Taking Stock: Cars Rule and Trucks Drool in July's Inventory

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
taking stock cars rule and trucks drool in july s inventory

The inventory levels and average sales per franchise (SPF) numbers as of August first are out and almost everyone looks good on the car side of the inventory sheet. Trucks are a whole ‘nother matter, though. Dealers are doing whatever they have to– including half price sales– to move body-on-frame trucks but inventory is still piling up. Just how bad is it? Well, let's take a look…

Chrysler has fewer vehicles sitting around than at the same time last year, but sales are so bad that "abysmal" would be an optimistic appraisal. In July, Chrysler sold only seven vehicles per franchise (SPF). Jeep was marginally better with eight SPF, while Dodge sold 20 vehicles per franchise. High inventory numbers reflect those low sales. Jeep dealers have to contend with a 168-day supply of Liberty, a 156-day stock of Wrangler and 118 days' worth of both Compass and Grand Cherokee.

Dodge is even worse. While their passenger car inventories are at manageable levels, they have enough Rams for 111 days, enough Journeys for 132 days, enough Nitros for 224 days and– get this– enough Durangos to last 354 days. Chrysler franchisees don't have a lot of room on their lots, either. The 300 inventory represents 116 days of sales, and they have enough Town & Countrys and Aspens to last 111 and 158 days respectively.

Ford dealers are faring better, moving 37 units each. Lincoln and Mercury peddlers didn't fare so well, selling six and four vehicles each respectively. FoMoCo inventories looked pretty good on the car side, with only the MKZ and Milan into three digits (102 days for both). Ford's car-based CUVs are doing well– except for the Flex's 134-day supply. Dealer stock of body-on-frame trucks– F-Series (107 days), Explorer (111 days) and Expedition (125 days)– are piling up. The stalwart Ranger is looking good, with a mere 68 day supply.

Saturn leads the GM dealer hit parade with 41 average sales per franchise, followed not too closely by Chevy dealers with 34 sales each. After that, GM's SPF stats drop it like its hot. GMC franchisees managed to sell just 12 trucks each. Hummer dealers somehow got 11 units each out the door. Pontiac dealers averaged 10 vehicles. Cadillac and Saab dealers tallied nine sales each, while Buickmongers only eked-out three sales apiece in July.

With a few exceptions like the LaCrosse (121 days), Lucerne (125 days), and Corvette (145 days), GM's passenger car inventory looks pretty good. But, like everyone else, traditional trucks are available in abundance. The three Escalade models average 152 days. Every Chevy truck with exception of Tahoe is in the triple-digit club, with Avalanche leading the parade at 156 days. The Tahoe barely escaped membership with a 98-day supply on the lots. All of the GMC SUVs and pickups are well over the hundred-day mark.

The Big 2.8 aren't the only ones sitting on oodles of trucks. Honda dealers have a 111-day supply of Pilots and a 127-day supply of Ridgelines to unload. Acura dealers have a similar excess of MDX (120 days) and RDX (113 days). On the positive side, Honda dealers managed to sell 81 cars and 42 trucks per franchise, while Acura dealers moved 30 cars and 18 trucks each.

For some reason, Toyota won't break their inventory down by model. All we know is that Toyota/Scion dealers started the month with a 29-day supply of cars and a 99-day supply of trucks, while Lexus dealerships had 42 days' worth of cars and enough trucks for 60 days. Toyota placed first in sales per franchise, moving 94 cars and 49 trucks each in July. Even with the economic downturn, Lexus dealers averaged 60 cars and 40 trucks each.

Nissan follows the same inventory trend as the rest of the industry. The only Nissan cars exceeding the ideal 60-day inventory level are the Maxima (62 days) and 350Z (182 days). The inventory report also shows 600 GT-R's in the U.S…. somewhere. Trucks look surprisingly good, too, except for Murano (134 days), Armada (143 days) and Titan (down from 489 to 144– does anyone else smell massive fleet sales?). Nissan's 47 cars and 34 trucks SPF placed it fourth overall, behind Toyota, Honda and Lexus.

Other manufactures show similar numbers. Mazda has a 46-day supply of cars and a 108-day supply of trucks. Mitsubishi follows suit, with 65/125-day averages. Hyundai and Kia dealers are sitting on a 42-day supply of cars and a 61-day supply of trucks. Hyundai dealers sold an average of 52 vehicles each, while Kia dealers pushed 43 units out the door in July. Mazda moved 33 vehicles per franchise while Mitsubishi dealers managed 19 sales each.

You can expect these inventory numbers to fluctuate quite a bit over the next few months, as manufacturers continue to adjust production mixes to cut back on trucks and increase cars. Sales per dealership seem to remain fairly constant, moving maybe one or two places in either direction from month to month. As always, we'll keep an eye on them and let you know what happens.

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2 of 36 comments
  • 07Frontier 07Frontier on Aug 13, 2008

    A local Nissan dealer is offering a free new Altima with the purchase of every new Titan or Armada. I'm sure there are caveats, as only so much can be said during a 30 second radio spot. But it beats the local Dodge dealer's offer of Rams at 50% off.

  • Rottenbob Rottenbob on Aug 13, 2008

    I'd like to know the inventory figures for Chryco's "compacts" (and I use the term loosely): Caliber, Compass, and Patriot. Surely they're selling enough of these to ease the pain on the truck side of the business.

  • Olddavid I cannot shake the image of the Mazda entry level car also named GLC. In their advertising, they called it "a Great Little Car". In the early '80's Mazda always punched above their weight.
  • Olddavid In the early 1970's these got the name "back-a-book-a" for their plummeting value on the used car market.
  • Lou_BC Floor pan replaced? Are these BOF? The engine being a 2 barrel drops value as a collectible. Nope. Hard pass.
  • Kcflyer It will be good to see sleepy and Trump back together again. Not since one won the election and the other was made president has such a woeful collection of humanity gotten so much attention,
  • Bullnuke With his choosing sides in the current labor negotiations, the President should cut through all the red tape of the process and, using his executive powers, cause his Secretary of the Department of Labor to order the Big 2.5 to accept whatever is asked by his choice - the UAW. This would save the strike fund money and allow the automakers to restart the assembly lines quickly.