Inventory Dips, but That's Where the Good News Ends

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
inventory dips but thats where the good news ends

The cooling off of the U.S. auto market wasn’t immediately and universally addressed via a production slowdown, but as year-over-year sales losses piled up, automakers began to get in line. Downtime rose, shifts were cut, and the country’s bloated new car inventory began to thin.

August brought the trimmest number of unsold vehicles seen in the past year, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be flying off lots.

Quite the opposite, in fact. According to figures from the Automotive News Data Center, while new vehicle inventory is indeed at a yearly low (just 3,798,400 vehicles), the amount of time it takes to sell an average vehicle is on the rise.

A decrease in sales means the country’s unsold vehicle inventory now turns over, on average, every 71 days. This draws from the 73 days’ supply of light truck models (2,859,600 units) and a 64-day supply of passenger cars (938,800 units). Not since the U.S. was pulling out of the recession — November 2011, to be exact — did the country’s inventory amount to less than a million passenger cars. Expect that figure to sink further as automakers continue pushing small cars into the grave.

The most recent example of companies tailoring production to match reduced demand came at the beginning of August, when Honda cut a shift at its Marysville, Ohio assembly plant, stemming the flow of Honda Accords and Civics.

While the industry posted an estimated sales gain of 1.2 percent in July, the first increase this year, the seasonally adjusted, annualized pace of sales fell to 16.82 million. Last year’s 17.27 million U.S. auto sales represented a high water mark for the industry, one which likely won’t be repeated for some time.

[Image: Subaru]

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2 of 19 comments
  • Peter Gazis Peter Gazis on Aug 13, 2019

    Cars usually sell better in the spring and summer. Trucks usually sell better in the Fall.

  • Redgolf Redgolf on Aug 14, 2019

    highdesertcat - that's the way I'm looking at it also, 70 years old, wrenching days no longer wanted/needed! So long as I can get a reasonable monthly lease payment on a decent ride, however I'm finding that the low monthly lease offers advertised, the dealers never have them in stock, they always have the ones that sticker for a few thousand more thus pushing up the monthly payment - Grrrrrrr!

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.