Sergio Marchionne promised to wean Chrysler off its reliance on fleet sales, shortly after taking over leadership of the company. Despite increased commercial-vehicle sales, Chrysler finished 2012 with 74% of its U.S. sales going to retail buyers, rather than fleets, an improvement over 2011, when 72% of sales were retail.
General Motors also sold 74% of its cars at retail, while Ford sold just 70% on the retail market. That makes Ford the fleet-queen leader for 2012.
Imports tend to have nearly all their sales in the retail market, though part of the difference may be having fewer truck sales. Nissan has the largest fleet share at 15% (85% retail), possibly partly due to the success of their commercial vans, but likely because of the Versa’s popularity in rental fleets (it combines a low price with a relatively large interior). Toyota was 90% retail, Honda 98%, and Hyundai-Kia 90%.
The fleet sales leader for the year in pure numbers was Ford, with 674,000 fleet sales, but GM was close behind, with 673,300. Chrysler came in at 429,000; Toyota was the next largest, with half that number.
Some fleet sales are desirable (many commercial truck sales, police cars, etc), while others are less so (near-cost sales to rental fleets). Increasing Chrysler’s retail share while reportedly increasing sales of police vehicles is likely an indication that the company has been getting more credibility among ordinary customers.