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May Fleet Sales Pick Up Pace, Increase 29% From April

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Article Highlights

  1. May’s sales performance is something we have been seeing all year – fleet up, retail down.
  2. Combined rental, commercial, and government purchases of new vehicles were up 11% year-over-year in May, and up 29% month-over-month.
  3. Commercial (+12%) and rental (+14%) fleet channels were up year-over-year in May.

May’s sales performance is a repeat of something we saw throughout the first quarter – fleet up, retail down. A total of 311,308 fleet units were sold, up 29% from April’s 240,898 units sold.

Combined rental, commercial and government purchases of new vehicles were up 11% year-over-year in May, and up 29% month over month. Commercial (+12%) and rental (+14%) fleet channels were up year over year in May.

However, new-vehicle retail sales were down 3% in May, leading to a retail seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 13.9 million units, down from 14.2 million last May. New-vehicle inventories came in under 4 million units for the first time in four months.

Cox Automotive expects tax reform to support robust fleet activity over the near term and estimates that total fleet sales will see a marginal increase to 3.2 million units in 2019. Sales growth will be driven by continued support from the increase in depreciation allowances making the economics of company vehicles more attractive.

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