Toyota and Honda dealers are starting to run low on stock.
Their vehicle inventories on May 1 had plunged by a third since the week before the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The quake has halted or curtailed auto production there and in North America, especially for Toyota and Honda.
Output for other automakers also was affected by a quake-related parts shortage from Japanese suppliers. But outside Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and American Honda, industry inventory was flat March to May.
Toyota's inventory plummeted to 261,200 units on May 1 from 384,200 two months earlier. At the current selling rate, that's a 44-day supply, down from 65 days on March 1.
For Honda/Acura, inventories fell 36 percent to 171,000 on May 1 from 258,000 before the quake. The two brands went from a 63-day supply to 37 days in that period.
Other Japanese automakers are less affected. Between March and May, U.S. inventories fell 18 percent for Mazda, 11 percent for Subaru, 10 percent at Mitsubishi, and 5 percent for Nissan North America. American Suzuki actually increased its inventory by 800 units.
Over the same two months, inventories for all automakers are virtually unchanged.
The net result is a larger spread among the major players, ranging from Chrysler Group's 70-day supply to 25 for Hyundai-Kia.
General Motors, Nissan, and Ford Motor are close to the 60-day mark that is generally considered the ideal balance. Hyundai-Kia normally runs its stocks well below that norm, but its low May 1 supply number is even tighter because it is based on strong April sales, which were up 47 percent.
(Source: Automotive News)