Toyota fleet sales jumped 52 percent in November after declining for months, a signal that U.S. dealer inventories at the Japanese auto group are largely restored.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. had diverted fleet volume to dealerships since late spring while it struggled to restock dealer lots after the March earthquake in Japan that slammed its global production network.
The rise to 10,500 fleet sales, up 3,600 from last November, brought fleet to 8 percent of Toyota's sales mix for November, close to its traditional 9 to 10 percent level.
November fleet volume also rose for other groups, including two others that had cut back so far this year. Chrysler Group increased fleet transactions 26 percent to 23,600 units in November. Through 11 months, Chrysler's fleet sales are down 5 percent, while retail is up 43 percent. Hyundai-Kia Automotive increased fleet sales 9 percent last month, although fleet is down 25 percent so far this year.
Nissan North America's fleet sales rose 38 percent to 15,700 units in November, but that is in line with a 30 percent increase through 11 months. Its retail volume is 14 percent higher for the year to date.
By contrast, November fleet units fell 14 percent at General Motors and were 2 percent lower at Ford Motor Co.
For the year to date, GM's fleet total is up 3 percent while its retail sales have risen 19 percent. For the same period, both fleet and retail are 11 percent higher at Ford.
For the major players in November, retail sales continued to dominate growth, rising 16 percent to 700,300 units. Fleet volume rose 5 percent to 147,600. So far this year, the seven largest automakers have sold 12 percent more light vehicles through their dealers, while fleet sales are up 2 percent.