Most major automakers went big on fleet to get through a January marked by winter storm Jonas and an artificially short sales calendar.
The seven highest-volume automakers in the U.S. market increased January fleet sales 13 percent while their combined retail slipped 3.3 percent.
Excluding American Honda Motor Co., which has no central fleet management, five of the majors posted retail declines but fleet gains of 20 percent or more.
That fleet surge was enough to turn net sales from negative to positive at FCA US, Nissan North America and Hyundai-Kia, while moderating losses for Toyota Motor Sales and Ford Motor Co.
The exception was General Motors, which is slashing the daily rental sector of its fleet operation. GM boosted retail volume 8.9 percent, cut fleet 23 percent and eked out a net January sales increase of 0.5 percent.
Since mid-2015, GM has cut sales to daily rental fleets, saying it wants to focus on more profitable retail volume and boost the residual value of its used vehicles. Its commercial fleet sales are growing while rental fleet is shrinking, the company said in a Feb. 2 press release.
GM expects fleet to be 20 percent of its 2016 sales mix, compared with 22 percent last year and 24 percent in 2014.