According to an early estimate from Cox Automotive, sales into large fleets—excluding sales into dealer and manufacturer fleets—rose 44.6% year over year to 217,572 vehicles in June.
“The return of fleet was a key driver of the first half new auto sales increase,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. Sales to fleet channels have surged considerably despite normal production levels and hardly improved retail demand.
Large rental, commercial, and government fleet combined sales have grown by double digits annually for 12 straight quarters. Sales into rental fleets increased by 85.4%, government fleets were up by 40.9%, and commercial fleets increased by 14.6% year over year.
After accounting for fleet deliveries into dealer and manufacturer channels, the remaining retail sales were estimated to be up 16.9%. This resulted in an estimated retail seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.4 million, up from last year’s pace of 11.1 million but down from the previous month’s pace of 12.7 million. According to projections, the fleet market share increased from 16.3% in May to 17.4%, an increase of 2.1% above the share from the previous year. For comparison, fleet channels accounted for nearly 22% of all vehicle sales in 2019.
“Overall, the fleet share of industry sales increased 4.6% over the first half of last year,” says Chesbrough. “However, the appetite for these vehicles may be less voracious during the remainder of the year,” he continued.