New Car Inventory May Finally Be Stabilizing

The nationwide average of new car inventories climbed slightly at the end of July. What does this mean for people on the hunt for a new car?
Written by Lisa Steuer McArdle
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Aug 21, 2021
The inventory of
new cars
has been a big problem this year, caused in part by a global
microchip shortage
.
The microchip shortage has forced manufacturers to slow production of many vehicles—and as a result, the number of new cars reached a record low this summer.
This means new
car inventories
have been low. This is significant, as in the auto world, inventory is a measure of how long it would take to sell out of cars at the current rate of sales if they stopped making them today.
According to
Kelley Blue Book
, the nationwide average of new car inventories stood at 29 days at the end of June. At the end of July, it climbed slightly to 31.
At the end of July, new car inventory climbed slightly.

What does it mean for new cars?

It’s just a slight increase, but it could mean the new car inventory is finally starting to improve.
At the end of July, the total number of new cars available for sale stood at 1.2 million. As KBB reports, that was down from 1.3 million in June. The sales pace had slowed slightly, but now car shoppers are reportedly returning to showrooms amid signs of an economic recovery.
The sales rate may have been falling because car shoppers don’t want to pay high prices, or because they can’t find the car they want with the short supply.

Inventory numbers

While the supply does seem to be stabilizing a bit, inventory remains tight—but some car brands are in a better place than others.
At the end of July, Kia, Honda, and Toyota tied for the tightest inventory, with each having only a 20 days’ supply.
The carmakers with the most inventory were Alfa Romeo dealers at 105, Fiat dealers at 97, and Ram dealers at 65.
Other automakers in the top 10 for most inventory include Infiniti, Genesis, Volvo, Buick, Cadillac, Dodge, and Chrysler, according to
Autotrader
.

Inventory by model

Interestingly, even though Ram has seen some of the highest new car inventory numbers, the
Ram 1500
pickup also remains among the three
best-selling vehicles
in America, according to KBB.
Other vehicles with inventories at or above the national average, regardless of model year, include Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda Pilot, and the Ford F-150, among a few others.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has had the shortest supply of any vehicle—but this also could be because the carmaker has had limited supplies for some parts of the vehicle all year, rather than the microchip shortage.

The hardest new cars to find

Meanwhile, minivans are the hardest vehicles to find and saw some of the lowest inventory numbers of any vehicle type. In fact, there was just recently only 10 days’ supply of Kia’s newest 2022 Carnival minivan.
Compact cars are the second hardest to find, with limited supplies of the
Toyota Corolla
and recently redesigned Honda Civic—even though compact cars have not sold as well this year as they did a decade ago.
Though SUVs and trucks have also been in low supply this year, their inventory numbers improved slightly in July.
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