U.S. light-vehicle stocks started September in near-ideal form after August's robust sales pace.
Automakers and dealers had 3.3 million unsold units on Sept. 1, the lowest unit count in 11 months and down 1.9 percent from Aug. 1. Inventory was 82,900 units higher than a year earlier, a 2.5 percent increase in keeping with 2015's higher volume.
September started with a 55-day supply when measured by how long stocks would last at the previous month's sales pace. That's exactly average for this date over the previous 23 years of comparable data.
September stocks are slightly below the industry's rule-of-thumb preference for a 60- to 65-day supply.
But that's normal for this time of year as automakers try to sell off current-year models and shift production to the next model year.
Another measure of balance: Virtually all manufacturers started the month with stocks close to their traditional norms -- even at both extremes of days supply levels.
Subaru has the lowest Sept. 1 stocks at 18 days and VW Group is second-highest at 78 days. But this year, Subaru's days supply has varied from 17 to 28 and VW has been between 71 and 79 days.
The supply levels automakers report monthly vary greatly depending on how each tallies inventory.
Some count only what's on dealership lots. Others include units en route. But even that can range from everything post-assembly to just units on trucks or trains inside the U.S.