Spinella: Fleets Hold Key to Sales

As structured Jan.19, the vast majority of fleet and commercial sales are somewhat profitable, says Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research, in his January Retail Automotive Summary. That being the case, expect all automakers to aggressively market to non-retail customers including the growing small business community, says Spinella.

More from the January Summary:
While fleet/commercial kept the bottom from totally falling out of the new-car market in ‘08, large businesses and government purchases are going to shrink in ‘09, the report states. Based on a CNW survey of fleet and commercial vehicle buyers, the industry can expect to sell 1.3 million fewer units to these enterprises than in ‘08. The total fleet/commercial market will likely be 3.55 million units.

With downsizing and layoffs at large businesses, it will be unnecessary for these enterprises to rebuild corporate fleets to pre-2007 levels. Government agencies will buy at least half as many vehicles as in ‘08, says Spinella. As for daily rentals, with more consumers anticipating a long U.S.-based vacation, the market could begin to perk up by late Spring.

Somewhat distressing about these figures is that they offsets pent up demand which, in turn, will require automakers to beat the bushes through marketing, incentives and new products to draw folks into showrooms, according to the report.

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