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What happened to the fleet industry in 2020?

Fleet registrations made up 16.7% of all new light vehicle registrations in 2020 in Canada—down from 21.5% in 2019, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC).

The news may be of interest to automotive retailers following the movement in the fleet market, as it plays a crucial role for both the new and used vehicle sectors—and it accounts for one in five light vehicle purchases in the country. 

For the used vehicle sector, fleet disposal typically represents a steady supply of one to four year-old products into the market, “supplying the used car lots of dealers across the country,” said DAC.

The company analyzed the fleet data for 2020 from its colleagues at IHS Markit to see how the fleet sector performed during the first year of the pandemic. The analysis not only found that fleet registrations were down from 2019—but in terms of raw volume, a little more than 260,000 fleet vehicles were registered in 2020 compared to nearly 414,000 in 2019. 

“The prevalence of the fleet market did decrease in 2020, falling almost five percentage points in share, and that drop of 150,000 units in fleet volume will be felt in the used vehicle market in the coming years,” said Andrew King, Managing Partner of DAC.

Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles remained the top fleet-oriented brands by volume, even though volume was down in 2020 compared to 2019.

Of all the Ford light vehicles registered in Canada last year, DAC said 30.5% was destined for fleets—versus 34.9% in 2019. For GM, fleet registrations made up 23.1% of total registrations, which is down from 27.9%. And at FCA, 24.6% of vehicles were destined for fleets, compared to 32.9% in 2019.

“With the fleet market in 2021 being constrained by semiconductor related supply shortages, and with U.S. daily rentals desperately searching for vehicles, the path of the Canadian fleet market in 2021 will be fascinating to track,” said DAC.

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