The “F” in Ford Stands for “Fleet” – Ford Fleet Sales Lead Industry

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When Ford and GM owners brag about sales figures to somehow “prove” their trucks are the best available, I say three things:

  1. Consumers aren’t always rational – They don’t necessarily buy the “best” car or truck on the market. There’s a lot of emotion in car purchases.
  2. Sales figures are influenced by a variety of factors – From incentives to geography to politics to a consumer’s previous experiences. You can’t study them in a vacuum.
  3. Fleet sales – Ford and GM roll massive numbers of fleet trucks into their sales figures.

I’m going to focus on #3 right now (you can read more about #1 and #2 here).

The news today is that almost one-third of Ford’s sales are to fleets, which are defined by convention as companies owning at least 15 trucks. Chrysler-Fiat? 30% GM? Just 26%.

Here are fleet sales numbers for the first quarter of 2012, courtesy of Automotive News (subs. req’d):

March 2012 Fleet Sales March 2012 % Fleet Share Change vs 2011
Ford Motor 70800 32% -6%
General Motors 59600 26% 6%
Chrysler Group 48800 30% 17%
Nissan N.A. 33900 25% 61%
Toyota Motor 26800 13% 38%
Hyundai-Kia 12900 10% 5%
Honda (estimated) 2500 2% -5%

You may be thinking that selling trucks to corporate fleet buyers like is a good thing, but here’s the rub: Corporate fleet buyers only care about one thing: cost. The cheapest product always wins the fleet sale.


Fleet buyers don’t care about:

  • features or optional equipment
  • performance
  • ride
  • handling
  • relative safety
  • style, off-road capability, etc., and depending on how the trucks are used they might not care about towing or payload either, as the smallest engine will do the work adequately

Fleet buyers usually aren’t worried about resale value either, as most corporate fleet trucks are driven until they’ve reached the end of their useful life. I’ve broken down the math in this post comparing fleet sales to retail sales, but suffice to say cheap trucks win fleet sales.

SO, next time some Ford or GM owner brags about how well their truck sells, tell them:

At least a third of the sales you’re talking about are fleet. You officially own a truck that fleet buyers like because it’s really cheap. That’s nothing to be proud of.”

Suck it, Ford and GM truck fans! đŸ˜‰

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  1. LJC says:

    Finally, someone has segregated consumer and fleet sales!

    Is it possible to break down the consumer ford and gm sales by class, that is 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ton?

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      LJC – The manufacturers don’t offer this data, but JD Power does. My problem is that JD Power’s data is expensive (you have to buy it). However, I’ve been kicking around the idea of either doing a survey or buying some data of my own.

      Let me ask you – what kind of breakdown would be most interesting to you and what would you want to learn from it? I only ask because I’m curious to see if perhaps there are other people with the same interests as me…


  2. Mickey says:

    Ditto on nothing to be proud of.

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