A 67 percent increase in fleet sales helped Hyundai-Kia Automotive end a two-month streak of declining U.S. sales in April, making up for a 6 percent decline in retail volume.
In contrast, overall fleet sales for the seven largest automakers rose just 3 percent.
Hyundai-Kia is the only one of those companies to report a double-digit fleet increase and lower retail sales for the year. Its fleet sales are up 55 percent, while retail volume has fallen 8 percent.
In April, 17 percent of the vehicles it sold, or 18,300 units, went to fleet buyers, up from 10 percent a year earlier.
A 30 percent decline in fleet sales by Toyota Motor Sales was to blame for its subpar performance in April, when its total sales slipped 1 percent and its market share fell to the lowest level in 16 months. Toyota's retail sales were up 4 percent, to 157,100 units.
Overall retail sales by the seven largest automakers increased 11 percent in April and are up 8 percent for the year. Deliveries to fleet operators accounted for 20 percent of sales last month, down from 22 percent a year earlier.
The Detroit 3 each reported double-digit retail sales increases in April, with Ford Motor Co. up 27 percent, Chrysler up 19 percent and General Motors up 10 percent. Despite the big retail gain, Ford is still the most reliant upon fleet buyers, which accounted for 32 percent of its April sales, compared to 28 percent for GM and 25 percent for Chrysler.
Chrysler was the only Detroit automaker to reduce total fleet volume, with declines of 7 percent in April and 4 percent for the year. Fleet volume was up 9 percent each at GM and Ford year through April.
Nissan North America had the biggest retail gain last month, up 29 percent from April 2012. Its fleet sales have fallen by 16 percent this year, more than any of the six automakers that outsell it.