High supplies of light trucks, especially sport-utilities, suggest that automakers finally are catching up with demand.
The days-supply of light trucks has been consistently higher than cars this year. As of May 1, light trucks were at 72 days, unchanged from April 1, compared with 61 days for cars.
The industry's total stock dipped to a 67-day supply May 1, down from 68 days a month earlier. That was the third monthly decline in a row, down from a seasonal peak in January.
The overall May 1 level is where stocks are expected to be at this time of year, said Nick Lobaccaro, auto industry analyst for Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York, in a written report on Big 3 inventories last week.
The spring selling season is under way, fueled by high incentives. Nevertheless, the supply of Big 3 sport-utilities is at historically high levels, at 74 days, 'indicating that supply is finally catching up with demand,' Lobaccaro said.
A 93-day supply of the Jeep Grand Cherokee helps raise the average. The Grand Cherokee is about to be replaced, so part of the run-up in inventory may be related to the run-out of the old model, he said.
Still, at 68 days, down from 73 a month earlier, Chrysler Corp. had the lowest inventory of the Big 3.
Hurt by falling sales, Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. had the highest days-supply of the six largest volume sellers on May 1: 171 days. That is up from 123 on April 1.
Stocks of the U.S.-built Frontier pickup mushroomed to 239 days from 155 days on April 1, while supplies of the domestic Altima and Sentra grew to 160 days from 134.