Trucks, SUVs Boost Rental Vehicle Sales

SUVs like the Ford Explorer continue to boost rental vehicle sales. Photo by Ford.
SUVs like the Ford Explorer continue to boost rental vehicle sales. Photo by Ford.

Manufacturers’ year-to-date sales of trucks and SUVs into the rental market increased 37.6% from January through August of this year compared to 2015, according to Automotive Fleet data. The combined totals year to date show sales into rental fleets have increased 6.2% year over year.

“I believe the greater percentage of truck and SUV sales into rental fleets is a consequence of better residual values for trucks and SUVs compared to cars,” says Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. Brown points out that the truck and SUV category includes crossovers, which offer better residual values and greater flexibility for the rental customer.

As measured by Black Book, sub-compact and compact car values have experienced depressed values in 2016 on abundant supplies and weak demand, driven in part by low fuel prices.

Overall, the percentage of sales into rental fleets over 2015 has been shrinking each month moving through 2016.

While the year started with double-digit monthly gains, the 6.2% increase represents the smallest year-to-date gap this year. “This is a welcome sign that the rental fleets are becoming more right-sized to demand,” Brown says.

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