The industry had a 57-day supply overall as of Aug. 1, up only slightly from 56 days a month earlier. That was typical for this time of year, following vacation shutdowns and model changeovers.
Automakers are also keeping a tight rein on production.
North American production is below what it was a year ago for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors. DaimlerChrysler's North American production
is expected to be up slightly.
General Motors had a 66-day supply overall on Aug. 1, up from 62 a month earlier. It is trimming its third-quarter North American production estimate by about 5,000 units, to 1.23 million vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. had a 64-day supply, up from 61. Its July sales fell 12.7 percent.
Ford's domestic truck inventory was relatively heavy at 71 days, up from 66.
DaimlerChrysler had a 57-day supply overall, down slightly from 59 days a month earlier. Its estimated North American production schedule is up 1.3 percent, to about 605,000.
Most import brands had lower than average inventories, which is typical. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., which had record July sales, had only a 36-day supply on Aug. 1 compared with 34 a month earlier.
American Honda Motor Co. had a 35-day supply, down from 38.