There's Enough Buick LaCrosse Inventory in America to Last Until the 2018 July 4th Holiday

As General Motors seeks to get the company’s U.S. inventory down to the industry average of 70 days’ supply by the end of 2017, once-prominent passenger cars are inhibiting the company from achieving its vital goal.

At Cadillac, where even the company’s three utility vehicles have far more than 70 days of stock, the brand’s four car nameplates have 137 days’ supply. At Chevrolet, where the brand’s somewhat excessive light truck inventory is largely due to an intentional increase in Silverado stock, there’s a 128-day supply of passenger cars. Granted, that figure is worsened by a stop-sale on Chevrolet Sparks that limited the city car to only 1,132 U.S. sales in the last three months and by a necessary Corvette stockpile in advance of a Bowling Green shutdown.

But it’s at Buick, where new and old designs alike are suffering from dramatically lower-than-anticipated demand, that GM’s inventory reduction methodology doesn’t seem to be taking hold. According to Automotive News, Buick dealers have enough LaCrosses in stock to last until the July 4th holiday next summer.

How did Buick develop such a LaCrosse glut, and is there a silver lining to this black inventory cloud?

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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.

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GM Could Stop Building Camaros for Six Months and It Still Wouldn't Run Out

Well, that was short-lived. After somewhat positive, very incentive-fueled results for the Chevrolet Camaro in September and October, November’s numbers told a very different story.

General Motors’ underwhelming launch of the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro produced significantly fewer sales in 2016 than the old Camaro managed in its final year. Camaro sales through the first eight months of 2016 were down 15 percent, year-over-year. But GM then threw down the incentive gauntlet in September with massive discounts, intending to clear an inventory glut.

It worked. Sort of. The Chevrolet Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang in September — and again in October — but inventory levels scarcely decreased. Autumn simply isn’t the time to sell large numbers of pony cars, even if the Camaro attracted more buyers thanks to average discounts of $4,700 per car.

Regardless, that two-month Camaro win streak turned out to be a two-month blip. General Motors scaled back Camaro incentives in November 2016. Consequently, Camaro volume declined, the Camaro was once again handily outsold by the Ford Mustang, and there are now 177 days of Camaro supply across America.

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Domestic Automakers' Inventories Soar Past 100 Days' Supply

Inventories of unsold cars and light trucks have swollen to their highest levels since the recession while sales growth in the U.S. market has slowed significantly in the past five months. That combination could mean larger discounts and incentives and lower profit margins in 2014. According to Automotive News, a ll three domestic automakers started February with more than a 100-day supply of unsold vehicles. Industry-wide automakers had 88 days’ worth of vehicles at the start of February, the highest February inventories have been since 2009, when the industry was at its nadir.

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Sales Up In August, SAAR Exceeds 16 Million For First Time Since '07

AutomakerAug. 2013Aug. 2012Pct. chng.8 month
20138 month
2012Pct. chng. BMW division24,52316,83546%188,997164,63615% Mini6,0235,7185%44,32943,6322% Rolls-Royce84796%6726326%BMW Group30,63022,63235%233,998208,90012% Chrysler Division28,67828,0702%212,495216,616–2% Dodge52,85847,34812%413,258344,55620% Dodge/Ram86,44573,41318%653,985537,50222% Fiat4,1904,1501%29,58528,5664% Jeep46,23942,8398%317,921325,945–3% Ram33,58726,06529%240,727192,94625%Chrysler Group165,552148,47212%1,213,9861,108,62910% Maybach–4–100%–32–100% Mercedes-Benz26,15122,68915%203,147182,08712% Smart USA99375332%6,3126,2811%Daimler AG27,14423,44616%209,459188,40011% Ford division212,212188,60813%1,649,8211,453,53614% Lincoln8,1928,1411%53,39957,078–6%Ford Motor Co.220,404196,74912%1,703,2201,510,61413% Buick24,65018,00037%141,880122,58916% Cadillac20,25514,70438%119,58690,93332% Chevrolet187,740169,97810%1,365,5441,270,5828% GMC43,20237,83814%303,254273,36611%General Motors275,847240,52015%1,930,2641,757,47010% Acura17,05115,6469%109,182101,4078% Honda Division149,381115,67529%944,267847,84011%Honda (American)166,432131,32127%1,053,449949,24711% Hyundai division66,10161,0998%493,116479,7893% Kia52,02550,0284%378,380386,809–2%Hyundai Group118,126111,1276%871,496866,5981% Jaguar1,7231,02967%11,1348,54630% Land Rover4,9383,72733%31,97228,03814%Jaguar Land Rover6,6614,75640%43,10636,58418%Maserati32621949%1,8621,7159%Mazda28,10622,23226%198,026185,3467%Mitsubishi5,2814,24924%40,98041,316–1% Infiniti11,88411,1557%71,87977,151–7% Nissan Division108,61487,36024%782,369697,42612%Nissan120,49898,51522%854,248774,57710%Subaru41,06128,29345%281,652217,78029%Suzuki*–1,968–100%5,94617,228–66% Lexus29,79224,23723%171,238150,60414% Scion7,6987,7220%48,95949,747–2% Toyota division194,047156,56124%1,313,5251,199,16310% Toyota/Scion201,745164,28323%1,362,4841,248,9109%Toyota231,537188,52023%1,533,7221,399,51410% Audi14,00511,52722%101,34688,39215% Bentley19815627%1,5651,40511% Lamborghini*46437%3683447% Porsche3,3273,02610%28,45622,27928% VW division40,34241,011–2%282,913286,750–1%Volkswagen57,91855,7634%414,648399,1704%Volvo Cars NA5,5186,319–13%44,00546,649–6%Other**2532463%2,0241,9633%TOTAL1,501,2941,285,34717%10,636,0919,711,70010%

Riding on strong pickup truck and sedan sales, Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. both posted 12% overall sales increases from last August. It was Chrysler’s 41st straight year to year monthly increase. A number of manufacturers’ sales were constrained by tight inventory of models in high demand.

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Buick Encore Pleasantly Surprised GM, Dealers As Demand Far Higher Than Analysts' Predictions

When the Buick Encore compact crossover was introduced, some questioned if it was the right vehicle for the brand, but apparently GM underestimated initial demand for the Encore.

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Ford Tries To Increase North American Capacity, Escape & Fusion in High Demand, Short Supply

After adding 600,000 units to its North American capacity within the past two years, Ford is trying to find ways to increase output of the Escape crossover and midsize Fusion, both of which currently have about 40 days supply. The Fusion is particularly in short supply on the east and west coasts, a good sign for any domestic automaker these days. A 60 day supply of cars in inventory is generally considered normal for the U.S. auto industry. Automotive News is reporting that at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars, held in Traverse City, Michigan, Ford VP for North America manufacturing, Jim Tetreault, said, “We’re still looking at how we get more out of every plant, and that’ll be a focus for as long as the demand is as strong as it is.”

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  • Inside Looking Out Why EBFlex dominates this EV discussion? Just because he is a Ford expert?
  • Marky S. Very nice article and photos. I am a HUGE Edsel fan. I have always been fascinated with the "Charlie Brown of Cars." Allow me to make a minor correction to add here: the Pacer line was the second-from-bottom rung Edsel, not the entry-level trim. That would be the Edsel Ranger for 1958. It had the widest array of body styles. The Ranger 2-door sedan (with a "B-pillar", not a pillarless hardtop), was priced at $2,484. So, the Ranger and Pacer both used the smaller Ford body. The next two upscale Edsel's were based on the Mercury body, are were: Corsair, and, top-line Citation. Although the 1959 style is my fav. I would love a '58 Edsel Pacer 4-door hardtop sedan!
  • Lou_BC Stupid to kill the 6ft box in the crewcab. That's the most common Canyon/Colorado trim I see. That kills the utility of a small truck. The extended cab was a poor seller so that makes sense. GM should have kept the diesel. It's a decent engine that mates well with the 6 speed. Fuel economy is impressive.
  • Lou_BC High end EV's are selling well. Car companies are taking advantage of that fact. I see quite a few $100k pickups in my travels so why is that ok but $100k EV's are bad? The cynical side of me sees car companies tack on 8k premiums to EV's around the time we see governments up EV credits. Coincidence? No fooking way.
  • EBFlex "I'd add to that right now, demand is higher than supply, so basic business rules say to raise the price."Demand is very low. Supply is even lower. Saying that demand is outstripping supply without providing context is dishonest at best.