At Toyota Motor North America, "We have good days and not-so-good days," said Randy Pflughaupt, group vice president of supply chain management. While each of Toyota's plants is unique, "in certain instances, our plants or our supplier partners may have challenges due to attendance," Pflughaupt explained. "If team members were potentially exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they're required to self- quarantine for 14 days. Any attendance challenges could impact our production."
At the same point in 2019, Toyota and its distributors and dealers had 458,123 vehicles in inventory, which at the time was a still-tight 55-day supply of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. At the beginning of this month, it had just 266,131 unsold vehicles available, a 42 percent drop.
A spokesman for Toyota Motor North America confirmed that all of its production plants are working overtime right now.
Inventory struggles are in no way only caused by slowed production, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.
While inventory levels in August are usually tighter because of model-year changeovers, the COVID-19- related production shutdowns have delayed the rollout of new model-year vehicles.
According to Cox, only 0.5 percent of current inventory are 2021 models, compared with 9 percent of inventory for 2020 models at the same point last year.
"Sales have been stronger than we anticipated, and the consumer has been amazingly resilient — at least those who have jobs and money," Krebs said. "If you look at the price segmentation, you can see where people are hurting."
According to Cox, small vehicles that cost less than $20,000 had the most ample supply levels in the industry, including subcompact cars and subcompact crossovers. On the opposite end of the supply spectrum, midsize trucks such as the Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon were most under pressure.