More Jeeps have found their way onto rental company’s lots this year compared to last year, which helps the brand’s sales numbers but could also tarnish its image.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Jeep’s fleet sales have risen sharply from 2014 based on sales through October. Rental sales are up 57 percent and overall fleet sales are up 11.2 percent, representing almost 80,000 vehicles.
The report also indicated that dealer inventory for six Jeep models are at 70 days, which is above the industry average of 62 days, despite this being a record year for car sales. The Wrangler is the only model below average.
Brands like Jeep often sell more fleet cars to bolster their sales numbers so they can report increases every month. Sales numbers are another form of marketing, as strong sales numbers can increase consumer interest in a brand or vehicle.
A Fiat-Chrysler spokesman told the Journal that rental sales for the Cherokee weren’t reported in 2014 but instead were reported in 2015, which is a possible reason for the sharp increase in rental sales.
Other brands have also increased their fleet sales. Cadillac, Mitsubishi and Hyundai have also increased rental sales, and many companies are using rental sales to help passenger car sales as crossovers and SUVs take more sales away from cars like the Toyota Camry.
Subaru and Honda, however, are reluctant to sell to rental fleets as it might dilute the brand’s image and affect resale value.
When automakers release their monthly sales reports, they don’t differentiate between consumer and fleet sales, which can skew the numbers for companies with higher fleet sales. According to the Journal article, rental contracts are often completed in August. The rental registration data was compiled by R.L. Polk, and they don’t publicly disclose their data.
Do you think that rental sales hurt a brand’s or a vehicle’s image? And do you think the automakers should disclose their fleet sales data each month? Start the conversation in the comments below.
Check out this TFLcar video of the Motor Mountain USA 2015 Jeep Wrangler on a search for a plane crash site: