Nothing Odd About This Sky-high Inventory Buildup, GM Claims

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
nothing odd about this sky high inventory buildup gm claims

Like floodwaters pooling in a reservoir, unsold General Motors vehicles are getting close to breaching the dam. Not since November 2007 has the automaker held so many vehicles in reserve, though GM claims there’s nothing odd about the buildup.

With several updated models either imminent or on the way, it would make sense for GM to stock up in order to keep dealers and customers happy during production gaps. In this case, however, the numbers don’t seem to add up.

GM executives tell Automotive News the buildup, which is 37-percent higher than this time last year, is meant to keep a healthy supply of certain models in stock as it preps for next-generation vehicles. Several assembly plants will undergo retooling this fall, the executives claimed, with inventories falling to normal late this year.

As of May 1, GM has 934,3000 units filling its inventory — a 100-day supply of light trucks and a 97-day supply of passenger cars. The generally accepted optimum number is 73 days’ worth. AN notes GM vehicles now account for 22 percent of the entire U.S. vehicle inventory, despite the automaker’s 17.1 percent market share.

While certain models scheduled for renewal — the Chevrolet Traverse and Silverado, Buick Enclave and GMC Sierra, to name a handful — show up in increased numbers compared to April’s tally, those models don’t account for even half of the automaker’s inventory growth.

GM’s mid- and full-size SUVs are expected to undergo a refresh for 2018, not a full redesign, but the number of Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL models are up. Other models, including the Buick LaCrosse, GMC Canyon and Cadillac XTS, are also up, while others sit well above the industry average. This raises the possibility of more profit-sapping incentives to come.

GM’s chief financial officer, Chuck Stevens, claims the automaker will whittle its inventory down to a 90-day supply by the end of June, adding it’s nothing out of the ordinary. By the end of the year, he said, the company expects to boast an optimal 70-day supply.

[Image: General Motors]

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6 of 16 comments

    I bought a 1983 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz from Copart in San Jose for $125. No rebate required. 64,639 miles and runs like new. Got the good version of the 4100, of course! Also, a 1985 Oldsmobile Toronado with 68,250 miles, for $575. No dealer incentives needed here.

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    • RHD RHD on May 17, 2017

      If it runs for one weekend, you got your money's worth on the Caddy. If it grenades on you tomorrow, you could recoup your investment just by selling the tires on Craigslist.

  • Deanst Deanst on May 17, 2017

    If they need 20% off sales to keep inventories at these elevated levels, I guess 30% off is around the corner. A $20,000 Malibu hybrid might have some appeal....

    • TMA1 TMA1 on May 17, 2017

      Plus, people will think you're driving an $80K Audi or Lexus. (But only if you de-badge it).

  • Analoggrotto As we Tesla owners receive our life energy from the greatest son of the gods of all time, Elon Musk; His cherubs and His nephilim may remove whatever they wish from us for unto him we owe all for our superiority above all the rest of humanity.
  • Kcflyer Nice to see California giving NY some competition to be the worst run state in the union.
  • Wolfwagen I see my comment was deleted (BTW nice way to censor) so i will say it again:GTFO here with the pseudo "wealth distribution" BS. A crime is a crime is a crime.Its a slippery slope, what happens next, Jail a rich guy when he kills a pedestrian and let the poor guy who kills a pedestrian walk? What about if the poor guy is a crappy driver and has the record to prove it then what?Or we could go crazy and just institute the death penalty across the board for every driving infraction. That will make people better drivers or stop driving altogether which will make the greenies happy (damm it I just gave them an idea - SOB!!!)
  • Wolfwagen No. Bring back the J80 with an inline six and reduced electronics (i.e. no giant touch screen) and they will probably sell like hotcakes
  • David S. " test vehicles sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic."??? Test vehicles are programmed by humans, HUMANS sometimes make sudden stops when uncertain about how to navigate traffic, Duh!!