DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may own the industry's most noteworthy sales streak with 71 straight months of U.S. gains. But General Motors has put together a respectable string of its own: 28 consecutive months of growth in commercial vehicle sales to companies.
As GM pulls back from less-profitable sales to rental agencies, the company has channeled much of those resources into the more-lucrative business of selling pickups, vans and Chevrolet Malibus and Equinoxes to contractors, landscapers and florists. The result has been a sizable gain on its biggest commercial-fleet rival, Ford Motor Co., still by far the industry's commercial-sales leader.
Commercial sales to businesses tend to be the most profitable of the three sectors that make up the fleet market, which also includes sales to rental agencies and government buyers. GM executives in recent years have committed to expanding the commercial and government segments while reducing the company's reliance on rental, which can harm resale values and brand image when done in heavy doses.