Late last year GM initiated a unique experiment by launching the Chevrolet Captiva Sport which is a rebadged version of its now extinct second-generation Saturn Vue compact crossover utility model intended only for commercial customers.  GM’s motives behind the move were twofold; they hoped to satisfy growing rental demand for the efficient and versatile compact CUV segment, while at the same time preserving the used value retention of the popular Equinox.

In the past, manufacturers have produced fleet only trims of within a model lineup, but never has a manufacturer spun off a model designated specifically for fleet use.  Since going on sale back in October, Chevrolet has sold almost 25k Captiva Sports, during this same time period over 159k Equinox’s were sold. 

Looking at January-May 2012 R.L. Polk registration data shows that over 14k Captiva Sports were sold to rental fleet companies, whereas 6k Equinox’s made their way into rental fleets.  Total Equinox registrations from January-April for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 model years shows that there has been a significant increase in demand.  Chevrolet totally redesigned the Equinox for the 2010 model year and from January-April of that year over 42k total units were sold, in 2011 over 61k units were sold, and finally in 2012 nearly 70k units were sold. 

In regards to days’ supply, since January this year the average month-end days’ supply rate for the Equinox has been a below average 55 days, eleven points below the light duty truck segment average of 66 days.  Days’ supply for the Captiva Sport can’t be compared because of its fleet only nature, meaning every unit produced was individually ordered.

In terms of the used vehicle market, NADA’s analysts valued each model for July’s edition of the Official Used Car Guide.  In order to examine used value retention, we will use a 2012 Captiva Sport LT FWD equipped with the 3.0 V6 and a similarly equipped 2012 Equinox LT FWD 3.0 V6.  The Captiva Sport had an original typically equipped MSRP of $26,585 and the Equinox had an original typically equipped MSRP of $26,945.  For the July edition of the Official Used Car Guide, Average Trade-In values for the 2012 Captiva Sport LT FWD and 2012 Equinox LT FWD were placed at $23,000 and $23,380, respectively (national average). 

These figures equate to retention of 87% for the Captiva Sport and also 87% for the Equinox (average trade-in value divided by equipped MSRP), which places their retained values above competitive vehicles such as the 2012 Nissan Rogue S FWD (78%) and the 2012 Ford Escape XLT FWD V6 (74%).  From a value retention standpoint, historically the stigma of being a fleet vehicle can have detrimental consequences in initial used vehicle values.  In the case of the Captiva Sport quite the opposite is occurring as its retention rate currently remains in line with the Equinox and is well above the Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape.