercial fleet business.

Never had this before? Really? What about Crown Vic/Towncar? What about the third- and fourth-gen Taurus? What about the V6 Mustang Convertible that every rental storefront has at least one of? Besides, what happened to reducing profit-sucking fleet dependence? Oh well, something had to replace the Pontiac G6. And if anything kills a model’s resale, it’s heavy fleet sales… if that’s what is drawing the corporate interest, it won’t last long.

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10 Comments on “Fleets Flirting With Ford’s Fusion...”


  • avatar
    Disaster

    Maybe Farley means “a whole new group of clients…other than ourselves.” The favorite trick of the U.S. auto companies, for years, was to own rental car companies and use them as a dumping ground for their poorly selling cars…boosting sales numbers and keeping the line running…all while depressing residuals. So, yes, it is refreshing to see another company wanting to buy the product, and yes, it will still hurt residuals…but probably not as much as when they were wholesale dumping them on rental fleets.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I think there’s a whole lot of perception difference between fleet buys for employee company cars, and feet buys to Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, etc.

  • avatar
    plee

    These fleet sales are not the ones that flood the market with one year old low mile rentals. Most fleets that I am aware of keep cars for at least 3 years and often pushing 100K miles. This has no affect on the residual value like rental cars do. My company buys cars that we use 5 years or 100K+ on the odometer. They for the most part do not even go back into the used car market, our franchisees buy them for book value.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      plee +1: There is a difference between rentals and fleets. Rental companies turn their vehicles over quickly while commercial fleets keep their vehicles for 3 years or more which is no more of a drag on resale values than private ownership.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I suspect the difference is that these fleet sales are happening at a whole lot closer to normal retail price, rather than the super deep discounts it took to sell Tauri and G6s to the rental car agencies.

    Lately I have been getting almost nothing but compact and mid-size Japanese cars from Hertz, I can’t imagine Toyota and Nissan are giving them anything like the discounts they used to get from GM and Ford. But the good residuals and reliability probably make the TCO lower.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Rented a Toyota Camry from Hertz last summer. It was a 2008 with about 40,000 miles on the odometer and lots of scratches. I got the impression that Hertz was willing to put more miles on their Camrys and Corollas than they used to put on Tauruses and Focuses.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    I guess that explains where a lot of those 7K+ Taurus’ went last month.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      80% of Taurus sales have been retail, 20% SHO.

      I would say that is ok, and flying to charlotte, memphis, clevland and columbus this week, I did not see a single new taurus in any of the rental lots, in fact I hardly saw any fords at all (I looked).

      Did get stuck with an impala twice (POS) and saw alot of GM’s great new CUV’s that they can’t build enough of.

      Employees turning over thier companies cars this year are being directed (allowed) only Ford cars b/c of the higher risiduals.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “80% of Taurus sales have been retail, 20% SHO.”

      Who said that? Ford? If so…I wouldn’t believe it for a second. Ford will print anything in those arrogant press releases they are constantly issuing.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Ford’s fleet business has traditionally been in trucks and full-sized vans … ”

    Ford has been selling large numbers of cars to corporate and government fleets forever.


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