The prospect of a sharp rebound in second-quarter GDP helped underwrite May’s solid results, and indicates June should post a still-healthy 16 million-plus SAAR, even if some of its thunder was stolen in the prior month.
A red flag to watch for is extended shutdowns beyond traditional summer downtimes, especially at Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors. Other automakers could add downtime, but most likely would slow production.
With Subaru understocked in the segment, nearly all automakers selling midsize cars, including Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, could withstand some trimming to inventory in the segment.
Inventory of domestically made LVs is where most of March’s excess inventory exists. There could be some production slowdowns, but higher retail incentives in place in March are likely to continue in April, and possibly increase.
GM’s March deliveries rose a respectable 8.1% from year-ago, but its share fell to one of its lowest ever for any month to 16.7%. The drop coincided with widely publicized recalls that occurred during the month.
WardsAuto estimates inventory is about 300,000 to 400,000 units higher than the optimum level to meet current market demand, but much of the excess appears related to January’s weather-dampened sales and to model changeovers.