Sales to large U.S. fleets continued to surge in February as inventories improve, and they likely boosted overall deliveries past the forecasted seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to Cox Automotive data.
The large-fleet sales, which exclude those to dealer and manufacturer fleets, jumped 48% year-over-year to nearly 184,000 units, Cox estimated.
Cox said combined sales to large rental, commercial and government fleets have seen eight straight months of double-digit year-over-year gains.
“As inventory levels increase, some automakers are choosing to sell more units into the fleet channel to keep retail supply limited,” said senior Cox economist Charlie Chesbrough.
February sales to rental fleets were up 77%, to government fleets up 42%, and to commercial fleets up 23%.
Fleet sales represented a 17.7% market share, up 3.5% year-over-year and 1.2% month-over-month.
Year-to-date fleet sales are up 52% year-over-year. By this time last year, fleet sales were down 30%.
Cox said all the big carmakers posted year-over-year fleet sales increases, the biggest gains – of more than 50% – coming at Stellantis and Ford.
It forecasts that annual fleet sales will reach 2.2 million units.
The month’s overall U.S. auto sales pace was an estimated 14.9 million units, surpassing Cox’s 14.4 million SAAR forecast.
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