Automakers and dealers started November with lean stocks after booming October auto sales.
U.S. inventories normally jump between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 as automakers stock up for the brisk year-end selling season. Units on hand did increase during October but only by 124,000 to 3.58 million. That's just over half the 210,000 units added on average the previous 10 years.
It's the smallest October increase since 2006, when the bump was 114,500 in a market trending downward. U.S. auto sales in 2006 were 16.6 million, off 2.6 percent, while 2015 sales were up 5.8 percent through October and likely to top 17 million.
The industry had a 69-day supply on Nov. 1, based on the previous month's sales pace. That is up nine days from a month earlier. But Nov. 1 stocks normally rise 13 days, and the 10-year average for that date is 73 days.
The Detroit 3 generally count more in-transit vehicles as inventory than other automakers and therefore usually sweep the top of the days-supply list. Not this time.
Among the big players, Fiat Chrysler leads with 90 days. Volkswagen Group of America is second at 83 days, an unusual decline from 87 days that reflects VW's difficulty keeping dealers stocked with nondiesel vehicles while diesel sales are suspended.
Ford Motor Co. is third at 81 days, followed by Nissan North America with 77 days.
The next four ranked by days supply are General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, American Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Sales.