U.S. dealer light-vehicle inventory appears to be tracking closer with demand, as days’ supply increased to 59 at the end of June from May’s subpar 53.

Auto makers have been playing catch-up with inventory since July 2011, when the industry began to rebound from the effects of the tsunami that heavily damaged Japan’s east coast earlier in the year. That led to severe supply shortages in the U.S. that temporarily tanked sales.

Inventory volume totaled 2.797 million units on June 30, 3.6% more than in May and a hefty 29.1% above year-ago.

Inventory of North America-made vehicles reached 2.268 million units, up 25.7% from year-ago, and equal to a 61-day supply. Imported vehicles numbered 529,589 on dealer lots, up 46.2% from June 2011, and good for a 53-day supply.

Among the top-volume manufacturers hurt most by the tsunami, Honda’s inventory surged 130.7% from year-ago, followed by Toyota’s 74.8% spike and Nissan’s 30.1% gain.

General Motors vehicle stocks rose 15.9% year-over-year, giving the auto maker a rather high 76-day supply. However, GM was building up inventory of its large pickups in the year’s first half of 2012 to offset the impact of planned shutdowns at its Silverado/Sierra plants during the remainder of this year, as retooling begins for redesigned versions due in 2013.

The Silverado ended June with a 134-day supply, and Sierra inventory stood at 145 days, high counts for any time of the year.

Ford ended June with inventory up 7.1% year-over-year. It had a 59 days’ supply compared with 57 in like-2011. Chrysler’s inventory rose 14.2%, with days’ supply at 67 vs. year-ago’s 68.

hstoddard@wardsauto.com