Through the end of April, Chrysler had dropped fleet sales by 45,000 vehicles, a 17% decline from a year earlier, GM reduced its fleet sales by approximately 40,000 vehicles, a 14% drop and Ford posted a 9% decline in fleet sales, translating to 25,000 vehicles. Yes friends, Detroit automakers are avoiding the temptation to suckle at the teat of fleet sales, even in the face of significant sales drops. While the sales reductions will appear as another negative on an already battered sales report, fewer fleet sales — especially to daily rental fleets — should improve residual values for the "Detroit 3" in the long run. And we're all for the hometown folks taking a longer-term view of things for once — but the rental sales aren't the only part of the automakers non-retail strategy.
While daily rental fleet sales have dropped, corporate and government fleet sales remain an important part of domestic automakers' business strategy. Chrysler spokesperson Stuart Schorr had this to say:
"Commercial and government fleet is good business. Daily rental fleet is less desirable but still not bad business if managed properly. Chrysler is committed to reducing sales to daily rental fleets and lowering our overall fleet sales."
We'd have to agree — but we're just hoping that opportunities from the "good business" side doesn't accidentally conflict with the "lowering our overall fleet sales" side of the equation.
We're wondering who may be the inadvertent winner in this American Revolution in sales reduction. Although we haven't yet seen numbers, the one automaker we've started to see more and more of in rental fleets across the country seems to be Kia and Hyundai. We know that even in the American automaker holy land of Detroit — Enterprise, Hertz and Dollar all now carry kimchi-flavored offerings. Anecdotal? Sure. Example of a larger trend? Possibly. [Automotive News (Sub. Req.)]