By on September 14, 2020

Not that it should be any surprise with pricing creeping up, but U.S. vehicle inventories are some of the lowest we’ve seen in roughly a decade. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get a solid estimate on supplies as many automakers no longer have the balls to conduct monthly reports, at least not any they’re willing to share. The few that still do have been a little light on the lot, however.

Going into fall, we’d expect to see supplies around the 60-day mark with about a quarter of those vehicles representing the upcoming model year. Mainstream brands seem to be running with a lot fewer cars this month. On Monday, Automotive News estimated that September was probably representing the lightest industry-wide supply of vehicles since October of 2011. Meanwhile, Cox Automotive has the industry sitting on 56 days worth of cars — noting that national inventories shrank to 2.26 million vehicles, or about 870,000 fewer from the year before.

From AN:

Most automakers no longer report monthly sales or inventory levels. However, among those that do, Subaru reported just a 16-day supply of vehicles, while Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Honda, Mazda and Volvo all had at least a 40-day supply.

Cox Automotive estimates that luxury-brand inventories saw the sharpest declines in August, dropping to a 56-day supply from 65 days in July. Slowed model-year changeovers also are impacting supply levels, with only 2.5 percent of current inventory representing the 2021 model year, compared with 19 percent of inventory levels a year ago.

Pandemic related production cuts have played a major factor. Customers have started returning to dealerships to deplete their reserves and scoop up whatever the industry has managed to slap together since regional lockdowns have been eased. This has also delayed model year transitions by months. For example, the new Cadillac Escalade was supposed to enter production in July but may have to wait until Q4. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E and F-150 have also been delayed, along with the Acura MDX and Nissan Frontier.

[Image: GLF Media/Shutterstock]

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35 Comments on “U.S. Vehicle Inventories Exceptionally Lean Going Into Fall...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…many automakers no longer have the balls to conduct monthly reports, at least not any they’re willing to share”

    Yep, and with good reason, i.e., the hourly news cycle. Get over it.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Its a great time to sell or trade in your vehicle-but a poor time to buy one.

    Discounts on pickups are running between for $5,000.00 and $6,000.00. In normal times they were double that.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Even though auto sales have been increasing since May 2020, I got the impression that sales now are driven by “need”, not “want.”

      My best friend still continues to soldier on without that new truck he and his wife were shopping for until their search was cut short in March with the China-virus lockdown quarantine.

      I don’t believe we’ll see a return to $10K-$12K discounts on the hood any time soon.

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        HighDesertcat
        “China Virus”
        Is that like China Syndrome. Where trump’s poll numbers start falling and don’t stop until they get to China?

        P.S. Enjoy Mexico you rightwing tool.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I never worked with Bio-weapons, but the China-virus must be what it is like.

          If the US or Russia unleashed Anthrax or some other bioweapon on the planet, the reaction would be similar so we must #BOYCOTT CHINA!”

          We’re going to Israel next, you looney leftwing fool.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            …must be what it is like.

            Uh no. For a bioweapon, you make sure there’s an antidote and it’s not something that destroys you. Also, if you’re a foreign country and you have an “asset” trying to spread the agent, he’d be trying to get people to not wear a mask, tell them the weapon doesn’t exist, and get them in large gatherings to expose more people. Right?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Are you telling me that China is in cahoots with 188 nations on the planet to spread this bioweapon?

            FYI, there is currently NO antidote or vaccine, and the China virus continues to morph/mutate into different strains, currently three confirmed, with the possibility of seven possible.

            You people carrying water for the Chicoms, making excuses for their bad behavior!

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            HighDesertcat

            Going to Israel. Be sure to spend a few days at the Wailing Wall. After November’s Election, you’re going to need a good long cry.
            Also don’t be surprised when President Tweety ends up in a cage.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Wailing Wall – Been There, Done That – 2016.

            Let’s see what the Durham investigation finds to see who gets to be in a cage you silly, silly delusional ‘crats.

          • 0 avatar

            As bio weapon it is not very effective. And if you have weapon you need antidot also.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ILO, “As bio weapon it is not very effective. And if you have weapon you need antidot also.”

            Often bioweapons can be used to slow down an economy or an advance of an adversary. And you only need an antidote if the bioweapon is designed to kill.

            The Wuhan virus is derived from the Corona virus, or common cold virus.

            In history, often food was spoiled, watering holes salted, or dysentery and other diseases were spread among advancing hordes.

            We also saw this in Viet Nam with the proliferation of infected whores frequented by the US, Aussie and South Korean troops.

            Not all bioweapons are intended to cause death – just consternation, confusion and a general malaise among the population. It sidelined one of America’s Carriers in the Pacific! Pretty effective.

            I suspect this was China’s objective all along, to slow down the planet’s economies so China would emerge as the latest and the greatest leading economy on the planet.

            I think it backfired on them, especially if more people choose to #BOYCOTTCHINA.

            China actually encouraged international travel by the infected travelers from Wuhan, and then it was China who acted as sorely offended when President Trump and other nations closed the portals to all Chinese travelers.

            Pretty well thought out plan by the ChiComs, but with unintended consequences for the ChiComs.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Can we call it the Wuhan Red Death or is that off the table too?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “China’s objective all along, to slow down the planet’s economies so China would emerge as the latest and the greatest leading economy on the planet.”

            What? Let’s say I’m a food store owner and in order to make my store bigger and more successful, I’m going to make my best and largest customer sick?

            There’s no logic to that argument. China does want to make their economy the best in the world, as does the US, and they’re accomplishing that by other means like improving their technology by hook or crook. It makes no sense for them to destroy one of their best sources of income and technical knowledge.

            Furthermore, Covid-19 is known to have a “zoonotic” animal origin and not an artificial one. The genome of Covid-19 has been sequenced by scientists all over the world and lacks the signs of manipulation that is found in lab-engineered viruses.

        • 0 avatar
          2manycars

          Peter, you Communist moron. In case you have failed to notice, the current virus pandemic originated in Red China – thus “China virus”. Anyone who isn’t a simpering left-wing snowflake can see the simple logic in that.

          When Democrats win the rest of us lose. Except of course for those fools who actually want a Bolshevik revolution resulting in every aspect of their lives micro-managed by a Soviet-style central authority. The rest of us will be fighting tooth and nail even if your geriatric trojan horse manages to steal the election.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            So much hate and misinformation. Come on.

            1) The common cold is predominantly a rhinovirus, not a coronavirus. There is a great deal of difference.
            2) Do you actually believe that SARS, and other viruses that originated in/from China were also products of their government? If not why not? Corona viruses do occur and mutate naturally. Those with specialized training have been predicting such a pandemic for at least a decade. Due to overpopulation, loss of habitat, international travel and yes, climate change.
            3) Biden is an old school politician. There was zero ‘radical social change’ during his time as VP. Nor did he propose any when he was a legislator. On one hand Trump is trying to panic citizens by making false statements about ‘communism/socialism’ and on the other hand he claims that he downplayed COVID to prevent a panic. Sorry but you cannot suck and blow at the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “you cannot suck and blow at the same time.”

            I beg to differ. I can suck on a Big Gulp and fart at the same time.

          • 0 avatar

            Biden is the Trojan horse. Only mentally deficient do not understand it. And when it finally dawns on them it will be too late.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            “3) Biden is an old school politician.”

            He’s old alright. So old that the media has to help him out with a teleprompter!

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Inventory for cars is akin to inventory for many consumer goods right now – awfully low. It’s not because of demand. It’s because they can’t make them and demand has fallen dramatically.

    Welcome to the recession. Bathrooms are to your left. Hope you brought your own TP.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe priorities have changed for many would-be buyers. No sense in buying a vehicle if you have no job to go to.

      And for those who have money, it’s no use in buying another toy if you can’t travel anywhere. Recreational interstate travel is way, way down.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Recreational interstate travel is way, way down.”

        I dunno, I took a day trip up I-70 just west of Denver about a month ago, and ran into to some first-class gridlock. Back during the thick of the pandemic, the same stretch of road was almost empty.

        Then again, that stretch of highway it totally insufficient for the amount of traffic it now carries, and has been for most of the 25 years I’ve been here, so practically anything can bring things to a screeching halt – accidents, some guy changing his tire in the breakdown lane, a cop writing a speeding ticket, hills, curves (or even worse, a hill WITH a curve), a rumor of a stiff breeze 110 miles ahead…you name it.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          I had never travelled I70 until this past spring. Yes the Eisenhower tunnel is worth a look. However–

          I was truly gobsmacked by the natural beauty on the section of I70 between Grand Junction CO and Salina UT. –there is one segment of Interstate 70 that is the longest, of the whole Interstate highway system, without an exit–106 miles! For any readers here seeking a fantastic, unique roadtrip, I HEARTILY recommend I70 across southern Utah! Then, once in Utah, be sure to tour Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP. Simply Stunning!

          • 0 avatar
            bullnuke

            R Henry, agreed. I drove I-70 when it was 3-lane some 45+ years ago – the center lane was for passing on the up-hill sections. There was a sign I remember at Salina. “No services for 106 miles”, a bit foreboding to say the least. I remember seeing five or six cars abandoned by the side of the road during that trek. Beautiful buttes and desert!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I70 and I80 are both unique roadtrips.

            I70 west of Denver to I15 through the High Country is spectacular.

            I80 west of SLC is stunningly barren. Be sure to take your pics at the giant Tennis Ball Tree on the edge of the Great Salt Lake.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          We didn’t get back to the US until Aug, but from what we heard and saw, recreational travel was way down.

          Of course, a lot of Resorts are up in that area of I-70, and a lot of people were hiding out, riding out the Wuhan China virus wave.

          When we got back into the US we were told to quarantine for two weeks wherever we were staying, so we have been spending our time moving things from the desert canyon in NM to El Paso, TX, before our house in the canyon is sold.

          So far, so good.

        • 0 avatar
          CKNSLS Sierra SLT

          I just came back from two-17 day road trips in the last couple of months. I can tell you that every (full hook up) camp ground in the Inter -mountain West was either full-or just had a couple of spaces left. It’s no secret that RV sales are on a rocket right now-with no end in site, since it’s one of the few things one can do together as a family- and minimize COVID chances. So at least prior to school staring-I have seen nothing to indicate road travel is down-at least here.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I noticed that all RV hookups on the nearby military installations were all taken.

            Must be people getting away from the infected areas and hiding out.

  • avatar
    brettc

    16 days of Subaru supply makes sense. The Subaru dealership near my house keeps rearranging their very limited inventory, I guess to make it look like they actually have some new cars to choose from.

    On the other hand, the local Nissan dealership still has plenty of selection and even has overflow cars parked at the mall.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      brettc-

      Yep-I am going to go out and a limb here and say you could probably get $10,000.00 off a Titan pickup right now.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I don’t think the dealer can afford that. It would have to come out of his pocket, since Nissan’s balance sheet doesn’t allow for hefty manufacturer discounts to goose sales. That’s what got them in financial trouble in the first place.

        The dealer has floorplan expenses, so he’ll shave the price down as much as he can, but selling just above cost may still be too much for the buyer. That could be why his lot is full.

        • 0 avatar
          CKNSLS Sierra SLT

          Lorenzo-
          Tim Dahle Nissan in South Jordan, Utah has all their Titans on their website discounted nearly $10,000.00

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Lorenzo, I agree. Nissan dealers in my region are letting their stock deplete on its own.

          Nissanoflascruces has only 1 2019 XD in stock, and few sedans and crossovers.

          To get selection and better sales volume on 2020 Titans you’d have to travel to Albuquerque.

          Downside is that a lot of sales people have been laid off.

          • 0 avatar
            CKNSLS Sierra SLT

            The reason XD’s are not in plentiful supply is because nobody is buying them. However-the “half-ton” Titans are selling-as much a Nissan sells trucks.

            The dealership I referenced above has two XD’s and numerous half-ton Titans-in all trim levels.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I believe you.

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