Stocks fall to nearly ideal level
Booming December sales and some production restraint helped automakers trim U.S. stocks to a nearly ideal level to start the new year.
Manufacturers and dealers had a 59 day-supply of unsold light vehicles on Jan. 1, down from 69 days a month earlier.
That is in line with both the industry's optimum 60-day supply level and the 64-day average for this time of year achieved over the past 10 years.
The industry started this month with 3.1 million units in stock, about 75,000 lower than on Dec. 1.
Almost all of the industry's unit reduction came from General Motors, which shed 71,200 units of inventory during December. That was enough for GM's days supply to drop to 76 from 106 on Dec. 1.
And GM also cut its bloated stocks of full-sized pickups that analysts had warned might harm the midyear launch of redesigned 2014 models. On Jan. 1, the days supply of the Chevrolet Silverado stood at 78, down from 138 on Dec. 1. The GMC Sierra was down to 87 from 146.
Of the eight largest-volume automakers, only Nissan North America and Volkswagen Group of America raised their days supply. Nissan was up a day to 63, while VW rose by six days to 85.
Besides GM, the biggest drops in stock were at Chrysler Group, down 17 days to a 73-day supply, and at Ford Motor Co., 10 days lower at 63.
Toyota Motor Sales, American Honda and Hyundai-Kia recorded modest reductions in stock.
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