DETROIT -- General Motors may reduce pickup production in response to rising inventories.
"We're going to do something about it, but we haven't made those calls yet," Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said last week. Buyers shifted away from trucks last month, "but no one month makes a trend, so we've got to see where this one holds."
GM's inventory of pickups and SUVS rose to more than 275,000 units at the end of April, or about an 111-day supply, Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, said last week during a conference call with reporters and analysts. GM had a 48-day supply of cars and a 52-day supply of crossovers.
A month earlier, he said, GM had about 264,000 pickups and SUVs on dealer lots.
GM's U.S. sales climbed 27 percent to 232,538 vehicles in April. Small cars drove much of the increase as gasoline prices topped $4 per gallon in many states.
GM said the Chevrolet Cruze compact car had its best month in April since its introduction last year, with 25,160 sales.
GM reduced U.S. incentives in April by 8.1 percent to an estimated $3,068 per vehicle, according to Autodata Corp. GM is offering rebates of up to $4,505 for Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups but no rebates on small cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Aveo, according to AIS Rebates, an Ann Arbor, Mich., company that provides incentive data to dealers.
Demand for large pickups has been a key driver of the auto industry's sales recovery because small-business owners replaced aging trucks, automakers say.
Sales of the Silverado dropped 1 percent last month but are up 19 percent for the year. Sierra sales rose 12 percent in April and were up 35 percent for the first four months of the year. Sales of the Chevrolet Avalanche SUV fell 13 percent last month but were up 5 percent through April.
David Phillips contributed to this report