Despite strong January sales, inventories rose to a 75-day supply as of Feb. 1.
Inventories tend to peak this time of year, but the Feb. 1 level was the highest monthly total in two years, and sharply higher than a 65-day supply a month earlier. The most recent low was a 48-day supply on July 1, 1999, when the industry was bearing down on the all-time annual sales record.
Most automakers had higher sales in January than the year-ago month, but DaimlerChrysler sales fell behind a year-ago record in January. That helped push DaimlerChrysler to an 81-day supply, compared with 71 days on Jan. 1. Inventories of high-volume Dodge trucks such as the Ram pickup, Durango and Dakota were all above normal, bringing Dodge light trucks to a fat 92-day supply overall.
Ford Motor Co. had an 83-day supply, up from 67 a month earlier. That included more than a 100-day supply for the Windstar minivan and Ranger pickup. Ford sport-utilities Expedition, Explorer, Excursion and the Lincoln Navigator all were sharply higher than a month ago. So was the F-series pickup. The Ford Taurus was at a relatively low 56 days, up from 39.
General Motors had an even larger inventory, at 88 days, up from 74. High-volume, high-inventory models included the Chevrolet Cavalier, 89 days; and the GMC Sierra pickup, 115 days. Saturn had a 116-day level overall.
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., which includes Toyota and Lexus, continued to dominate the top of the sales-per-dealer chart. In inventory, it had a 39-day supply overall, down from 44. Lexus Division had a 15-day supply.