By on August 15, 2011

The debate over July’s sales results is going to heat up again with this infographic showing the fleet and retail results for the major US brands. And one thing is clear: Toyota and Honda’s tumble from the top was not disguised by a huge bump in fleet sales. Though retail volume at the top two Japanese brands dropped by between 20 and 30 percent, both cut way back on fleet sales as well… which is a highly recommendable move when supply problems hit. After all, you have to squeeze every last penny out of the remaining volume until inventory levels even out. On the other hand, both Ford and GM cranked up fleet volume last month, with Ford’s fleet percentage leaping to an industry-leading 31%. That gives Ford the lowest retail percentage of all major automakers, with GM only five points ahead. Chrysler was the only other major OEM under 90% for the month, at 84%. So those who argue that domestics are taking over the industry need to dial back their expectations a bit for the moment: between the supply issues and the fleet picture, it’s too early to determine what exactly is going on in the industry. But if the domestics trim back on fleet and Toyota and Honda continue to lose volume over the month of August, then we can start talking about the kinds of seismic shifts that some are already reading in the sales numbers.

 

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58 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Retail Versus Fleet Sales In July...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Fleet sales certainly make one rethink whether an era of domestic dominance is in full swing, but aren’t the Detroit 3 merely filling fleet demand?

    If the Detroit 3 scale back on fleet sales to single digit percentages, like the imports, who will fill the fleet hole they’ll leave?

    Those rental companies and such need cars from somebody. It isn’t as if they’ll need less cars if the OEMs scale back. Or would they?

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I agree. Fleet sales are not inherently bad, they make sense if the market needs the product and pays a respectable price for them. It is only bad when the fleet sales are used to mask a nonsustainable production problem. Dumping is a poor practice as is degrades value of the brand and kills resale.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        rental fleet is pretty much always bad. commercial and govt can be quite good however.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Rental fleet sales are a double edged sword. On one hand, a sale is a sale, and profit is profit. Rental sales also help expose new customers to the product. I’ve had a number of retail sales that came about because someone had an Edge, Fusion, or Focus as a rental and liked it enough that when it came time for their next vehicle they decided to stop by my dealership. Without having had that positive experience through the rental, they may not have thought about a Ford product.

        Rental sales can also be a way to help clear excess inventory of an old bodystyle right before a changeover, or to keep a plant running at the most efficient pace during a period of time where sales are temporarily down due to an economic aberration.

        On the negative side, too many rental sales cheapens the image of a model, and having thousands of used rental vehicles dumped on the market at the same time hurts resale values. The key to rental fleet sales is being responsible with the numbers. Just because you can build an extra 10,000 cars for a rental fleet in a given month doesn’t mean that you should. When the rental mix for a certain model starts tipping in favor of rental sales instead of retail, you’re in trouble, and it’s time to reassess the model and figure out why people aren’t buying them.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The downside of large fleet sales is that it depresses the prices of those models after the magic mileage for the rental companies is reached.

        Commercial and government leases are generally for longer periods but rental car companies usually have a policy anywhere from 12K-18K before releasing them for sale to the public.

        But all that may have changed since C4C took so many used cars off the market that would otherwise have been retailed down the food chain. Right now used goes for a hefty premium over book.

        Used cars of all brands today seem to do very well and large fleet sales may very well turn out to be a moot point. At least until the used-car market stabilizes and supply and demand intersect. That may not be for quite a while yet.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        Fair enough comments from NulloModdo. So I’d then refine my comment to say that more than about 5% rental in any given model is bad.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Chrysler is doing better than I had expected. That’s a fairly impressive showing.

    GM is seeing improvement in its retail. I’ll bet that it’s the Cruze that is driving a large part of that growth.

    Ford retail is pretty flat. They seem to be following Hyundai’s previous strategy — begin by pumping up production, then use a quality orientation to convert the excess fleet production into retail.

    Hyundai’s aforementioned strategy seems to be working. It is increasing retail and reducing fleet simultaneously. For them, fleet was an interim strategy, not a mechanism for dumping cars that no retail buyers wanted.

    Despite what some posters want to believe, Toyota and Honda are still not big users of fleet. The tendency to believe such things seems to correlate strongly with a preference for domestics and a dislike of Consumer Reports. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Chrysler had its new cars at the 2011 Chryslers at Carlisle show this past July. The improvement in interiors alone is quite impressive.

      Too bad that Chrysler couldn’t have found more money to change the exterior of the 200 more thorougly (in particular, the greenhouse). Chrysler should have turned it into more of a “mini 300.” Let Dodge have the more “semi-fastback” roofline for the Avenger.

  • avatar
    86er

    …it’s too early to determine what exactly is going on in the industry.

    Also too early to separate out the fleet sales and determine which ones are going to rental counters and which are filling backed up demand for commercial customers such as the building trades.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Also too early to separate out the fleet sales and determine which ones are going to rental counters and which are filling backed up demand for commercial customers such as the building trades.

      Most of the fleet market is rental, so that doesn’t change things much. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ford had a bit of a lift due to commercial fleet sales of pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup, the commercial customers make up a significant portion of Pickup and almost all full size Van sales. Ford and GM dominate that market because smart fleet managers are concerned with total actual cost of ownership and expected up time. I’d like to see the numbers broken down to cars and trucks not everything lumped together.

      Also there is always the assumption made that the automakers don’t make much if any money on fleet sales which just isn’t true. In the case of trucks there are lots of those moved through the fleet dept that are nothing more than individual sales w/o any significant discount. Often times the retail incentives are actually higher than even the high volume fleet discounts. Case in point is the Camry, where the value of retail incentives have been around $4K for most of the year.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      subscribe to Bobit (automotive fleet). they have that data monthly

  • avatar
    ajla

    What’s the individual fleet percentage on stuff like the Cruze, Regal, Focus, and Grand Cherokee?

    I don’t think anyone is seriously expecting Detroit to stop dumping commercial-use pickups, Mustang convertibles, Calibers, Avengers, HHRs, and Impalas into fleets, but if those new models are keeping a high retail percentage, then I’d take it as a good sign.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1
      Individual models matter, especially as any resurgence is premised on for GM the Cruze and Malibu. It is unrealistic to expect the domestics to reduce fleet sales to zero. As has been mentioned trucks (which the domestics are the overwhelming supplier) will always be a significant part of the fleet equation.
      I was very pleasantly surprised by Chrysler – less than 20% fleet, quite a rapid turnaround. GM still increased in absolute number’s their retail sales, also a good sign.

  • avatar
    Mercury Mark 75

    My question is what kind of fleet sales are they making? Is this all going to rental agencies, or being sold to government and businesses? If they are mainly filling orders from non rental companies, the fleet sales are fine since these cars will not be sold back quickly lowering the residuals. I think that by making the general statement that fleet = bad we making a mistake. Rental car companies = bad, other fleet sales = good.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If they are mainly filling orders from non rental companies

      They aren’t. Most of the fleet market is rental. The only companies that see most of their fleet sales going to commercial buyers are those that don’t fleet very many cars in the first place. Any company with high fleet numbers has high rental numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        Mercury Mark 75

        I do not want to argue with you since you are most likely correct, but do we have any numbers that support this?

        Every car that I see being used by the local police, schools, and public works is domestic. Additionally, the corporate cars that my two friends that are sales reps have are both chevys. I know this is anecdotal, but this is what I have experienced. Have we ever really seen the actual breakdown of where the cars are going?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Not even, you don’t find many F or E150s when you go to the rental counter. However you find many commercial customers buying them. If you want to talk purely cars then yes rental fleets are a significant percentage but that has been falling. It isn’t uncommon to find a rental car with 40K on the clock while in the past it was rare to get one with more than 15K.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        do we have any numbers that support this?

        Historically, fleet has been dominated by rental. For example, for MY 2009, 62.1% of the total fleet market went to rental, including 75.1% of the passenger cars and 47.3% of the light trucks.

        http://www.automotive-fleet.com/Statistics/

        There isn’t nearly as much demand for commercial or government fleet as there is for rental.

      • 0 avatar
        Mercury Mark 75

        Thanks! I learned something today.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Mercury Mark 75 I think you ask a valid question.

        For example the Chevy Caprice PPV is 100% fleet (well minus the 13 units that snuck into the retail channel) and we know that LA County put in an order for five digits worth. I don’t think you’ll find anyone that will call a LS powered four-door Zeta car “trash” (think G8 GT/GXP) but they are 100% pure fleet queens. Is that a “bad” thing? (this isn’t to suggest that the PPV is goosing GM’s fleet sales numbers)

        We know that for Ford, perviously about 95% of Crown Vics were fleet, and sure plenty of them wound up in Florida Hertz lots but it was the police cruiser of choice for just about every state, county, and city in the country, along with taxi service for the same.

        We know that the Impala is about 75% to 80% fleet (last time I saw a number it was 76%) and sure, many of those end up on rental lots. But there are plenty of them used in government duty, police, taxi, etc. etc. etc.

        On the flip side, current event inventory woes aside – I’ve seen TONS of Prii taxis throughout North America and sure have sat in plenty of them too. Prii faithful are quick to point out these fleet duty vehicles as proof the batteries can last without huge expense. I know many goverment agencies use them also, and you sure car rent them to. How many of those ended up in fleet channels through the years. Is that a bad thing?

        I think it is a very complex equationn that isn’t easily answered. You almost have to look at it model by model. Clearly for the Impala, it is a bad thing. What about the Prii? The Fiat 500? How about the Hertz edition Mustangs? Volvo is a massive rental whore for Hertz – is that a bad thing?

        A number of people are reporting seeing Fiat 500′s in rental lots (I saw four available in Boston at Avis last week). Is that Fiat doing clever marketing by making them available to the 98% of Americans who don’t go to websites like this and don’t even know what a Fiat is? Or is Fiat dumping inventory due to far weaker than expected sales numbers due to weak dealership roll out and low margins? Very, very, hard question to answer.

        What I read in the midsize story that ran last week is people calling out 2011 data, and crying tsunami when the data presented was from 1995 to 2010. The debate continues but July 2011 data is out of scope to the larger question presented in the Midsize Wars Big Six entry:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/midsized-wars-the-big-six-sedans-1995-2010/

        Clearly, a decline from Toyota/Honda started far before tsusnamis, credit crisises, bankruptcies, recessions, housing collapses, or other issues. Meanwhile their primary competitors, across the board, from Korea, Japan and Detroit gained ground – and during a rather ugly period.

        We know the overall pie shrank from 17 million to 10 million in a blink, and we know that fleet sales also shrank at the same time.

        Is Detroit doing it better than before? I think that point is pretty undeniable. Do they still have a way to go. I think that point is also undeniable.

        Is Japan doing it as well as they use to? I think that is a undefendable point. Does Japan = bad 1978 malaise era crap. No, and I don’t see anyone sane saying that.

        Is Korea getting it right and shaking things up? I think that is also a very undeniable point. Are they beating Japan at their own game? Damn close.

        The cheerleading from all sides is pretty silly at the end of the day. We are all winning with great choice, improved quality, and a very narrow quality gap. We can buy cars/trucks in an era where 300 HP is nothing, and 300 HP plus 30 MPG is achievable. What awesome times to be an enthusiast!

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I don’t see anything there that shows that rentals account for 47% of fleet truck sales. The numbers I see there from 09 for class 1-2 pickups show that rentals account for less than 20% of the fleet market. Gov’t purchases more Trucks than the rental market in most cases too but overwhelmingly for Ford and GM commercial dominates their fleet truck sales. It is also important to note that the data is from 09 and there have been major changes since then, it’s a good possibility you find a bunch of those rental units sold in 09 still on the job.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t see anything there that shows that rentals account for 47% of fleet truck sales

        If you do the math, it very clearly states that 47% of light truck fleet sales went to rental.

        However, most of the fleet market for light trucks does not consist of large pickups. Light trucks include other kinds of vehicles.

        The fact remains that domestics dominate fleet, and most fleet is rental. It’s just a fact, and no one in the comments section of the TTAC is going to alter that fact.

      • 0 avatar
        Mercury Mark 75

        Since I do not have the time or inclination to actually crunch the numbers. I am going to say that the mix of “good” vs “bad” fleet is about 50:50 for the domestics. That being the case I argue that since I personally consider good fleet = retail, you can make an argument that GM was 87%, Ford was 84%, and Chrysler was 92% retail. That is not all that bad.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Ford has several vehicle lines that are nearly 100% designed for and sold to fleets, mostly commercial and government. Adding together the E-Series vans, Crown Vic, Transit Connect, and Heavy Trucks (F-650/750) all of which are near 100% non-rental fleet and you get 17,000 units this July right here.

        If you figure that about half of Rangers go to commercial fleets, a quarter of F-Series (150 – 550, though the percentage could be higher here), and about half of Town Cars, and you get another 16,000 worth of non-rental fleet sales.

        That leaves 23,000 fleet sales left to be spread around the rest of the lineup, and the Fusion is very popular as a company or government car (the local PD has a fleet of Fusions they use for what appear to be unarmed police officers that fulfill community assistance roles), the Escape, which is popular as a company car as well (Progressive, Geico, ADT, Wackenhut, etc, all use fleets of Escapes), and I’ve seen company car Tauruses and Explorers as well as government and PD Expeditions. Yes, some mix of rental cars are also sold, but just looking at the mix and what I see leave the lot, I’d say that non-rental fleet sales are the majority, for Ford at least, and from charts I’ve seen in the past that would hold true.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        the Fusion is very popular as a company or government car

        Historically, the Fusion has seen the majority of its fleet sales go to rental. During MY 2009, 53% of Fusion fleet sales went to rental.

        In the past, Ford historically sold a higher percentage of its vehicles to fleet than the industry average. It specifically sold a higher percentage of vehicles to rental fleet than the industry average. And its major nameplates such as Focus and Fusion were sold into rental fleets at rates that are higher than the industry average.

        As a percentage of sales, Ford fleet sales haven’t decreased much if at all compared to before. Meanwhile, the Mercury nameplate is gone. With fewer individual models available to generate those fleet sales, it’s easy to surmise that individual models have seen their individual fleet percentages remain the same or increase, since there are now fewer badges to carry the fleet load.

        You guys can try to spin it all you like, but the fact remains that Ford has high fleet sales. The volume nameplates are all affected. The question is whether that is a sign that they sell cars that miss the market or whether there is some other game plan, such as what Hyundai did (effectively, it seems) to use fleet as an interim strategy.

  • avatar
    threeer

    86er…true, but GM and Ford sold 25% of their volume last month fleet (regardless of what “fleet.”). I guess we’ll really need to wait and see what the overall picture for the year is before we pass comment on the state of the auto industry…while a sale is a sale, I’d think that a company would much prefer retail sales to fleet sales when it comes to profit. And does that Chrysler number reflect Fiat? I would swear that I saw a 500 with rental sticker on the window cruising Crystal City last week!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      There were FOUR Fiat 500′s avaialble for rent at the Avis location at the Back Bay Amtrak/Rail Station in Boston when I was there last week.

      I’m reserving judgement on if that is a good or bad thing. Providing rentals as a marketing tool can prove powerful; on the other hand 500 volume is no where near where Fiat had hoped.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @APaGttH: Rentals as a marketing tool is a great idea.

        Many people on this board bash the domestics for doing so, but using fleets to market to people and to flesh out problems with production models is just common sense.

        If I were in the market for a new car right now, I would want to rent the model of the car I was interested in for a few days. To get an idea of what the car is like in my daily life, not just a 20 minute demo ride around the mall. Several years ago, I did just that, I rented a car out of curiosity and later bought the same model.

        The other thing to remember is that this isn’t 2008 any longer. The domestics have throttled back production and the rental companies are no longer arms of the domestic’s distribution channel. Like others on here have noted, you see more rentals with higher miles on them than in the past.

        EDIT: I forgot… All hail Hypnotoad!

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        @geozinger

        Yeah, but that only works if the rental provides a good impression of the car. Domestic automakers are notorious for providing special rental-spec vehicles that are absolutely terrible. Remember the Chevy Classic? Or the Charger/300 with the 2.7L V6 that could barely move the car? Those are the opposite of marketing.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @aristurtle: Certainly when you go to Rentalworld and don’t specify other than mid sized you can end up with a lot of dreck. I’ve certainly been on the receiving end of those deals where you reserve a mid size and have been told there are none available and they give you a PT Cruiser. Or a Kia Rio.

        Of course there have been other instances where I’ve gotten an upgrade rental and been impressed with it. A Buick LeSabre I got on an upgrade several years back, was loaded to the gills and was fresh in the inventory. It provided a great ride for me and my family.

        However, for a unique car like the Fiat 500, if rentals are offered in an novel area or way, it can be effective.

        Imagine a deal on one of the travel websites where you get a room at the beach and added to it is a three day rental of a Fiat 500 Cabrio. Perfect setting for a cabriolet and will probably generate lots of positive vibes. Same idea, but with a rental mid size instead Probably not so great. The customer may already own the same mid size and not be impressed with it in this scenario.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        My point is that when an automaker sells cheap garbage to rental companies it will backfire on the automaker. Even if the rental-spec Charger is never sold to the public, and the retail version is better in every way, somebody who got that rental-spec vehicle will leave with a bad impression of the model and the brand, making them less likely to consider the retail version.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @aristurtle: Yes, I follow what you’re saying. I created a scenario where renting could be positive for potential clients, though.

        The only good that could come out renting a million 2.7L Chargers is to decide to never build them again! :^)

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        You know, I’ve been thinking: when a rental company wants to buy the cheapest available midsize car in quantity 100K, what the auto company should do is just remove their badges entirely. No “Chevy Classic”, just rent it out shaved. Or badge it “Hertz” or whatever. Then the only things that (e.g.) Chevy would openly have on the rental lot would be stuff like rental Camaro convertibles that people actually enjoy. You’d get the best of both worlds: cheap cars for money in bulk sales and advertising for the brand.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Rentals as a marketing tool…

        I recently had the experience where I had a Fusion rental one day and a Mazda6 the next day. You would think that the driving experience would have been close, right?

        It wasn’t close at all. Were I to choose between the two I’d take the Mazda6 any day over that Fusion, and over a Camry. But I would choose any Sonata over all of them. And I’ve had them all as rentals at one time or another.

        Rentals do not make good marketing tools. The best way to do your own testing is to arrange for a test drive at a dealership.

        Most rentals, even the newest ones, are pretty dogged out because they are abused and neglected, run into curbs, and worse. I had a bad shimmy in the Fusion at all speeds and it wasn’t the tires. My guess would be a loose front end. I’d be very careful about basing my driving experience on a rental car.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I too like to rent a car I’m considering buying for a week or so. You can tell a lot more living with it for a time and using it in the “real world” than you can on a 10-15 minute test drive. Sure with today’s rental cars that often have 30K or more on the clock you may find an abused example or 2. On the other hand since it is sort of an accelerated wear test so you can see how the bits and pieces stand up to the abuse.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    After leaving American cars in the late 70s for the Japanese, I would use rentals to judge whether or not any of the big 3 had improved.

    Those fleet sales guaranteed that I’d stay with Japan. Such junk.

    I know all have improved, but it’s gonna take a long time for me to forget the trash that was produced for the past 40 years or so.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya, that 1970 GTO sure was a piece of trash.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Sounds just like my dad. The X-car finally put him off Detroit in the early ’80s, and three decades of rental Grand Ams, Cobalts and Impalas have kept Japanese cars in his garage ever since.

      And just because the Big Three’s had some decent cars in the last few years isn’t a good enough reason to go back for a lot of consumers. Once bitten, twice shy. If a TV or refrigerator is a dud, I don’t buy from that manufacturer again…so why on earth would I buy another car from a company that’s already burned me?

  • avatar
    morbo

    Huh. Ford barely budged the absolute number of fleet sales, but their percentage went up. Maybe an unexpected effect of holding the line on pricing / upcontrenting their cars cauding fewer but more profitable retail slaes?

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      should say retail, edit unavailable

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Most of the Fords I’ve rented (Taurus/Fusion) have been well equipped. My last rental was a two year old 44K mile on the clock beat to death version from Dollar out of Denver and it was stripped. I can’t say I was in love. Also, whomever at Ford decided that the climate controls should be all the way at the bottom of the center stack, forcing you to take your eyes not only off the road, but just about staring down at the floorboards to adjust them should be shot. But, that stripper version seems to be the exception, not the rule.

      I’ve done a ton of business travel through my entire career. There are still stripper models out in the rental fleets, but it seems to me that most car makers are pushing more upscale trim across the board; it is certainly a lot better than it was 10 to 15 years ago when you felt lucky to get power windows.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The automakers often times have some complex deals set up with the rental agencies. Ford for example dictates the model mix, requiring a minimum percentage to be fully loaded and even dictates the color mix if the buyer want’s to qualify for the discounts and repurchase agreements. So IF they want the good terms they can’t fill their lots with all white stripped versions anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        The last rental Fusion I drove (from Budget) surprised me in that it was a fully tricked out AWD SEL version. I’d agree about how annoying placed the climate controls are on the stack, and I still can’t get used to these drive by wire accelerators, but other than that it was a really comfortable car with plenty of room and power to lug 4 people over nearly 800 miles of mountain driving. Having previously hired mid spec Camry from the same place, the Fusion looked nicer, drove nicer and was far more pleasant to spend time in.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    @Mr. Ed: What are the fleet numbers for Volkswagen? I rent a lot from National and I’ve been seeing many (new design) Jettas, Tiguans, and even a few CCs! I got to drive the CC for ~100 miles – Not impressed considering its price.

  • avatar
    Brantta

    What’s wrong with Chrysler fleet sales?

    Fleet sales
    ………….Sept 06-Feb 07…..July 2011
    GM…………….391,502……….56,400
    Ford…………..406,800……….56,100
    Chrysler……..359,694……….18,300

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/chrysler-fleet-sales-2006-2010/
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/04/the-big-25s-fleet-sales-fiasco/

  • avatar
    Marko

    Does this include trucks? Maybe Ford is just selling a lot of F-Series to commercial fleets – just a thought.

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      I work in the rental industry and I believe there is a higher amount of pickups in the rental fleets as of recent which could relate to the excess supply available. Also people forget that truck sales also include the Chevy/GMC and Ford cutaway’s that fill the truck rental lots such as Penske, Budget and U-haul.

  • avatar
    jj99

    Once before I mentioned the surprising number of 2012 Focus rentals on the Mass pike. Rentals are easy to spot because of the rental stickers. Plus, quite a few new 2012 Focus with government plates are on a government lot in South Boston. It seems like a smart strategy in that it gives the illusion that the Focus is hot. Many don’t know how to spot the rentals. Also makes me wonder why Ford unloads these into fleets. Possible that Ford does this to keep the inventory down and the prices up to the retail crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      Let’s face it: You think every new American brand car on the street is a rental or a government fleet purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      No illusion that the Focus beats the Civic. Is it at all possible that maybe people(other than yourelf)can see GM and Ford are now building competitive cars?

      j99 or is it jimmy today?
      You are no different than those in the past that refused to see the crap Detriot was building while they dismissed all imports as junk.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Well this would explain why at least half of the new Focuses I’ve seen have rental barcodes in the back window…

  • avatar
    mike978

    I think a key point has been overlooked in this increasing sterile debate (fleets good/not good, domestics fleet too much/just right etc). What matters is the profit and margin each company makes. GM and Ford are both profitable and looking at the GM briefing presentation last week GM has reasonable margins (similar to VW, less than BMW, ahead of Toyota). So on one level it does matter if GM sells 100% to fleets or 0%, what matters is the profit, which allows future cars to be developed.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Plus, I think many of us fail to see that Ford’s, and GM’s, product mix is vastly different than that of the Japanese competition. We can quibble over semantics all day but the Detroit automakers are still the “domestics”, and produce many products that are only for the NADM, just as Toyota, Mitsu, Nissan et al. produce unique vehicles for the JDM.

      As Nullo mentioned above, Ford, for example, has products like the Econoline that have basically no Japanese or European competition. But they’re not what families are buying off the showroom floor on Saturday afternoon, either. They’re bound to be for fleets. That’s not spin, that’s simple reality.

      And as you point out, as long as Ford, GM and Chrysler aren’t giving away their product anymore, fleets don’t have to necessarily be a byword for “bad sales”.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I think many of us fail to see that Ford’s, and GM’s, product mix is vastly different than that of the Japanese competition.

    The issue isn’t product mix, it’s fleet percentages. And the domestics have higher fleet percentages than does Toyota and substantially higher percentages that does Honda, as the latter avoids the fleet market. (Nissan is another story.)

    Ford, for example, has products like the Econoline that have basically no Japanese or European competition

    Even when you adjust for those, the results are similar. For example, during MY 2009, Ford had fleet sales of 30.1%. Remove the Crown Vic/ Grand Marquis, Econoline, Town Car, and F-150 from that list, and you still end up with fleet sales of about 25%, with 60% of those fleet sales going to rental.

    The domestics have fleet sales that exceed the industry average, and the majority of fleet sales go to rental. These are just facts. I know that some of you want to believe otherwise, trying to use anecdotes and such in order to deny it, but the facts have been what they are.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I accept the facts, they are clear. I don`t care (not meant nastily) – as long as those companies make money that is the key thing. I am very impressed by Chrysler eduction from somewhere around 40% to under 20% fleet.


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  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India