November delivered an early holiday present to the auto industry, sales surging by double-digits, driven by attractive Black Friday sales. It was hard to find a manufacturer that didn’t have a good month, with the exception of Volkswagen and the Honda division. And industry analysts note that demand was strong in virtually every product segment – from minicars to full-size pickups, even minivans gaining traction after years of steady decline.
But reading between the lines can reveal a bit different story. Despite the big sales surge, industry inventories have been on the rise – one reason Ford has decided to trim a week’s production this month for the normally strong Fusion sedan – the second-largest domestic maker slicing its planned overall first-quarter production schedule by 2%.
And while dealers had a tough time keeping some products – such as the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport SUVs – in stock last month, they were tripping over some other models. There was an average 115 days of inventory for the Nissan GTR sports car, for example, roughly twice the 60-day industry norm. Jaguar dealers had 103 days worth of XKR models, and there was an 89-day supply of the Acura RLX, the luxury brand’s new flagship, according to a survey by Cars.com.