Ed Peper, GM U.S. vice president of Fleet and Commercial Sales. Photo courtesy GM.

Ed Peper, GM U.S. vice president of Fleet and Commercial Sales. Photo courtesy GM.

General Motors has regained the lead in total fleet registrations with a 24.7 percent market share. This is the first time the automaker has topped fleet registrations since 2010.

The numbers, compiled by Polk, show that total 2012 commercial fleet, government, and rental segments had 687,184 registered GM vehicles; a 3.4 percent increase over 2011. GM led all automakers by 17,977 registrations, according to Polk’s data.

The Polk data makes it clear that fleet and commercial sales is a key part of the U.S. automotive market. “This is very big business — it’s a big revenue business, it’s a big sales business, and it’s a good margin business — and it’s very important to the company. And, many of things that we do impact retail, too,” Ed Peper, GM U.S. vice president of Fleet and Commercial Sales, told Automotive Fleet.

Peper noted that many fleets are a key way both the general public and drivers become aware of GM’s products. “If fleet drivers like what they’re driving every day and it’s a GM product, they’ll buy a GM product for their own vehicle,” he said.

GMC and Chevrolet van registrations were up 7 percent in 2012 and small cars were up nearly 200 percent. Commercial and government customers drove the segments’ increased sales, according to the automaker.

While Peper noted that the 200 percent increase in the small car segment likely won’t be replicated next year, it does underline the trend of fleet rightsizing. “Some of the bigger fleets bought the Cruze, a ‘big’ small car. It has great fuel economy — and it makes sense for fleet and commercial applications,” he observed.

In addition to the Cruze, Peper pointed to the Sonic, Spark, Captiva, and Buick Verano as other small cars that have proven themselves in commercial fleets.

According to Peper, fleet is a front-of-mind priority for senior leadership. “We’re getting more support than ever before,” he said.

Going forward, Peper said that the automaker is continually looking at ways to “tweak” products for commercial applications and said that GM is currently working on some new fleet-specific products.

“We’re very interested in the fleet and commercial business,” Peper said. “We’re very humble. We just want to continue to serve our customers hopefully better than anybody in the marketplace and have them keep coming back again, and again, and again. That’s what we want to do.”

-By Chris Wolski