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Jeep Sales Strong Despite Fleet Reduction, Says CEO

Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Jeep, recently told reporters at a company event that while the company had prior purposefully reduced fleet sales for the brand, total sales for the full fiscal year (FY) 2017 are projected to be on track to stay at pace or even outpace sales from FY 2016.

“[For the] full year, I think it’s going to be a close run thing; we’ll be up or flat,” Manley was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Right now we’re down, it was planned, and I think it was the right thing for the brand.”

It’s not just Jeep. Automakers across the U.S. decreased bulk fleet sales to rental, government and business buyers, focusing their efforts on the individual consumer vehicle market.

In the month of February, Manley said that Jeep retail sales to individual consumers in the U.S. were up 4 percent year on year, while fleet sales had dropped 50 percent over the same period.

Manley reportedly noted that Jeep sales were likewise rapidly increasing in China and other international markets.

“We’re a global brand … and all of the regions we’re in have their own versions of fuel-economy standards,” Manley was quoted as saying. “From our perspective, we’ll wait to see if there are any changes, but for now I’m on track until those discussions have happened.”

Fleet sale numbers were the reason behind some industry players suggesting that SUVs were on the out earlier this year. But it turns out the U.S. vehicle market in 2017 is still dominated by consumer interest in SUVs. After automakers decreased fleet sales, January numbers showed that consumers still prefer SUVs, trucks and crossover vehicles over compact cars.

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