Despite what many might think, Toyota is not off to the most crippling start in 2010; Chrysler is. Although their overall sales are only down 3%, over half of their total sales are to fleet customers. The fact that Chrysler Group LLC’s consumer sale shave dropped a staggering 44% shows that many consumers may have turned their back on the once prosperous American manufacturer.
To put the above figures into perspective and illustrate just how much of a slump this actually is; Toyota’s sales are down just under 14% – after accounting for the week-long cease in sales of eight of their biggest-selling models and the storm of bad-press surrounding the company.
Industry insiders warn about the dangers of having too large a dependency on fleet sales. Many of these sales are to rental companies and the like, and are based on deeply discounted prices. This practice also insures that the used-car market will be flooded with the company’s cars; all with low mileage and a low price-tag, basically destroying a prospective consumer’s expected resale value.
Officials say that the issue is being addressed and by year’s-end should account for only about 25% of total sales.
– By: Stephen Calogera