There’s a reason Toyota isn’t as familiar with the term “fleet special” as other auto makers, like Ford and Dodge are. Fleet sales are seen as less profitable when compared to retail sales to individuals, and they can also hurt the vehicle’s resale value and the brand’s overall image. In an effort to avoid all of that Toyota usually shies away from fleet sales until very recently.
Toyota closed out the first month of 2012 riding a wave of increased sales here in the U.S., but those figures appear to be somewhat inflated. Exactly 24,409 Toyota vehicles found their way into various service and rental fleets across the country last month. That’s a 47 percent increase over the same month last year.
However don’t expect this trend to continue much further as Toyota’s U.S. sales boss Bob Carter says the company is simply making up for lost time. Fleet sales were slowed to a halt last year after the tsunami that ravaged Japan also disrupted production for Toyota along with other auto makers like Honda and Nissan. The latter two have been able to recover and return to prior production levels. Toyota is also not far behind with the Tacoma being the only vehicle remaining that is slow to return to previous production levels.
Toyota sold very few fleet vehicles in 2011 and Carter expects fleet vehicle sales to return to normal after this month.
Source: Detroit Free Press