General Motors Co. recorded a 6% decline in December sales but as depressing as that sounds, its December 2008 sales were far worse. Last month, a third of GM's sales were composed of fleet deliveries. Because GM anticipated extended holiday shutdowns at plants, it dumped about 75,000 of its 220,030 units into fleets.
In a recent conference call, Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis, said that it's too high a percentage and that he preferred that it be around 25%.
Last month, GM's fleet sales came in at about 22%. That represents a drop of about a third in December fleet deliveries. In particular, sales to rental companies, businesses and government agencies were all profitable for GM, and this had not been the case a few years ago.
Susan Docherty, GM's sales and marketing chief, estimates that GM's fleet deliveries put the company in the middle of automakers'´ December fleet percentages.
Ford Motor Co., which reported a 33% sales gain, sold 35% of its vehicles to fleets. Approximately half of Chrysler Group's sales went to fleets while Toyota Motor Sales had 10% and Hyundai-Kia 22%. [via autonews - sub. required]