Automakers trimmed about 14,000 light vehicles out of U.S. inventory during April despite relatively languid industry sales.
It's another sign that automakers are doing a good job of matching production to sales while keeping stocks lean.
April sales fell 5.9 percent from March, but stocks were just 0.4 percent lower on May 1 compared with April 1. None of the seven largest automakers changed inventory more than 3.6 percent. And three companies -- Nissan North America, American Honda and Hyundai-Kia -- varied by 500 units or fewer between April 1 and May 1.
Over the past four months, U.S. inventories have been almost flat, ranging from a high of 3,643,800 on March 1 to a low of 3,625,500 on May 1. That's an inventory variation of a half percent compared with 34 percent for monthly sales, from a low of 1.15 million in January to a high of 1.55 million in March.
Automakers started May with a 65-day supply based on the previous month's sales pace. That's at the 65-day average of the previous 10 years.
Most automakers started May with supplies close to their recent monthly norms, ranging from Subaru at 20 days to Mitsubishi at 95.
Among the major players, all but General Motors increased days supply during April.
GM cut its stocks by five days to 71 on May 1 after boosting April sales almost 6 percent, the largest percentage gain of the high-volume manufacturers. GM started May with 739,900 units, down 3.1 percent.