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FCA fleet sales boost – explained

by Bill Cawthon on

Automotive News estimated that FCA’s retail sales have fallen nearly 9% in May, to 151,000 vehicles, down from 165,300 in May 2015. Fleet sales, which in FCA’s case are mostly rentals, exploded to 54,300, up nearly 45% from a year ago.


Automotive News estimated that fleet sales accounted for 26% of total FCA volume, up from 18% in May. An FCA spokesman explained that this is not necessarily unhealthy:

Our fleet sales are largely in line or below our cross-town rivals, both in May and 2016 year-to-date. Our fleet sales include commercial and government sales, and both of these segments were up significantly in May. Our sales to government fleets were up a strong 302%, while our commercial fleet sales improved 24% year over year in May. In addition, both segments are up year to date as well. We are focused on profitable growth, regardless of the channel.

FCA’s fleet sales, year to date, were estimated at 28% of total sales, up from to 22% last year. Fleet volume rose 36% to 268,800, the second-highest of the leading automakers. (The increasing ProMaster and ProMaster City account for around 22,000 sales year to date, up from around 12,000 in 2015, year to date.)

Hyundai and Kia, both of which reported new May records, were the most dependent on fleet volume. Combined fleet sales of the two brands zoomed up to 27% of total deliveries.

Ford’s retail sales fell 7%, and its fleets fell about 4%; Ford is the most fleet-dependent of the major automakers, and its fleet share was constant at 32% of the total.

General Motors took an unexpectedly large hit in retail volume, which dropped 13%. That, with a 32% plunge in fleet sales as GM cut back on rental sales, gave GM one of the worst May performances of any automaker.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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