- April fleet sales were down 24% from March.
- Combined rental, commercial and government purchases of new vehicles were down 0.9% year-over-year in April.
- Fleet sales in 2019 are expected to remain strong thanks to tax reform.
New-vehicle retail sales were down 2% in April, leading to a retail seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 13.5 million units, down from 14.1 million last April. The affordability issue is likely to impact the retail side of the market more than the fleet side which will support gains in fleet share over the course of the year.
However, combined rental, commercial and government purchases of new vehicles were down 0.9% year-over-year in April, and down 24% month-over-month. Commercial (+11%) and government (+1%) fleet channels were up year-over-year in April.
Fleet sales in 2019 are expected to remain strong thanks to tax reform. Increases in the depreciation allowance makes the economics of company vehicles more attractive. How much upside there is as a result of this change in the tax law is difficult to estimate. However, Cox Automotive expects the new policy to support robust fleet activity over the near term and estimates total fleet sales will see a marginal increase in 2019 driven by continued support from tax reform.