The Coronavirus Pandemic has taken a toll on many parts of the economy and fleet sales are feeling the hit. Corporations, rental car companies and even government agencies have not had the same demand for vehicles, and it is threatening jobs.
Cox Automotive has forecasted fleet sales for June will be down 56% to 1.3M and that is after falling 85% and 77% in the previous months. Zohaib Rahim, economic and industry insights manager at Cox is quoted as saying, “If we don’t see a rebound in 2021, this will be a problem for automakers. But right now, they’re using all their production to supply dealers.” The biggest noted hit to the auto industry will be government orders due to the pandemic’s impact on tax revenue, however Cox Automotive believe that commercial sales will rebound in 2021.
Fleet Sales accounted for nearly 22% of GM’s and 28% of Nissan’s sales in 2019, and of those sales 93% were to rental car companies. GM stated that the impact on commercial sales has been mixed, however the work-from-home policies have boosted the online sales and created a new demand for delivery vehicles.
With commercial and government contract discussions usually occurring in early spring, John Ruppert, Ford General Manager of commercial and government fleet sales said, “We’re seeing those contract talks happening now in earnest,” meaning recovery will be slow and possible contracts are said to be delayed by a quarter or two.
U.S. head of sales, Jeff Kommor went on to say that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is taking a “bullish” turn with fleet sales in the second half of 2020 thanks to commercial and government purchases. “Despite vehicles sitting idle for a few months in 2020, most commercial and government fleet operators have a schedule they adhere to maximize their residual value,” he said.
The rental market has taken the biggest hit and is expected to slowly recover and again become one of the most important customers for all the big players.