Car, truck, and SUV sales from nine automakers into large rental, commercial, and government fleets increased in September compared to the previous year, according to Bobit fleet sales data.
For monthly sales, data shows a 26% rise in total vehicle sales at 154,400 units compared to the prior year. Commercial fleets experienced a 6.6% increase in total units sold (compared with the smaller 1.2% increase last month), rental fleets saw a 52.8% increase, and government fleets saw a 37.7% increase in sales.
Yearly Fleet Sales by Segment
Calendar year-to-date commercial car sales were up 13.5% year-over-year at 46,319 units, with commercial truck and SUV sales increasing by 12.9% compared to 2022, hitting 648,923 units in 2023 so far.
For rental fleets, car sales were up for the calendar year 23%, while truck and van sales to rental fleets increased by 109.9% to 543,623 units.
Government fleets saw a huge increase in calendar year-to-date car sales at 119.2%, hitting 16,922 units so far in 2023, with truck and SUV sales increasing 39.4%.
Fleet market share was estimated to be 13.8%, a gain of 0.6% over last year’s share, but down 1.8% from August’s 15.6% market share, according to Cox Automotive.
Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough said, “The success of the new-vehicle market this year and the increase in our full-year forecast is mainly due to the return of fleet sales.
“Pent-up rental and commercial demand, rather than consumer demand, is \key to the new-vehicle market’s success,” he added. “In the early stages of the post-COVID market, manufacturers prioritized keeping products available for dealerships, leading to fewer new vehicles sold for rental and commercial purposes. However, as vehicle production began to recover last year, fleet sales have continued to rise.”