General Motors' car inventories crept higher in April as Saturn stocks soared.
Most automakers kept supplies relatively stable last month as the industry's total North American inventory rose by just one day, from a 72-day supply on April 1 to 73 days on May 1. But Saturn's car inventory rose 65 percent, to a 107-day supply. Total Saturn inventories jumped 71 percent, to an 87-day supply. A 60-day supply is considered normal.
Stocks of the mid-sized Saturn L-series sedan rose 64 percent to a 125-day supply. L-series sales dropped 27 percent in April. GM plans to shut down the Wilmington, Del., plant that makes the car for four weeks beginning today, May 12. When production resumes June 9, managers will cut assembly line speeds by 40 percent and lay off an undetermined number of production workers. GM also halted L-series production for two weeks in March.
The new Saturn Ion also is in plentiful supply, seven months after its October introduction. Stocks of the small car jumped 60 percent in April, to a 96-day supply. Total GM car inventories rose from 75 days to 79 days during the period. Total GM stocks fell from 84 days to 83 days.
Ford Motor Co. stocks stayed at 83 days from April 1 to May 1. Its truck inventory stayed high at a 94-day supply, as Ford Division continued to build stocks of its F-150 in preparation for the production changeover to a redesigned pickup this summer.
DaimlerChrysler's inventory rose from 67 days to 69 days. The Chrysler group rose from 69 days to 71 days as truck supplies increased and car stocks fell.