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Chrysler leaning less on fleets

by David Zatz on

For years, mainly while Cerberus and Daimler were in charge, Chrysler was slammed by critics for having too many of its sales going to fleets rather than actual retail customers. Cut-rate fleet deals, many said, were covering up losses in retail sales.

For May 2013, according to Automotive News, 22% of Chrysler’s sales were to fleets; that’s down from 26% in May 2012, which in itself was a decline from the year before. Now, instead of being the industry’s “fleet queen,” Chrysler sells a larger proportion of cars at retail than GM or Ford, and by a good margin. Ford is relying on fleets for a full third of its sales, while GM has 26% of sales going to fleets.

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Nissan and Hyundai-Kia both sell about the same number of cars to fleets, with similar percentages: 17% and 16% of their sales are to non-retail customers such as corporations and rental agencies. Toyota has a 9% fleet share and Honda, just 2%.

Chrysler remains the fifth largest American seller of cars at retail, but the third largest in fleet; Toyota is the largest retailer of cars in the country, but its lead is just 1,200 cars above General Motors. Chrysler was edged out by Honda in retail, by 6,200 cars, but had an 18% gain in retail car sales in May; if the trend continues, Chrysler may eventually regain fourth place in retail sales.


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