New-vehicle stock remains close to record lows, with a twist: the disappearance of fuel-efficient cars, and the accumulation of full-size pickups.  RAM, Dodge, Crowded Jeep

New-vehicle stock remains close to record lows, with a twist: the disappearance of fuel-efficient cars, and the accumulation of full-size pickups. RAM, Dodge, Crowded Jeep

But Kia, Toyota and Honda: nothing on much. Where there is a shortage, and where there is an abundance, by brand and sector.

Written by Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

At the end of August, the stock of new vehicles in dealership parts and in transit reached 1.23 million, still at the sadly low levels that have prevailed since the spring of 2021, down 65% from August 2019.

But increasingly, there’s now a new wrinkle in that shortage, according to inventory data from Cox Automotive: Many fuel-efficient models have essentially disappeared from stock, there are long waiting lists for many of these models, customers wait months to get what they ordered, including electric, hybrid and compact cars, while there are inventories of vans and other larger vehicles being manufactured And some brands, like Ram and Dodge, are now overstocked and offer massive discounts.

In terms of the number of days at the end of August, it has reached 40, from 37 in July. That’s still pretty low, but it’s above the 30-day range last summer. In comparison, in 2019, the average bid was 89 days, which was high, and there were a lot of deals to do.

The chip shortage continues, but to a lesser extent.

Ford announced, Monday evening, that it expects to have 40,000 to 45,000 incomplete vehicles in storage at the end of the third quarter, awaiting parts.

Since last year, automakers have been building vehicles that lack components in order to keep their factories running. When missing components arrive, automakers install them, complete vehicles, and ship them to dealers.

GM, at the end of the second quarter, had 95,000 incomplete vehicles in storage yards, waiting for components. Other automakers are also doing this to mitigate the effects of chip shortages.

The shortage is concentrated in specialized microcontrollers and cheap semiconductors that the auto industry uses for the common stuff. If one of the brackets in the rearview mirror is missing, the component maker will not be able to deliver the rearview mirrors to the assembly plant, and the car cannot be completed. But it can be built, put on storage, and when the rearview mirror arrives, the car can be completed.

Where is the shortage and where is the abundance?

As a result of higher gasoline prices this year, more fuel-efficient vehicles have essentially disappeared from dealers’ inventory. When you see a “20-day supply” you’ll find almost nothing on a lot of dealers, most of the vehicles that appear in “in stock” are already in transit, and many have already been sold out before they hit many.

The seven parts are greatly lacking. Seven of the 23 major sectors have a supply of between 20 and 30 days. This means that most of these vehicles in “stock” are either in transit or have been pre-sold. When customers show up to shop for one of these models, they often don’t have anything to choose from and may have to order instead.

One of these seven sectors is an exception in terms of fuel efficiency: high-performance vehicles (22.2-day supply). But with an average price tag of $110,000, they’re not exactly full-size cars.

These are the segments that are short – and frustrating for everyone involved, customers, dealers and automakers. This data was provided by Cox Automotive.

overall rank Sectors with the greatest shortage supply days
1 Hybrid/alternative energy 21.2
2 compact car 21.6
3 high performance car 22.2
4 compact car 25.6
5 minivan 27.7
6 electric vehicle 27.9
7 medium size car 28.4

The nine parts with narrow to sufficient stocks. In this collection, you will find a wide range of vehicles, including plenty of SUVs and crossovers. Medium-sized pickups fall into this segment, but they are not full-size pickups:

overall rank Piece with hermetic supply to adequate supply days
8 Luxury Full Size SUV/Crossover 30.6
9 Compact SUV / Crossover 34.2
10 Medium size pickup truck 36.3
11 Small SUV / Crossover 37.9
12 luxury car for beginners 40.7
13 Midsize Luxury SUV/Crossover 40.9
14 SUV / mid-size crossover 41.6
15th transportation car 43.0
16 Full-size SUV/Crossover 44.0
17 Luxury car 45.2
18 sports car 45.6

The five sectors with lots of supplies, including full-size pickup trucks. For retail buyers, full-size pickup trucks are the most popular vehicles. The best-selling models of all time are full-size pickup trucks. This is a huge and amazingly profitable segment of the auto industry – and has been for many years.

During the pandemic, people went to their dealers to buy pickups, dealers cleaned up, ordered trucks and waited for months, and some dealers sold trucks for $10,000 or $20,000 over MSRP and got away with it.

Troubled by a shortage of semiconductors, the automakers have prioritized building high-quality pickups to protect their revenue as best they can while unit production has slowed due to a lack of components.

But then the price of gasoline shot up to the point of pain, and consumers flinched and took a deep breath, while automakers still prioritized the production of full-size pickups. As supply chains are long, global, complex and stressful, sudden changes in demand cannot be accommodated quickly.

And now pickup trucks are starting to pile up. On average, it had 59.2 days of trucking supply at the end of August, topped by the Ram 1500 with 88 days supply and the Chevy Silverado with 77 days supply – which means more supply:

overall rank Piece supply days
19 Luxury Compact SUV / Crossover 54.6
20 Small Luxury SUV/Crossover 56.0
21 FULL SIZE PICKUP TRUCK 59.2
22 high-end luxury car 60.2
23 full size car 63.7

With some brands, the big discounts are back.

For example, Ram dealers are now doing a huge discount, including national and regional incentives from Stellantis. It’s as if they have attached a minus sign in front of the $10,000 add-on stickers.

For example, today a San Francisco Bay Area Ram dealer announced a new 2022 RAM 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4X4 truck in $8,479 Below MSRP:

Lack of imported brands, too much supply among American brands.

The top six brands with the lowest supply – between 19 and 30 days – are all Asian import brands.

This ranking is related to the “brand”, not by the location where the vehicles are actually manufactured, which could be in the US, Mexico, Asia, Europe, etc. Many of these compounds above are manufactured in assembly plants in the United States and Mexico.

Kia is on top with a 19-day supply. Good luck getting into a Kia dealership, choosing a new car, and driving home with it. People can order one. American brands middle to bottom, starting with Chevrolet with a 43.9 day supply. All brands of Stellantis (red) are in stock.

Tesla has no dealers – and therefore no “dealers” stock. Sells directly to consumers. It does not disclose its own inventory. It does not even disclose its sales in the United States. So it is not on the list.

At the bottom of the list with more than one show: Fiat and Alfa Romeo have meager US sales and they don’t really matter. But Volvo matters — owned by Chinese automaker Geely, and some of its models are made in China — and it’s more stocked than Ram.

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