A vast number of new cars sold in the United Kingdom end up going to fleet buyers, with strict guidelines dictating what can and cannot be purchased for a company fleet. One of the main stipulations is “no coupes”. But BMW seems to have found a way around that.
According to a report from consulting firm AlixPartners, each and every car in the Zipcar or car2go car-sharing fleets means 32 lost vehicle sales. Based on a survey of 2,000 adults in 10 major cities who use car-sharing services, the report says that Americans would have bought an additional half million new or used cars and light trucks since 2006 if they did not have access to those services. That figure is expected to grow to 1.2 million by the end of the decade.
One of the most interesting things to come out of the recent Chevy Impala launch – aside from the fact that GM thinks it can sell the thing for $40,000 – is that the current, unloved Impala will live on as a fleet-only special called the “Chevrolet Impala Limited.” To that, I say: great idea.
I’ve been a proponent of fleet-only cars ever since the 1997-2003 Chevrolet Malibu was rebranded the Chevrolet Classic, a name which would’ve been appropriate when it debuted. In fact, I think there should be even more fleet-only cars – an idea that’s unpopular in the automotive industry, but highly praised between my ears. Allow me to explain.
Christmas has come early for our beloved commenters Zackman and Mikey – GM has confirmed that the current generation Chevrolet Impala will be produced until June, 2014, ostensibly for fleet duty and used car market fodder.
An Ohio judged has ruled [full ruling in PDF here] against Ford in a 2002 case alleging the automaker overcharged dealers by selling commercial trucks at unpublished prices between 1987 and 1998. According to the summary judgement, Ford’s “CPA” program violated its contract with dealers by publishing “unrealistically high” wholesale prices and using “secretive, unpublished discounts” on an uneven basis, thereby overcharging some 3,000 dealers by an average of $1,650 for each of the 474,289 medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in the applicable time period (about $1.2b of the ruling is for unpaid interest). The story is intriguing in its illustration of the differences between consumer and dealer incentives: while consumer-end incentives can be applied on a market-by-market basis, dealer invoice prices must be evenly applied across all markets according to Ford’s contract with its dealers. The story is also of major significance considering Ford’s still-shaky financial position, with automotive gross cash exceeding total debt by a mere $1.4b. Ford will appeal the ruling, but because the damages awarded are material rather than punitive, an expert tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ford’s appeal could be “interesting.” Which doesn’t sound like great news to us…
Ask an industry-watcher to name an automaker that seems to be doing things right, and chances are one of the top choices would be Ford Motor Company. And though Ford is enjoying favorable perceptions in the media, according to the company’s own internal goals, it’s actually underperforming. And in a key metric, no less: retail market share. Bloomerg reports: (Read More…)
Remember the Saturn Vue? The Theta-based crossover is known around the world as the Chevrolet Captiva (or Daewoo WinStorm… yes, really), and soon it will be known in the US as GM’s latest fleet queen. With some 86% of GM’s fleet sales last year coming from Chevy (about a 35% mix for the brand), GM is apparently trying to insulate its newer products from the fleet queen image, and as a result it’s decided to import the Captiva Sport from Mexico in order
to help satisfy growing demand for compact crossovers by fleet customers.
Keep in mind, this is not the latest Captiva to come out of GM-DAT, but rather the outgoing model that has been in production since 2006. But, according to GM’s release, this isn’t a weakness. Alan Batey, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet Sales and Service explains
It says a lot about our ability to draw on international programs and proven, quality crossovers that we were able to identify and federalize a strong new entrant such as Captiva Sport for the U.S. market. We turned to our global network for a solution to quickly meet the rising demand from local fleet customers and continue to meet strong retail demand for the Equinox.
And if this attitude seems shocking, it’s time to start getting used to it: GM is rumored to be planning this same strategy when it releases its updated Chevy Malibu next year. According to long-standing whispers, the outgoing model will continue to be produced as a fleet-oriented “Classic” model. Perhaps it’s time for GM to roll out a fleet-only brand?