Despite hefty incentives to push 2004 models, automakers entered October with a higher than average 64-day supply of new vehicles.
That was down from a 65-day supply on Sept. 1. Total Oct. 1 stock was 3.68 million units, down from 3.69 million units on Sept. 1.
The Big 3 had a 74-day supply (excluding imports) on Oct. 1. That was significantly higher than European automakers, at 64 days, and Japanese automakers, at 44 days. Korean automakers had an 82-day supply.
John Casesa, a Merrill Lynch analyst in New York, said in a report last week: "With many 2004 models yet to be sold, and GM continuing on the incentive offensive with TruckFest, we expect an escalation in the incentive war as Ford and other OEMs are forced to join in the fray."
The five-year September average is a 58-day supply.
General Motors dramatically reduced its stock to 62 days on Oct. 1, from 72 days a month earlier. Light-truck supply fell even more radically: to 67 days, from 85 days. GM's car supply was light at 53 days, down from 54 days on Sept. 1.
Ford Motor Co.'s days supply fell to 72 days on Oct. 1, from 76 days a month earlier. The load of light trucks was lessened to 72 days, from 79 days a month earlier. But car supply grew to 72 days, from 67 days on Sept. 1.
DaimlerChrysler showed the heftiest stock level at 81 days, up from 71 days on Sept. 1.
The Chrysler group had an 83-day supply, compared with 74 days a month earlier.