New vehicle inventory rose during October despite the UAW strike
Despite UAW strikes at several plants throughout the month, new vehicle inventory at the beginning of November was higher than it was in early October, according to a Cox Automotive analysis of vAutoavailable Inventory data.
The UAW and Detroit automakers reached tentative contracts and settled the strike. Workers returned to work while voting on new contracts.
As of November. 6, 2023
Average list price
The total US supply of unsold new vehicles available rose to 2.40 million units. This represents an increase of 62%, or 919,000 units, from the same time last year. Inventory figures include vehicles available at dealers and some in transit.
The number of display days increased to 67 days at the beginning of November, compared to 60 days at the beginning of October. Inventory, measured in days’ supplies, was 41% higher than the same time frame a year ago. The last display of days in the 1960s, which was considered normal and ideal, was in March 2021.
Cox Automotive Days Offer is based on average daily sales for the last 30 days ending November 6. Sales for the entire month of October were up about 2% from a year ago but down 10% from September. This is thanks in part to one fewer selling day. The pace of sales faded towards the end of the month with the end of the UAW strikes. Due to the strike, Detroit automakers reduced sales to fleet customers, which helped fleet sales decline 10% compared to October 2022. October saw the first year-over-year decline in fleet sales in 2023.
“Days in supply are creeping up as the pace of sales slows at the start of the fourth quarter of this year,” said Charlie Chesbrough, chief economist at Cox Automotive. “The supply issues that began in 2021 appear to have ended as most brands have seen a significant improvement in their availability. However, market headwinds from rising interest rates and rising prices are dampening sales. As we enter the holiday sales season, it appears… There will likely be a greater discount from automakers, otherwise the days of promotion will increase further.
Stellantis still has the highest supplies despite the factory strike
Stellantis’ brands exited the UAW strike as it entered it — with the highest days’ bid among major brands. Dodge had the highest days’ supply, followed by Chrysler, Ram, and Jeep, with more than 100 days’ supplies at the beginning of November.
Stock supply in October days by brand
When the strike began, General Motors was the most at risk, as the inventory of its Cadillac and Chevrolet brands was the lowest among local brands. Cadillac, still in early November, has the fifth-lowest inventory among major brands with a 48-day supply. Cadillac’s highly profitable Escalade models had very low inventory, at around 20 days.
Chevrolet opened November somewhat better than Cadillac with 66 days of supply. The newly redesigned Colorado truck only had a 24-day supply at the beginning of November when the UAW struck the Missouri plant that makes the Colorado and GMC Canyon. Chevrolet’s profitable large SUVs, such as the Suburban and Tahoe, had less than 35 days of supply. Traverses and Trax also had low supplies. The Trax is made in South Korea, so the hit didn’t hurt it. However, the UAW went on strike at the Michigan plant that made the Traverse, so some production with that important vehicle was lost.
GMC had a 71-day supply. Buick had more than 100 days of inventory.
Ford entered November with generally significant inventory. The Ford brand had a 95-day run. Supply of the Ford Ranger was down to 34 days when the union struck the Michigan plant that makes it in September. Inventory for the Bronco, which was built at the same Michigan plant, was also below average. Lincoln had more than 100 days’ supplies.
As usual, Toyota, Honda, Kia and Subaru had the lowest showings among non-luxury brands starting in November. Among luxury brands, Cadillac, BMW, Lexus, and Land Rover were the lowest.
Inventory levels for trucks are highest, and for crossovers and sedans the lowest
Of the 30 best-selling models, large trucks from Detroit automakers received the biggest showing in November. Specifically, the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 took the top spots in terms of high width, which is normal for this industry.
Among the best-selling cars, small cars and crossovers were the lowest bidders, with the Toyota Corolla Cross at the bottom with a scant 19 days of supply. Other models at the lower end included the new Toyota Grand Highlander, Honda CR-V hybrid, and Toyota Corolla. The new Chevrolet Trax was also on the low end.
The average price of a new car has decreased
The average listing price – or ask price – remained relatively stable during October. At the beginning of the month, the average new car listing price was $166 higher than when the month ended. The average listing price of $47,251 at the end of October was 1.5% lower than the same time last year.
Michelle Krebs is an award-winning automotive analyst and writer with more than 35 years of experience covering the global automotive industry. It has spent the past eight years providing analysis and insights into the automotive industry using a wealth of consumer and industry data from Cox Automotive and its brands including Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.