An $800 per unit increase in fleet-commercial prices and an 18 percent jump in volume helped the auto industry reach nearly $7.35 billion in fleet-commercial sales in February, up from $6 billion in the year-ago period, according to CNW Market Research.
Part of the increase in per-unit prices is due to fleet and commercial buyers' interest in more expensive hybrid models, wrote CNW's Art Spinella in the firm's monthly newsletter.
"This is occurring in all channels of the fleet-commercial business. It's estimated that 11 percent of all new fleet and commercial vehicles are hybrids or biodiesel models," Spinella wrote.
Fleet Sales by Segment
However, Spinella cautions against jumping to conclusions that the fleet and commercial industry are on the rebound despite their year-over-year gains in February vehicle sales.
Small business fleet and commercial sales accounted for 3.16 percent of total vehicle sales in February, an increase of 80.3 percent from the year-ago period. Government fleet sales accounted for 4.89 percent of total volume, an increase of 7.4 percent from the year-ago period. Large business fleet sales accounted for 19.18 percent of total volume, an increase of 16.1 percent from the year-ago period.
Spinella said the only exception was medium business fleet and commercial sales, which accounted for 9.48 percent of total volume, an increase of 16.1 percent from the year-ago period.
Fleet Sales by Nameplate
General Motors and Ford reduced their fleet-commercial sales in February, while Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda all experienced increases compared to the year-ago period.
GM's share of total industry volume was 14.62 percent in February, down from 17.53 percent in the year-ago period. Ford's share was 12.38 percent, down from 13.52 percent.
Chrysler's share of total industry volume increased from 14.06 percent in February 2009 to 14.82 percent in February 2010.
Toyota had the largest increase in market share - from 13.92 percent in February 2009 to 16.27 percent in February 2010. The jump reflects a high fleet and commercial demand for the Prius and other Toyota hybrids, which eased in February due to buyers' concerns about the manufacturer's sudden-acceleration issues, Spinella wrote.
Honda also saw a notable jump in market share, but it was due to higher demand among small and micro businesses. The manufacturer's market share was 6.92 percent in February 2010, up from 4.51 percent in February 2009.
Nissan's market share was 7.51 percent in February 2010, up from 6.29 percent in the year-ago period.