Chart Of The Day: GM Full-Size Truck Inventory, 1/2010 – 8/2012

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Only one more day until we get August sales data, and September 4th will bring us the latest inventory numbers. Here at TTAC, we’re keeping an eye on GM’s full-size truck inventory, which is as high as 145 days for the GMC Sierra – well above the 100 day supply that’s considered safe for full-size trucks.

GM has long maintained that they are ramping up truck production to help keep inventories high in advance of the weeks long plant re-tooling to build the next-generation of full-size trucks. The story always truck us as odd; the claimed 21-week idle struck us as awfully long, and the wisdom of stacking ’em high would almost certainly lead to having to selling cheap, right? We’ve heard the call for incentives before, and now we’re hearing them again.

“My concern would be thatif inventory levels don’t improve, GM will need toraise the incentive level tomove the vehicles,” said Joseph Spak, an auto analyst with RBC Capital Markets LLC. A report in The Detroit News offers a less than flattering assessment.

July incentives on GM’s Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra at $4,200 and $4,800, respectively, were down substantially from the same month a year before, according to TrueCar.com. But they were higher than incentives Ford Motor Co. offered for the F-150 and what Chrysler Group LLC offered for Ram 1500, TrueCar.com says

As the chart above shows (click on it to see a full-size version), inventory levels are not only high now, but they were high at this time last year. Not quite as high as 145 days, but well above the 100 day threshold on a consistent basis that lasted from April to December, with a brief reprive in October. GM is apparently banking on strong sales in Q3 and Q4 2012 to clear up some of the excess truck inventory, with the News stating

Company executives have said they expect to sell down the stockpile of trucks throughout the second half of the year — traditionally a stronger period for truck sales — and have no plans to change production strategy.

Unfortunately for GM, the inventory data paints a different picture. This same time period in 2011 showed consistent inventory levels of 100 days or more, save for a brief downturn in October. 2010 levels were somewhat different. Sierra inventory hovered right around 100 days in August and September, then rose through the year end, while the supply of Silverados was relatively low.

The truck inventory story isn’t new – Ed examined it last year, when it was making headlines even without a plant changeover. Bertel has delved a bit deeper into “channel stuffing” and how the unsold inventory pushed onto dealers can actually count as a “sale” for financial reporting purposes.

The best we can do for now is to keep an eye on inventory and sales levels to see how it all pans out. Or tell me I’m an idiot in the comments.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Suspekt Suspekt on Aug 30, 2012

    There are 4 firms controlling the economic and social fate of this world. 1. Blackrock Institutional Trust Company N.A. 2. Statestreet Capital 3. Vanguard Group 4. FMR LLC (Fidelity) These 4 firms control the economic/social fate of the globe. They control either directly or indirectly through interlocking corporate holdings almost every major corporation in the world. This is a fact. Go to Yahoo finace, and start looking. It is all right before our eyes. Who are the individual shareholders of these 4 firms????? How has the past 4 years affected the balance sheets of the individuals behind these firms... This is the most important question of our generation.

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Aug 30, 2012

    What are they going to do when the sales stall as the new & improved models get hyped and current models look like stiffs? Very strange. Are they going to stop building in Jan.?

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
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