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Big inventories return to FCA, GM, Ford

by David Zatz on

Over at Automotive NewsLarry Vellequette has written about bloated, swollen car inventories, at levels unseen since 2009. According to his publication, FCA had 91 days worth of cars and trucks sitting around at dealerships, factory lots, and such—far above the 40-to-60 days worth that many feel is healthy.

The biggest inventories belonged to Mitsubishi, but they’re a minor player in the United States now; of the majors, Volkswagen is hurting the most, with a 93-day inventory. Most of VW’s bloating is at its namesake brand, rather than Audi or Porsche.  FCA came in at #3, followed closely by Ford (89 days) and GM (estimated at 88 days, but could be higher).

A quick look at the chart shows that nearly every vehicle has a large inventory now, though there are some odd spots and highlights. There are just 8,300 Caravans out there, 28 days worth—a reasonable number. The Pacifica is not doing quite so well, with an 84-day supply (23,600 minivans).  (All numbers are estimates.)

The traditional Chrysler brands only sell three cars—Charger, Challenger, and 300. There are around 7,600 300s (95 days’ worth, up from 61 days on April 1), but 15,300 Challengers (86 days) and 16,000 Chargers (65 days).

Looking solely at the biggest numbers of actual vehicles, the main issues for FCA seem to be the Cherokee (68,500), Grand Cherokee (61,700), Compass (36,700), and Renegade (31,400). The Renegade, by the way, doesn’t have especially strong sales; even as an import from Italy, that’s 137 days worth, more than enough to cover until the next ship arrives.

There are bigger inventories, but they’re special cases. Jeep has 83,800 Wranglers out there, but they made both old and new Wranglers at the same time, a plan that usually doesn’t work well; in this case, it might be that JLs are busy getting to buyers and JKs are waiting for better incentives. Likewise, the two-Ram strategy seems to have worked well for sales, but there’s now a 109-day supply—that’s a stunning 214,800 pickups.

Alfa Romeo is not included in these figures. Fiat is, with just 6,600 cars but slow enough sales for them to last 175 days. If you want a Spider, and if you’ve driven one you probably do, there are 2,400 of them to pick from.

The situation at Ford is a bit more mixed, but their numbers are quite high, too. There are 269,400 F-series pickups, a 96-day supply, out there. Lincolns are stacking up with a 124-day supply of Continentals and MKZs, and 83 days of their various crossovers and SUVs. At GM, there are no fewer than 205,000 Silverados, a 120-day supply, and 71,000 Sierras (100 days); at GM, there are 92 days of trucks and 70 days of cars, but that might not include factory lots.

Overall, American automakers had a 90-day supply of cars on May 1; the rest of the industry was at around 70 days, which is still higher than usual.


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