Richmond Hill, Ontario – Like consumers, fleet buyers are also increasingly moving toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to a report from industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. While midsize and family vehicles held the majority of fleet sales at 39.7 per cent in 2007, they were down from 44.1 per cent in 2006, while entry-level vehicles grew from 21.7 per cent in 2006 to 25.0 per cent in 2007.

“We often forget in our industry that about 20 per cent of new vehicle sales each month are to fleets for commercial use purposes,” DesRosiers said. “And because of the commercial side of fleet, most users of these vehicles buy larger vehicles with more horsepower than ‘Mr. Consumer’, who buys one vehicle at a time at about an eight-year interval.”

DesRosiers said that in 1997, only 34.4 per cent of consumer purchases were small, entry-level vehicles, but they exceeded 50 per cent of the market for the first time in 2006 and reached 51.8 per cent in 2007. “This is driven by a record number of new products launched into this segment by the OEMs over the last few years,” DesRosiers said. “Each and every vehicle company is positioning some of their best products in this segment and this is driving sales. Add in higher gas prices and a lean consumer, and you have a formula for a mass move to small fuel-efficient vehicles.”

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