Inventories hit a seasonal high as of Feb. 1, at a 70-day supply for the light-vehicle industry, up 14 days from a month earlier.
General Motors had an 88-day supply, up from 65. That apparently marks the end of product shortages at GM that began last summer when UAW strikes forced a late start for the 1999 model year.
The strikes caught GM as it prepared to launch important new models such as the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade. As of Feb. 1, GM reported an adequate supply for most new models.
Some hot-selling brands, such as Porsche, are operating virtually without cars in stock. 'Supplies are up - that means more than two days,' said Fred Schwab, president of Porsche Cars North America Inc., in an interview Monday, Feb. 8, at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco.
Schwab said some Porsche dealers have no cars for test drives, and some dealers are 'kiting' cars - that is, displaying a sold car in the showroom until the owner comes to pick it up.
Like GM, Ford Motor Co. also had a sharply higher days-supply as of Feb. 1 - 80 days, up from 63 a month earlier.
DaimlerChrysler Corp. rose to 67 days, vs. 65 a month earlier. The Dodge Durango sport-utility showed a 43-day supply, up from 35. Jim Julow, Dodge general manager, recently told dealers they can expect production of an additional 50,000 to 60,000 Durangos in 1999.
Staff Reporter Ralph Kisiel contributed to this report