Though still low, pandemic-constrained inventory levels in the U.S. continued to ease slightly for most automakers last month as production gained ground and sales slowed.
Dealers and automakers had 2.87 million unsold vehicles on hand to open December, according to data compiled by Cox Automotive. The figure represents a 200,000-vehicle gain from the beginning of November but is still 690,000 vehicles lower than where inventory levels were a year earlier.
Cox estimates the industry has a 75-day supply of vehicles on hand, up from 65 days a month ago. Cox uses the daily sales rate from the most recent 30-day period for its calculation.
December is one of the biggest selling months of the year, and the industry historically has gone into the month with a large number of vehicles in inventory. Pickup inventory remains especially tight across most of the industry; the top-selling Ford F-Series had less than a two-month supply.
Among automakers that report monthly sales and inventory levels, Subaru continued to have the industry's tightest supply of vehicles on hand at 30 days, while Toyota and Volvo each had a 40-day supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Ford, Hyundai-Kia, Mazda, Toyota Motor and Volvo saw their days' supply numbers decrease from October, while Subaru and American Honda each saw their days' supply figures increase.