The U.S. industry's inventory of new vehicles fell slightly this month as automakers began throttling back production. But the stocks remain higher than previous first-of-the-year inventories of recent years.
The industry held a 76-day supply of cars and trucks as of Jan. 1, down from a 77-day supply a month earlier. That includes an 83-day supply of light trucks and a 70-day supply of cars.
January's 76-day inventory was the industry's highest at the start of a new year since Jan. 1, 1992, when it also held a 76-day supply. A 60-day supply is considered normal.
The actual count of unsold new vehicles was 3.8 million as of Jan. 1. That compares with 3.46 million on Jan. 1, 2000; 2.9 million on Jan. 1, 1999; and 3.2 million on Jan. 1, 1998. Last year started with a 64-day supply of inventory.
GM's inventory dropped from a 104-day supply in December to a 100-day supply in January. DaimlerChrysler moved from 74 days to 73 days.
Ford Motor Co. stocks grew. Ford had an 80-day supply on Dec. 1 and an 86-day pool a month later.
A number of high-volume models showed increases in inventory going into January. GM's Chevrolet S10 pickups were standing at a 203-day supply on Jan. 1, up from a 172-day supply a month earlier. Inventory of GMC S15/Sonoma trucks rose from a 184-day supply to 208 days this month.
The Ford Excursion moved from an 83-day inventory on Dec. 1 to a 132-day supply, while the supply of Expeditions rose to 113 days from 76 on Dec. 1.