General Motors will probably report a US sales decline of more than 10 percent in May as it intensifies the strategy of shunning low-margin fleet deals with rental-car companies.

GM said it’s reducing deliveries to rental fleets this month by 20,000, the most yet this year and the equivalent of about 7 percent of last May’s 293,000 vehicle sales. This month also has two fewer selling days, which may reduce deliveries by another 7 percent to 8 percent. GM expects its retail market share to rise in May as industrywide sales probably will decline.

The largest US automaker’s May performance underscores its mission to put fewer of its vehicles in rental-car fleets and more into the hands of retail consumers, who tend to buy better-equipped cars that sell at fatter profits. The Detroit-based company is also trying to limit the availability of used cars that get dumped onto dealer lots six or 12 months after rental firms buy them. Those models can drag down prices people will pay for new ones.

‘‘We’re going to stay very disciplined,’’ Alan Batey, president of GM North America, said in an interview. ‘‘We’ve seen this movie before and in fact probably played a leading role.’’


Retail sales bring in much more profit than sales to rental-car companies, which have the lowest margins of anything GM sells because those customers negotiate a volume discount, Batey said. In the past, the company would send almost 30 percent of its production to rental-car companies to sustain market share and keep factories running close to full production. GM plans to cut rental-fleet sales by 90,000 vehicles this year in total.

With a stronger market and its retail sales growing, GM doesn’t need to rely on fleet customers as much, Batey said. The company’s share of rental-car sales is 13.6 percent through March, down from 22.5 percent during the same period last year, according to data compiled by R.L. Polk, a research firm in Southfield, Mich. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV had 22.5 percent of the first-quarter rental-fleet market, and Ford Motor Co. had 19.2 percent. Ford has said that it will sell fewer cars to rental fleets in the second half.


GM’s strategy is starting to show results. The residual value — a prediction of used-vehicle prices — for GM’s mainstream US brands, which include Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC, is 49 percent of the new price after three years, according to Automotive Lease Guide, an industry standard. That barely trails the industry average of 49.5 percent, according to ALG, a unit of automotive pricing-research firm TrueCar Inc. In 2011, those GM brands had a combined average resale value of 46 percent.

For Chevy, which is GM’s biggest brand in terms of sales, the improvement hasn’t been as dramatic, said Patrick Min, senior analyst at ALG. The average Chevrolet car has a residual value of 44 percent, the same as in 2011 and well off Toyota’s 54 percent.

Cadillac, which hasn’t been heavily exposed to rental fleets and has been raising prices, has seen sales drop 12 percent this year. Its residual value is 46 percent, the same as in 2011.