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Data Point

Fleet Sales Improve in December but End Year Down 36%

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Article Highlights

  1. In December, 165,713 total fleet units were sold, compared to 132,145 in November.
  2. Combined sales into large rental, commercial, and government buyers were down 25% year over year in December.
  3. Toyota continued its strong fleet performance from November with a 51% year over year increase for December.

In December, 165,713 total fleet units were sold, compared to 132,145 in November. Combined sales into large rental, commercial, and government buyers were down 25% year over year in December. 

Government units were up 3% year over year, on a small base, while rental units were down 41% year over year in December, an improvement over the 42% year-over-year drop in November. New-vehicle sales into the commercial channel declined 1% year over year in December.

We estimate that fleet sales were down 36% in 2020, while retail sales were down 10%, and the overall new vehicle market finished the year down 15%.

Including an estimate for fleet deliveries into the dealer and manufacturer channel, we estimate that the remaining retail sales were up 12% year over year in December, leading to an estimated retail SAAR of 14.2 million, up from 13.9 million last December and up from November’s 13.4 million rate.

December total new vehicle sales were up 6.4% year over year, with three more selling days compared to December 2019. The December SAAR came in at 16.3 million, a decrease from last year’s 16.8 million but up from November’s 15.6 million rate.

Looking at automakers, year-over-year changes in fleet sales ranged from an increase of 51% to a decrease of 36%. Toyota continued its strong fleet performance from November with a 51% year over year increase for December. General Motors saw the largest decrease in fleet sales in December, according to a Cox Automotive analysis.

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