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Chrysler inventories at the end of the shutdown

by David Zatz on

Chrysler’s inventory has not been in such good shape for years, with a mere 71 days of supply on July 1 – at the depressed sales rates in effect during the bankruptcy. Overall, fewer than 200,000 Chrysler vehicles were parked at dealerships and corporate lots, or in transit, on July 1.

Numerically, supplies were led by the Ram, accounting for one quarter of all inventory – but that represents 95 days’ supply, almost lean by 2008 standards. The next highest inventory level was held by the Caliber, with 12,800 units; the 2010s are on their way, with production to start in January, but Federal new-car subsidies may eliminate the 90-day Caliber supply before then.

The PT Cruiser is the most plentiful vehicle by days’ supply, with 6,700 sitting on lots; that’s enough for 151 days at the current rate. One may wonder why Chrysler has green-lighted further PT production, but two rumors may explain it: the plant has an overstock of certain parts, already bought and paid for; and one new source claims a diesel will be planted in the PT to boost gas mileage. While that investment seems likely, one never knows.

The second most plentiful vehicle in terms of days’ supply (excluding the 100 Vipers) is the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter, with just 3,500 Dodge-labelled examples representing 145 days’ supply.

Any shortages on dealers lots appear to be purely local phenomena, with no less than 33 days’ supply of any particular vehicle (the 33-day car is the Dodge Challenger, with just 1,800 on lots or in transit). Dealers have plenty of relatively fuel-efficient Patriots (10,200), Compasses (4,300), minivans (over 22,000 split between Dodge and Chrysler), and Sebring/Avengers to sell. There may be specific model shortages within those nameplates.

Chrysler will be resurrecting its factories during July and August, producing short runs of 2009 models before moving on to the 2010 model year.

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