The Detroit 3 slashed fleet sales in July, but Nissan North America, Hyundai-Kia and Toyota Motor Sales picked up the slack with huge gains.
Domestic-brand fleet activity dropped by 15,300 units last month, down 36 percent at Chrysler Group, 9 percent at Ford Motor and 6 percent at General Motors.
But three automakers made up for all but 1,700 units of the Detroit 3 decline. Fleet sales surged 87 percent at Nissan North America, 43 percent at Hyundai-Kia Automotive and 34 percent at Toyota Motor Sales.
So overall, July fleet volume for the seven biggest automakers fell 1 percent to 143,800, while retail volume rose 16 percent to 983,000.
Industry fleet volume usually declines in the second half of the year. But July was abnormally low at just 13 percent of total sales, compared with 15 percent a year earlier. That was enough to cut the major automaker fleet mix a point, to 19 percent, from 20 percent through the first seven months.
For the most part, July exaggerated broader yearlong trends.
So far this year, Detroit automakers have trimmed their reliance on fleet sales and boosted retail. Chrysler leads this trend, increasing sales through dealers 16 percent while reducing fleet 8 percent. GM fleet activity through seven months was flat but retail was 12 percent higher. Ford was up 8 percent on fleet and 15 percent on retail.
Despite July's surge, Toyota was down 6 percent on fleet and up 10 percent on retail through the first seven months. Nissan was balanced, up 8 percent for fleet and 9 percent for retail.
Hyundai-Kia sales were flat overall through seven months, but only because a 62 percent fleet spike offset a 7 percent retail drop.