Inventory levels fall back under 3 million

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Inventory levels in the U.S. began to recede again in January as stronger retail demand and production issues dragged stocks back below 3 million, well below where they were a year earlier.

Cox Automotive estimates U.S. inventory stood at 2.79 million vehicles at the beginning of February, a 66-day supply, according to an analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data. That’s down over 200,000 vehicles from where it stood a month earlier, which had been the first time since May that U.S. inventories had crossed the 3 million threshold, Cox said. At the beginning of February 2020, there were an estimated 3.35 million unsold vehicles in the country.

Cox computes its days’ supply calculation on the daily sales rate for the most recent 30-day period.

All seven automakers still reporting monthly sales and inventory data had larger days’ supplies than in the previous month. Subaru continued to have the tightest days’ supply, followed by Toyota Motor North America, while American Honda had the highest figure, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.

Cox said its data showed that luxury brands had the tightest inventory levels, led by Lexus, while supplies were tightest among full-size pickups, full-size SUVs and full-size luxury SUVs.

Full-size cars and electric vehicles had the highest inventory levels among segments, Cox said.