They Wanted Fewer Fleet Sales, and They Got It

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
they wanted fewer fleet sales and they got it

Replay the last couple of years and you’ll hear a chorus of automaker pledging their allegiance to sustainable business practices. Streamlined operations, pared-down lineups and build configurations, reduced incentives, and a newfound preference for retail sales over the volume-at-all-costs approach. No single company touted this more than Nissan, though it was hardly alone.

The coronavirus pandemic, in some cases, sped up the need to find firmer financial footing, even if incentivization became the name of the game in order to move any car or truck. One thing’s for sure: fleets, especially rental fleets, sure weren’t interested.

Data from Cox Automotive shows that, even as retail sales rebounded following the lifting of lockdown orders, fleets orders remained radically depressed.

Year over year, fleet sales in May fell 83.2 percent, Cox reports, compared to a retail drop of just 16 percent. In terms of actual units, that comes out to 52,203 vehicles sold to fleets versus 311,202 sold the same month last year.

As executive analyst Michelle Krebs noted, the slow ramp-up of production and the need to replenish starving dealerships means vastly reduced (and less profitable) fleet sales are of a lesser concern. “If there is ever a good time for bad fleet, it’s now,” Krebs remarked.

While overall fleet sales in May were a shadow of its former self, sales to rental agencies appeared on the side of a milk carton. With agencies like Hertz drowning in debt, cancelling fleet buys, and seeking bankruptcy protection, it’s no shock to learn that rental sales fell 91.3 percent, year over year, last month.

Seeing the greatest volume loss from vanished fleet sales in May were rental lot denizens Nissan and Fiat Chrysler, Cox data shows.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Fred Fred on Jun 05, 2020

    Our company had OEM sales. We didn't make a lot of money on them, but once engineered they sold in good volumes, maybe 10%-20% of total, to keep the shop going with steady work. So I don't see the real problem with fleet sales. I think this is more of a problem with management not doing their job.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jun 07, 2020

    I'll be happy to see fewer Altimas when I rent. I was looking forward to the old Impala after awhile. I had nothing but trouble with the clunky keyless Altima ignition units.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.