Credit Suisse: GM's Purge and Binge Production

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
credit suisse gm s purge and binge production

A member of our Best and Brightest sent us some interesting auto industry stats, compiled by Senior equity research analyst at the Credit Suisse Group (CSR). Et Voilà!

• Big 3 dealer stocks declined by about 79,000 units, or 4.9%, to 1.55 million vehicles in August from 1.63 million in July. The 4.9% decline is favorable relative to the increase of about 1% normally seen this time of year.

• The larger than normal declines were a result of a combination of sharply lower production and significant incentive events. By maker, GM inventory fell 1.7% from July to August, while Chrysler and Ford shed about 7% and 8% of their dealer stocks, respectively.

• The smaller sequential decline in GM’s stocks, despite a very sharp sequential increase in the automaker’s selling rate, was the result of a relatively aggressive production schedule. GM’s production was down 25% year-to-year in August, versus a 49% cut at Ford.

• At August-end we find Big 3 dealer stocks to be about 16% above normal, with cars 12% overstocked, and trucks 18% overstocked. An increase in our truck mix assumption, to 47% from our previous 44%, contributed to a jump in our calculation of passenger car days’ supply, and to a decrease in light truck days’ supply.

• By maker, we find GM stocks to be about 17% above normal, with cars 14% overstocked, and trucks 18% overstocked.

• We find Ford to be about 12% overstocked, with cars about 9% above normal, and trucks about 13% above normal.

• We find Chrysler to be about 21% overstocked, with cars about 10% above normal, and trucks about 24% overstocked.

• We saw significant improvement in full-size pickup Trouble Spots at each of the Big 3 in August. A drop in the days’ supply was driven by an incentive driven sales surge at GM, and by deep production cuts on the Ford F-Series and Dodge Ram.

• Based on current production schedules, we see the Big 3 ending September about 26% overstocked. We see both GM and Chrysler overstocked by about 30%, while Ford should have a more modest 15% overstocked level.

• By the end of the year (under current production plans) we think GM will still be about 30% overstocked, with the overstocked position concentrated on the car side. Ford could find itself modestly understocked by year end.

• The excess car inventory at GM is being driven by an aggressive production schedule that calls for a 21% year-over-year increase in car output. By contrast, Ford is cutting car output in the second half. We think GM’s production schedule is aggressive and needs to come down.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Mel23 Mel23 on Sep 14, 2008
    the General in denial, Ford a work in progress, and Chrysler, although in better shape than generally perceived, a question mark. Excellent summary.
  • Highrpm Highrpm on Sep 15, 2008

    I was wondering when we would start using the term Dinosaurs around here to denote the big SUVs. Remember in the 70s that's what we called those huge domestic sedans.

  • Kcflyer on one hand it at least wont have dirty intake valves like Honda's entire lineup of direct injection ice vehicles. on the other hand a CRV offers more room, more range, faster fueling and lower price, hmm
  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.