Hot sales are keeping inventories low, and the industry's light-vehicle supply slid to 50 days as of Aug. 1.
That was the lowest since last October, but higher than last year's low point of 46 days on July 1. Strikes against General Motors dragged down inventories last summer. Since last fall, strong U.S. sales have kept the days' supply low.
The major Japanese brands led the way in trimming inventories in July. The days' supply increased slightly in July for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.
With help from incentives on minivans and other models, DaimlerChrysler cut its days' supply to 53 days as of Aug. 1, vs. 56 days a month earlier.
GM had a 59-day supply as of Aug. 1, up from 56 days a month earlier.
Ford Motor Co. had a 52-day supply, vs. 51 days a month earlier. Supplies of the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable were only 34 days.
Nissan North America Inc. continued to work off a mountain of inventory, at 47 days, down from 76. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. was at 37 days, down from 41. And Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. had a 30-day supply, including a 19-day supply for Lexus.
Toyota Division, with 102 vehicle sales per dealership in July, and Lexus, with 96, continued to lead the monthly sales-per-dealer rankings. At No. 3, Honda Divi-sion, with 89 sales per dealership, beat out Ford Division, with 69 sales per store, which was No. 3 in June.