Healthy February sales helped drain U.S inventories to a 70-day supply as of March 1.
The industrywide figure was 76 days on Feb. 1. About 60 days is considered ideal. Last year, supplies stood at 78 days on March 1.
The traditional Big 3 automakers' supply fell from 89 days on Feb. 1 to 81 on March 1.
The Japanese manufacturers dropped to 54 days from 55. The European carmakers slipped to 64 days from 68. The industry's truck supply dipped collectively to 82 days from 97, while cars inched up to 57 days from 56.
DaimlerChrysler AG posted the most dramatic decrease, cutting its supply from 83 days on Feb. 1 to 65. Supplies dipped for three of the Chrysler group's key vehicles: the Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300.
Ford Motor Co.'s supply dropped to 80 days from 95. The Ford F series and Explorer dropped considerably; the brand's Mustang and Five Hundred also fell.
Supplies grew last month for General Motors and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. GM increased to 90 days from 87. GM's truck inventory was cut, but its supply of cars spiked to 75 days from 58. The Chevrolet Impala, Pontiac Grand Prix and Cadillac STS posted increases.
Toyota's supply rose to 41 days from 38. Its Lexus brand increased to 33 days from 24.
Nissan North America Inc.'s supply decreased to 68 days from 74, as supplies of the Altima and Titan dipped.
American Honda's supply rose to 50 days from 49. The Acura luxury brand grew to 61 days from 53.
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