Retail stock is increasing quickly; however, high-demand fleet inventory is still in short supply in the van, large SUV, and medium-duty chassis segments.  -  Photo: Automotive Fleet

Retail stock is increasing quickly; however, high-demand fleet inventory is still in short supply in the van, large SUV, and medium-duty chassis segments.

Photo: Automotive Fleet

Automotive Fleet connected with Chip Cooper, owner of Cooper Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram along with Cooper Chevrolet GMC. Cooper is a fleet focused dealer in South Carolina established in 1938.

In this Q&A, Cooper says while SUV, car and light duty retail stock is increasing overall, some commercial segments, including cargo vans and medium duty trucks will face low inventory for the foreseeable future. But there are solutions for fleets with some flexibility to specify different types of vehicles to do the job. 

AF: Any overall thoughts on vehicle supply?

Cooper: Retail consumer stock is increasing quickly; however, high-demand fleet inventory is still in short supply. The biggest examples are the van and medium-duty chassis segments.

AF: Can you get into vehicle availability issues by segment?

Cooper: From our perspective, Ram ProMaster is still low in inventory. This vehicle day supply will further decrease when the factory is closed February and March for re-tooling. This will force companies in need of vans to look for in-stock units quickly while that inventory exists. That could mean purchasing a 1500 or 3500 series van instead of the most popular 2500.

The other market that is no longer available in the market is the Ram ProMaster City and Ford Transit Connect. This commercial buyer may now have to look into full-size van to fill that need, but will once again face that limited supply. Our team at Cooper is filling that void with the Chrysler Voyager and converting it into a cargo van with a hard floor covering, partition, window covers or heavy tint, and metal screening if desired. It has been successful in filling a huge void. 

AF: How are incentives moving?

Cooper: Incentives are increasing in certain vehicle areas depending on inventory days supply. This high-day supply in SUV/Car/Light Truck retail inventory is helping fleet customers with greater incentives, especially on volume order commitments.

AF: How are residual values affected? 

Cooper: Consumer vehicle residual values are deteriorating and light duty fleet inventory is depreciating. Yet residual values such as vans and medium-duty trucks continue to rise. These vehicles are equipment that make money for the companies that lease or buy them and are a valuable asset.

AF: Any thoughts on order-to-delivery times?

Cooper: I expect to see shortened order-to-delivery time as for 2024 and 2025 models, unless manufacturers reduce production to keep retail day’s supply down.

AF: With limited inventory in certain segments, how can fleets get creative? 

Cooper: Slow demand in retail is making room for fleets in the passenger car and small SUV market. Also, being flexible with the “equipment” that make your company money — It may be an SUV versus a sedan, it may be a 3500 series van versus a 2500, and in the small van market that is no longer available it might be something like the Chrysler Voyager that has been converted to a small cargo van.

About the author
Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Associate Publisher

As associate publisher of Automotive Fleet, Auto Rental News, and Fleet Forward, Chris Brown covers all aspects of fleets, transportation, and mobility.

View Bio
0 Comments