In April, 148,118 total fleet units were sold, a 19% month-over-month drop compared to 183,042 in March but a 106% increase from April 2020 which recorded 72,084 units, according to a Cox Automotive report. This brings the 2021 year-to-date total combined large rental, commercial, and government purchases of new vehicles to 662,784 units, a 16% decrease from this time in 2020 when 786,296 units were sold and a 31% decrease from the same time in 2019 when 959,253 units were sold.
Comparing fleet sales to this time last year, when stay at home orders were in full effect, government units were up 14% year over year, on a small base, while rental units were up 105% year over year in April, an improvement over the 34% year-over-year drop in 2020. New-vehicle sales into the commercial channel increased 158% year over year in April. Including an estimate for fleet deliveries into the dealer and manufacturer channel, we estimate that the remaining retail sales were up 116% year over year in April, leading to an estimated retail SAAR of 16.3 million, up from 7.5 million last April and up from April 2019’s 13.1 million rate.
April total new-vehicle sales were up 111% year over year, with the same number of selling days compared to April 2020. The April SAAR came in at 18.5 million, an increase from last year’s 8.7 million and the highest monthly SAAR since July 2005.
Looking at automakers, year-over-year changes in fleet sales more than tripled for some manufacturers in April. Toyota saw the largest growth last month with more than 20,000 sales while no manufacturers saw decreases compared to April 2020.