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Rare Spotlight on Fleet Sales

by David Zatz on

Chrysler has, in an unusual move, presented its full fleet mix — including a comparison with GM and Ford — as part of today’s investor presentation.

fleet channel mixWhile Chrysler (technically, Fiat Chrysler, though Maserati and Ferrari are insignificant factors) had a percentage of retail sales than Ford or GM, its fleet sales were of lower quality than the Big Two. Most Chrysler fleet sales were to rental agencies, while commercial sales were relatively small compared with Ford or GM. Ford is the king of both commercial and government sales in the United States, as shown in the supplied chart.

Overall, FCA (mostly Chrysler) sold 79% of its vehicles to retail buyers, and just 21% to fleet buyers — a far cry from its sales under Daimler, in the later years, and under Cerberus. GM sells 77% of its cars to retail buyers, and Ford sells just 72% to retail buyers.

FCA has been attempting to increase its share of the commercial vehicle market by setting up Ram as a separate brand, then filling out its range by adding two vans (ProMaster and ProMaster City) and creating the Ram Professional labelling system. Ram has also been working on improving the dealer service experience for buyers.  The effort predates FCA, with Dodge setting up some of these services (and adding Mercedes Sprinter vans) under Daimler. However, it has not been especially successful, despite an attractive pickup range across all capacities, superior cost of ownership on chassis-cabs, and attractively priced though recently-launched vans.

Fleet-Sales-Charger-2015-Web

Ford does have several advantages, including a longer history of catering to the commercial market with a full range of vehicles, a more complete range, and earlier introduction of modern vans.

One point of interest is the share of sales to the government by General Motors and Ford, which conflicts with numerous pundits’ claims of government favoritism towards GM. When comparing these numbers, one should consider that GM and Ford have a higher percentage of US fleet sales than FCA.

Overall, reducing the fleet mix for rentals and increasing the fleet mix for government and commercial vehicles would increase FCA’s margins and, therefore, its profits.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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