Carmakers saw more growth in retail sales than in fleet sales in the US light-vehicle market in 2011. Top seven US carmakers posted a combined 11% growth in retail sales and a 3% hike in fleet sales. All carmakers posted a 10% increase in total US sales for 12.8 million units in 2011. In 2010, the fleet sales of the top seven major automakers outpaced retail sales in growth, largely attributed to commercial and government buyers replenishing their fleets.
Fleet sales account for 19% of total sales in 2011, a drop from 21% in 2010, mainly because manufacturers shifted sales focus to retail. For example, Hyundai-Kia focused on its retail sales in 2011, which soared 37% to 1.02 million units, while retail sales dropped 25% to 111,000 units.
Hyundai’s US best seller is the Elantra, which barged into the top five cars in US retail sales, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik told the Automotive News World Congress. Krafcik revealed that in 2012, his company will shift from "a value brand to a valuable brand" and will focus more on customer experiences in dealerships and retail sales.
Chrysler Group and General Motors also decreased its dependence on fleet sales in 2011. Chrysler's fleet sales dropped 4% to 377,700 units while its retail sales soared 43% to 991,400 vehicles.
Chrysler's fleet mix dropped to 28% in 2011 from 36% in 2010. Nissan North America, however, took a different approach, relying more on fleet sales. Retail sales increased 13% to 886,600 Nissans and Infinitis while fleet volume soared 29% to 155,900 units. Nissan’s fleet mix increased to 15%.