New-vehicle inventories grew in February as automakers cranked out vehicles to feed a surging market.
With retailers posting a sales rate of 20 million units a year, truck inventories rose while cars declined slightly. The days' supply for both shrank.
As of March 1, the industry stock stood at 3,664,200 vehicles, or a 61-day supply. One month earlier, there were 3,624,200 vehicles on hand, representing a 75-day supply.
The gain came on the truck side. March opened with 1,950,600 light trucks on hand, up from 1,901,300 Feb. 1. The car inventory stood at 1,713,600 units March 1, a decrease of about 9,000 units from Feb. 1.
The February sales pace left the car side of the market with a 55-day supply March 1.
The supply of several models grew tighter as the month began. Plymouth Neon stock stood at a 56-day supply March 1, compared with a 92-day supply Feb. 1. A competitor, the Ford Focus, fell from a 63-day supply to a 50-day stock.
Lexus supplies remain tight. The brand has a 15-day supply, with an 18-day stock for cars and a 13-day supply for sport-utilities.
Last month also saw the Lexus brand surge in the number of sales per dealership. It is closing in on its sister division, Toyota, for the No. 1 slot.
Lexus dealers sold 85 vehicles per store in February, up from 77 per store a month earlier.
No. 1 Toyota declined slightly in February, from 96 sales per dealer in January to 94 in February.
Ford and Honda brands also saw big gains for the month.