2012 retail sales outpace fleet
Big automakers increased retail sales more than fleet volume in 2012, but it was still a good year for selling vehicles to corporate, government and daily rental company buyers.
For the seven largest carmakers in the United States, sales through dealerships jumped 14 percent compared with 8 percent for fleet. Fleet's share of total sales for those seven remained at 19 percent, the second straight year under 20 percent.
Chrysler Group increased fleet sales 14 percent, but retail jumped 23 percent, enough to cut its fleet mix to 26 percent from 28 percent in 2011. Ford also cut two points off its fleet mix, to 30 percent. Ford's retail volume rose 7 percent, but it cut fleet sales, by 1 percent compared with 2011, the only major automaker to do so.
At General Motors, fleet was up 5 percent while retail sales rose 3 percent.
With 2011's disaster-related product shortages over, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. boosted retail 25 percent, but fleet soared 48 percent in 2012 because of early-year make-goods to fleet buyers. Toyota finished with a 10 percent fleet mix in 2012 despite a midyear pledge to revert to its normal 8 percent annual rate by year end.
Other automakers closely balanced fleet and retail last year. Nissan North America raised retail 10 percent and fleet 9 percent. Including a December surge, Hyundai-Kia's gains were 12 percent fleet, 11 percent retail.
You can reach Jesse Snyder at email@example.com.