U.S. auto sales softened in a stormy final week of February, but automakers still started March with relatively tight stocks.
The industry's 69-day supply on March 1 was below the 71-day average for that date over the previous decade. Stocks fell sharply from an 82-day supply on Feb. 1 despite the slower selling pace.
Every automaker except Volkswagen Group of America managed to reduce its days supply. VW rose by a day to a 79-day supply.
Among the major players, Fiat Chrysler had the most stock at 85 days, but that was down 16 days from Feb. 1. Toyota Motor Sales was the lowest, at 54 days.
Full-size pickup supplies, normally high this time of year in preparation for brisk spring sales, also dropped in February -- at least among the manufacturers that provide model-level data.
FCA US' Ram pickup started March with a 103-day supply, down 11 days from Feb. 1. GM's full-size pickups dropped sharply from triple-digit supplies on Feb. 1 -- to 92 days for the Chevrolet Silverado and 97 days for the GMC Sierra.
Ford had deliberately built up a big supply of the 2014 F series to carry it through model changeover. But its March 1 stocks fell to 80 days from 93 on Feb. 1, despite new 2015 models from one plant and curtailed fleet sales.
Ford's Kansas City plant will resume production this month, Ford sales boss Mark LaNeve told reporters March 3.
"Early customer demand is really exceptional for our new F-150," he said, adding that he expects to be fully stocked with the new aluminum-bodied truck by the end of June.