Automotive stocks hit a 12-year high on Feb. 1 despite higher incentive spending last month.
U.S. supplies of cars and light trucks stood at 90 days on Feb. 1, up from 69 days on Jan. 1. The ideal level is 60 to 65 days. The previous Feb. 1 high on Automotive News records was 87 days, in 1992.
Light-truck sales were brisk in January, but the Big 3 were left with hefty stocks of SUVs, pickups and minivans.
Supplies of cars at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors soared to more than 90 days but still were lower than light-truck inventories.
Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa estimates that per-unit incentive spending in January increased 35.9 percent compared with the same month last year. Heavy inventories mean the spiffs will likely continue to rise in February, he says.
GM had the highest stock levels of the Big 3. DaimlerChrysler had the lowest. DaimlerChrysler supplies rose to 87 days on Feb. 1 from 70 on Jan. 1. The Chrysler group jumped to 90 days from 74 a month earlier. Chrysler's light-truck stocks rose to 94 days from 73 days a month earlier. GM's light-truck supply stood at 120 days on Feb. 1, up from 72 days in January.
Ford Motor Co. light-truck supplies were 104 days, up from 74 on Jan. 1. Ford's total supplies were 101 days, up from 74 days last month.
American Honda had a 65-day supply of cars and trucks on Feb.1, up from 53 in January. Nissan North America stock fell to 71 days from 74 days in January. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. was the leanest of major players in the U.S. market. Toyota's 49-day car and truck supply was up from 42 days a month earlier.