Forbes has reported that almost one-third of the more than two million vehicles Ford sold in America last year went to fleet buyers, which could be a cause of concern for the American automaker.
While it would appear that it could only be a positive thing that Ford is heavily favored among rental and commercial fleets, it has its downsides as well. For one, fleet operators purchase their vehicles in bulk and normally hold on to them for only a year or two. As a result, huge discounts are given from the manufacturers and the market becomes flooded with used vehicles after a couple of years, reducing residual values.
But the upside is that rental fleets help increase brand and product awareness with potential consumers that normally would never look at that vehicle to begin with. At the same time, a rental car that’s been poorly taken care of could leave a negative impression about a vehicle’s brand.
Ford is likely to be concerned about its fleet sales though, especially as 45-percent of its Focus production is heading to fleet inventories while the car struggles in the retail market. The next few years will be important to Ford, as General Motors and Chrysler continue to improve with great vehicles and larger profits while Japanese automakers Nissan, Honda and Toyota begin to bounce back.