New Vehicle Inventory Still Near Record Lows, with Twist: Fuel-Efficient Cars Vanish, Full-Size Pickups Pile Up. Ram, Dodge, Jeep Overstocked

But Kia, Toyota, Honda: nearly nothing on the lot. Where the shortages are, and where ample supply is, by brand and segment.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

At the end of August, inventories of new vehicles on dealer lots and in transit ticked up to 1.23 million vehicles, still at the woefully low levels that have prevailed since the spring of 2021, down by 65% from August 2019.

But increasingly, there is now a new wrinkle in these shortages, according to inventory data from Cox Automotive: Many fuel-efficient models have essentially vanished from inventories, and there are long waiting lists for many of those models, and customers wait for months to get what they ordered, including EVs and hybrids and compact cars, while inventories of pickup trucks and other larger vehicles are building, and some brands, such as Ram and Dodge, are now overstocked and are offering massive discounts.

In terms of days’ supply at the end of August, it ticked up to 40 days, from 37 days in July. This is still very low, but up from the 30-day range last summer. By comparison, in 2019, supply averaged 89 days, and that was on the high side, and there were lots of deals to be had.

The chip shortages persist, but to a lesser extent.

Monday evening, Ford announced that it expects to have 40,000 to 45,000 unfinished vehicles on storage lots at the end of Q3, waiting for parts.

Since last year, automakers have been building vehicles that were missing components in order to keep their plants operating. When the missing components arrive, automakers install them, complete the vehicles, and ship them to dealers.

GM, at the end of Q2, had 95,000 unfinished vehicles on storage lots, waiting for components. Other automakers are also doing this to mitigate the effects of the chip shortages.

Shortages are concentrated in specialized cheap microcontrollers and semiconductors that the auto industry uses for mundane things. If one of the chips in a rear-view mirror is in short supply, the component maker cannot deliver the rear-view mirrors to the assembly plant, and the vehicle cannot be completed. But it can be built, and put on a storage lot, and when the rear-view mirror arrives, the vehicle can be completed.

Where are the shortages, and where is the ample supply?

As a result of the gasoline price spike this year, the most fuel-efficient vehicles have essentially vanished from dealer inventories. When you see “20 days’ supply,” you will find nearly nothing on the lot of many dealers, and most of the vehicles showing in “inventory” are actually in transit, and many of them have already been sold before they arrive on the lot.

The seven segments with big shortages. Seven of 23 major segments have between 20 and 30 days’ supply. This means that most of these vehicles in “inventory” are either in transit or have already been pre-sold. When customers show up to shop for one of these models, they will often be confronted with nothing to choose from, and they may have to order instead.

One of these seven segments is an outlier in terms of fuel efficiency: High-performance cars (22.2 days’ supply). But with an average price of $110,000, they’re not exactly mass-market vehicles.

These are the segments with shortages – and they’re frustrating for all involved, customers, dealers, and automakers. This data was provided by Cox Automotive.

Overall Rank Segments with the biggest shortages Days’ Supply
1 Hybrid/Alternative Energy 21.2
2 Subcompact Car 21.6
3 High Performance Car 22.2
4 Compact Car 25.6
5 Minivan 27.7
6 Electric Vehicle 27.9
7 Mid-size Car 28.4

The nine segments with tight to adequate inventories. In this group, you’ll find a broad range of vehicles, and including lots of SUVs and crossovers. Midsize pickup trucks are in this segment, but not full-size pickup trucks:

Overall Rank Segment with tight to adequate supply Days’ Supply
8 Luxury Full-size SUV/Crossover 30.6
9 Compact SUV/Crossover 34.2
10 Mid-size Pickup Truck 36.3
11 Subcompact SUV/Crossover 37.9
12 Entry-level Luxury Car 40.7
13 Luxury Mid-size SUV/Crossover 40.9
14 Mid-size SUV/Crossover 41.6
15 Van 43.0
16 Full-size SUV/Crossover 44.0
17 Luxury Car 45.2
18 Sports Car 45.6

The five segments with plenty of supply, including full-size pickup trucks. For retail buyers, full-size pickup trucks are the most popular vehicles. The best-selling models of all times are full-size pickup trucks. This is a huge and stunningly profitable segment of the auto industry – and has been for many years.

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

And automakers, hobbled by semiconductor shortages, prioritized building high-end pickups to protect their revenues the best they could while unit production was slowed by component shortages.

But then the price of gasoline spiked and hit the pain threshold, and consumers winced and took a deep breath, while automakers were still prioritizing the production of full-size high-end pickups. With supply chains being long and global and complicated and cumbersome, sudden changes in demand cannot be quickly accommodated.

And now pickup trucks are starting to pile up. On average, there was 59.2 days supply of pickups at the end of August, topped off by the Ram 1500 with 88 days’ supply and the Chevy Silverado with 77 days’ supply – meaning oversupply:

Overall Rank Segment Days’ Supply
19 Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover 54.6
20 Luxury Subcompact 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, big discounts are back.

For example, Ram dealers are now heavily discounting, including national and regional incentives from Stellantis. It’s as if they attached a minus-sign in front of the $10,000 addendum stickers of yore.

A San Francisco Bay Area Ram dealer, for example, advertised today a new 2022 RAM 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4X4 truck at $8,479 below MSRP:

Shortages among import brands, lots of supply among US brands.

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

This ranking goes by “brand,” not by the location where the vehicles are actually manufactured, which could be in the US, Mexico, Asia, Europe, etc. Many of these vehicles in the top are made at assembly plants in the US and Mexico.

Kia is on top with 19 days supply. Good luck walking into a Kia dealership, picking out a new vehicle, and driving home with it. Folks can order one. The US brands are from the middle on down, starting with Chevrolet at 43.9 days supply. The brands of Stellantis (red) are all overstocked.

Tesla doesn’t have dealers – and therefore doesn’t have inventory at “dealers.” It sells direct to consumers. And it doesn’t disclose its own inventory. And it doesn’t even disclose its sales in the US. So it’s not on the list.

At the bottom of the list with the most over-supply: Fiat and Alfa Romeo have minuscule sales in the US and don’t really matter. But Volvo matters – owned by Chinese automaker Geely, some of its models are made in China – and it is even more overstocked than Ram.

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  114 comments for “New Vehicle Inventory Still Near Record Lows, with Twist: Fuel-Efficient Cars Vanish, Full-Size Pickups Pile Up. Ram, Dodge, Jeep Overstocked

  1. OTH says:

    Great time to invest in a pair of jack stands and some quality made in USA wrenches.

    Maybe the automakers will start removing some of these ridiculous chips from tge designs. Do we really need a computer to adjust our mirrors? Cmon.

    • Djreef says:

      Ya, I’m good driving my 2006 Expedition. I love that truck, and I can work on it myself.

  2. Minutes says:

    Yes I experienced this in early August. 3 cars on the lot of the model we were looking for. Reminded me of the days of Ford saying “you can have any color you want so long as it was black.”

    • Harrold says:

      This shows how terrible dealers are at managing themselves. They should keep at least 1 car of every model, just so customers can come and so test drives. Then they’d make a lot more money selling pre orders.

      Car buying is a process. People need to see it, sit in it, decide it’s comfortable, the right size, etc… Right now you can’t do any of that. It’s a total waste of time to even go to a dealer. They deserve to go out of business, and probably a few will.

  3. CreditGB says:

    Well, looks like the incessant government interference in markets via wild policy moves, will force vehicle industry back to the days of minimal inventory and a majority of “order your vehicle and wait for it to be built”
    Doesn’t help much with factory supply chains though.

    This picking and choosing of artificial winners and losers based on campaign contributions, by inept politicians is going to ruin industry and society as a whole.

    Personally, I can’t afford an electric vehicle, nor hours spent “refueling” it every few hundred miles.

    • swanky says:

      While this situation is certainly frustrating, I for one would be happy with the change back to the “order your vehicle and wait for it” days to return. Not sure what exactly you’re referring to with the vague “picking and choosing of artificial winners and losers” bit, but a huge part of the shortage right now is due to materials and component shortages/delays. The “cars on the lot” approach of sales has finally resulted in an unsustainable model, leaving customers extremely frustrated due to expectations. A return to the “ordering” days would reduce waste, shift customer perceptions, and allow carmakers to adjust their processes more gradually rather than get smoked by rapidly shifting demand (like they currently are with the increase in demand for efficient cars and a decrease in demand for things like pickups).

      Also not sure what you’re referring to on the “hours spent refueling” comment, since there are not many EVs coming out now that take more than an hour to charge fully. If you drive more than a few hundred miles at a time regularly, I suppose that would be an issue, but just trying to be honest about the assessment.

      • Peter Brewmaker says:

        People like to inject their political views in here. There is zero fact or information in that statement.

      • El Katz says:

        The supply chain already has a 90 day lag built into it. Having worked for manufacturers, they can’t turn on a dime to suit customer whim. Production plans are cast in December for the next calendar year (or in our case it was fiscal year that started in spring) and adjusted monthly for the next three months.

        The cost of vehicles will not go down in a build to order scheme. That’s fantasy. The bespoke build to order will actually add costs as well as built in delay as vehicles in modern factories are built in lots. Colors. Interior colors. Trim levels. Drive train. Wheels and tires vary with trim as do suspension components, interiors, sheet metal, lamps, and so on.

        To give you an example: If we loved our “brass hat” (executive demo) and didn’t want to get rid of it on schedule, we ordered a white 2 door coupe with a manual transmission in a lower trim level. The car would never be built and we could keep our beloved car until we chose to change the order to something more mainstream.

        Product mix is also essential to plant profitability. A bunch of cheapos can’t keep the lights on. The cost to build them isn’t much different than building the high line vehicles. The main difference was cost of materials (leather vs. cloth, LED headlamps vs halogen, alloy wheels vs plastic hubcaps, etc.). It takes no more to install one than the other, but the consumer cost of the loaded vehicle helps support the lower trim. Without the upper trim, the lower trim cost to build goes up.

        It’s just math.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          I’d be fine with paying the same price for the ‘lower trim’. Less crap to go bad and fix or junk later.

        • Sams says:

          How come that the last day, and previous days Land Rover Defender in 90, 110 and 130 inch wheelbase rolled of the line? In Pick up, station wagon, dual cab and other body styles. Ok, engine and transmission was one option, but otherwise there was major differences. At least it did not look much like batch production.

    • Old school says:

      I will be surprised if any US automotive company will survive without government bailout if there is no Fed put. I don’t think any are built to survive a severe recession.

      • Flea says:

        Already here 7500& credit on ev

      • gametv says:

        As demand shifts to EVs some of the domestic companies have very interesting products. I saw an ad for an electric SUV that was 30K, which is 20K less than Tesla’s Model Y I think. I personally like both Ford and GM’s electric products. GM might have some competitive advantage with their Ultium battery tech.

        Actually some of the foreign companies like Honda seem to be behind the domestic car companies in this transition.

        • Old school says:

          I need to do more research on the mining sector. It seems a no brainer that there is going to be a shortage of mined materials if we are going wind turbines and EVs.

          In general people don’t like mining as it is an ugly extractive business. That’s why it takes a decade or two to get one permitted in the US.

    • P Andersen says:

      I would much rather not see a dealer again & pay their ridiculous markups + dealer installed crap. After ordering Tesla directly & working with their non-commissioned (salaried) staff for test drive & purchase paperwork, that’s the process I want.
      Unfortunately, most states have laws against direct-to-consumer sales which protects the dealers’ fat margins & limitless arrogance!

  4. NoPrep says: in heck can TSLA be analyzed as a stock investment as far as future growth prospects, when nobody knows what is actually going on with TSLA inventory, production, sales?

    Maybe it boils down to “In Elon I Trust”? Seems crazy to me. A lot of smoke and a lot of mirrors.

  5. Michael Engel says:

    1) Ranking #22 : are EV > $100K included in that category.
    2) If WTI cont to deflate and osc between $60’s and $70’s Ford pickup trucks on dealer lots will finally get their missing parts.
    3) With $10K – $15K discounts, much higher than EV discount, large pickup trucks in the $40’s – $50’s will be much cheaper than EV cars in the $70’s.
    4) The free market will response to gov interventions.

  6. ru82 says:

    Oil continues to drop. Down about 40% from its peak. That has to helping knock down some inflation.

    • SpencerG says:

      Unfortunately at $84/bbl, oil is still up 125% over its election day price in 2020 ($37/bbl) and up 50% over the price in May-August of 2021 ($63-67/bbl) when the Fed and the Administration were declaring inflation to be “transitory.” So I wouldn’t expect current oil prices to slow inflation down too much.

      • Mckillio says:

        I’d sure hope the price of gas is higher now than during the low demand of 2020.

        • SpencerG says:

          It has more to do with the fact that the Saudis decided to cut production so much starting in December 2020.

  7. Al Loco says:

    An anecdote on Tesla. A “store” in an affluent suburb north of Chicago has a bunch on the lot. 50-75 I estimate. I can’t tell if they are new, used, or broken but the lot is full. Every Toyota dealer is completely empty except for a few cars in the showroom. All pre order sales.

    • 2banana says:

      From the chart above.

      The poor quality vehicles have the largest inventory/days on lots

      • Tray says:

        Kia is considered good quality now??

        • Staunton16 says:

          Hyundai is the new Toyota, and Kia is the new Hyundai.

        • Anthony A. says:

          As a matter of fact, the Korean brands are very well made these days.

        • Duke says:

          Our 2011 kia Sorento is approaching 200k with zero major issues on the v6 drivetrain or interior. It’s been an amazing SUV. Some years had engine issues. I wait a year on new models and then assume bugs ironed are out.

        • El Katz says:

          Kia is good at hiding their problems. They don’t do recalls, but product updates. A friend of ours had to eat an engine on her Kia because she missed the mouseprint on a notice and automatically “deselected” herself from the warranty extension.

          Kia out Japanesed the Japanese by putting a lot of content into a reasonably priced car. They built market share and now their prices are going up accordingly.

          The Koreans learned a lot from Genesis.

        • Bobber says:

          When I looked at a new Kia in 2010, the chrome was peeling off part of the front bumper, revealing a yellow plastic underneath. They probably have better quality now.

      • mark bond says:

        Because now “ONLY” reliable cars left are honda and toyota but good luck finding you a civic or corolla!#RealTruth

      • N says:

        Staunton16.. KIA is Hyundai and Hyundai is KIA…

    • james wordsworth says:

      An anecdote on Tesla. Colleague finally got her Model Y after a 7 month wait. Has owned 20+ cars over the years. This is her favorite.
      Everywhere I go west of Toronto there seems to be a Tesla at every traffic light.
      Got to love the production model – 6 month lead time to build. Lots of opportunity to batch at will. No ending inventory. No dealers. Limited models. Limited options. If demand goes up more, increase the price.

      • Miller says:

        We’ve actually been seeing the opposite in our neck of the woods–although there sure are lots more EVs on the roads than a couple years ago, there seem to be a whole lot less Teslas specifically. This goes together with what we’ve been hearing from friends and co-workers who bought them before, they’ve been getting more disappointed with Tesla’s recent shortfalls and doing a lot of trading in. Just too many frustrations with getting replacement parts in any kind of timely fashion–TSLA keeps dropping the ball on this and it’s a serious problem when they don’t have dealer networks to give support and fix things. Too many claims about charging improvements haven’t materialized and Elon never followed through with those promises to introduce models at a lower more affordable price-point, one of those things he used to hype up. Tesla’s basically in the luxury car category now but without anything like the dealer or mechanic support that ex. BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Audi, Mustang or Lexus have, not to mention most of them now have their own luxury EVs on the market that are a lot sleeker and more appealing, not to mention much easier to charge and repair.

        I get that Musk likes to “promise the moon” and get the media’s interest up, and it probably does hype up initial sales, but at one point this chronic over-promising and under-delivering carries a price because it becomes a pattern and even established Tesla owners start to grow impatient. It was bad enough with the Cybertruck fiasco and all the self-driving hype (and that would be better left out, with all the phantom-braking problems), but even more of a problem when it involves the company’s basic inventory and product lines. It’s a shame because I really liked the models I rode around in (rented or in friends’ vehicles) in months and years past, but it seems like the newer Teslas have actually gone down in quality and reliability, and the replacement parts and charging problems are especially frustrating.

  8. Island Teal says:

    Good article. More Dodge Ram trucks waiting for the Big Wheel upgrade and then ready to sit on your bumper at 80.🥳🥳

    • Depth Charge says:

      Zero down, $1,500 per month payments for “Harryhowmuchamonth.”

      • Einhal says:

        Drives me insane. Every time I go to buy a car, the idiot salesman starts with “How much are you looking to pay per month?” When I explain I’m not interested in his leases or financings and just want to know the price, he’s completely lost.

        • El Katz says:

          Because the salesman are trained in the “Four Square”. It’s how you bamboozle the unsuspecting customer that can’t do math. Getting to the selling price is not a key component of the “Four Square”. It’s the payment.

    • Depth Charge says:

      Years ago – probably 10 – I stumbled across a thread on a truck forum where some guy had purchased a brand new 1 ton diesel, then proceeded to upgrade almost every component of the suspension, along with engine modifications, new $10,000 transmission to handle the extra power, etc. I marveled at the amount of money some of these guys apparently had to throw at a new, depreciating asset, irrespective of the entry price of the vehicle itself. This guy was over $150k into the truck before it even had 5,000 miles on it.

      Mixed in with all of the “sick, dude!” comments from all the sycophants cheering him on were others asking things like “wow, how do you afford to do this? I want a job where I can afford it, too.” Because this was obviously 1 percenter territory. In fact, only the top 1/10 of 1 percent could probably afford and justify such an expensive pastime.

      Shortly after the truck was “finished,” the guy updated the thread with something like “got some bad news, guys, I’m gonna have to sell the truck or my wife is going to leave me. We have a new baby and need the money.” Then he proceeded to take the truck back apart and sell the performance parts for pennies on the dollar to other forum members, then sold off the truck itself that he “put back to stock.” He probably lost $30k, minimum. Turns out he wasn’t even a high earner, he was US military, buying everything on credit!

      This is the cheap money fake economy that Jerome Powell and company have created and nurtured over the past 15 years. We have a county full of “all hat and no cattle.”

      • Harrold says:

        I doubt he had a low interest loan.

      • random guy 62 says:

        Hahaha I chuckled reading this. It is a very real thing here in the Midwest.

        I know at least half a dozen guys whose trucks are wildly out of line with their incomes. Followed closely by $20-30k Polaris Rangers used mostly to drive down the same road the truck does.

        These guys really do tie a great deal of their self-worth to their truck. It’s a mating display and a status thing. Parking that thing in the garage is a symbol of success, finances be damned.

        One guy (particularly known locally for being all hat and no cattle) drives a $75,000 diesel dually, often with a giant empty trailer in tow on maybe $40-50k a year as a farm hand. Heard through the grape vine he couldn’t pay his heat bill, but plenty of women from surrounding towns are fooled by the big truck for a few weeks… and that’s long enough to get the job done.

        My college roommate got REALLY into tuning diesel trucks, then eventually gave it up after realizing it doesn’t make sense to spend tens of thousands of dollars and weeks of wrenching just to run a 12-second quarter mile between breakdowns.

        • Miller says:

          lol yeah have seen a lot of what you and DC are talking about here, guys spending way, way too much on their trucks and other vehicles while their wives way over-spend on luxury goods with their Gucci belts and Chanel bags. This goes on in a lot of places but it’s an especially American thing these days, getting over-extended on credit and living high on the hog with the fantasy attitude that “the debts will just inflate away” or “the value will go up” or (more commonly tbh) “it’ll all work itself out somehow”. This is why a lot of us who actually look at the numbers were already very suspicious about all the too-happy economic forecasts and claims about the economy for much of the last decade and esp the past two years–so much of that “economic boom” was just spending on credit and racking up debt in one way or another. This after all has been at the heart of this housing bubble and the everything bubble in general, and the US which was once known for valuing frugality and savings, has turned into basically running an economy on a vast excess of credit, courtesy of ZIRP and QE by the Federal Reserve up until this year.

          And I have absolutely seen many cases like the military guy Depth Charge mentions, who basically threw over $100K out the window on a vanity project with his built-up truck. He sounds like a similar example like those “software bros” on Reddit who go on bragging about their $250K salary as a software engineer as if that’s a normal thing (even SWE’s in the US in general don’t make anywhere close to that amount of money in general, not even in the Bay Area or Seattle, and the few places with very high salaries also have super high cost of living)–until then a few months later after a pause in posts for a few weeks, they come on admitting they weren’t actually making that kind of money at all (or their job wasn’t as secure as they thought), that all their luxury investments and purchases were largely bought on credit and now they’re behind on the rent for their $4K per month apartment or desperately seeking health insurance as they look for a new job. Or that showboater who always shows up to social occasions in a shiny red new-looking Porsche, dropping hints that he owns it outright before later admitting that he’s struggling to keep up with the car payments. So much of the apparent economic performance of the past few years has been a total mirage, and it’s another indicting of the historic blunder of the “wealth effect” created by the irresponsibly loose credit of Fed policy of the last decade (some would say the last 40 years). Although there have been some improvements in technology and productivity, most “GDP growth” in the past few years has been from inflating asset bubbles of one kind or another without adding any real value (and yet another reason why GDP is also a problem filled metric to say anything about a society’s real economic health). Especially with inflation way exceeding wage growth, the real buying power of Americans has actually gone down over the past couple years and people are much worse off, but these gaps and failures are papered over by the credit expansion and all the credit bubbles that created. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

          I’d normally just shake my head at such individuals like DC’s example who get in over their heads in debt, but problem is their irresponsible spending habits and willingness to get into debt winds up inflating prices for the rest of us too. When the US culture shifts so much to tolerating and even encouraging mass purchases on credit, costs for everything are pushed up, and even those of us who try to be frugal get dragged along because we’re also stuck with those inflated prices when we truly have to get something out of necessity. (Rents and mortgages being the ugliest example lately, not to mention vehicles of course) And this really has been a huge cultural shift that’s esp pronounced for the US. From our trips to Europe and Asia they certainly have a lot of their own distortions and dumb policies, but at least one thing in their favor is the people and communities still culturally value savings more and frown on those who consume way in excess (maybe also a reason why they have less obesity there), especially when that excessive consumption is done through debt purchases. And once again it’s another reason why the Fed blundered so hugely by keeping credit so unnecessarily loose for so long, because it encourages precise that kind of behavior.

  9. Island Teal says:

    Re EV trucks..Ford, Rivian, Lucid are being sold on BaT for mostly premium $ and less than 1000miles🤪🤪💵💵

  10. BS (ini) says:

    Inflation has moved to services per Wolf which is not effected as much by commodity pricing and energy pricing. IE Insurance

  11. All Good Here Mate says:

    Know what the last graph also shows? People intuitively try and find value. First American company doesn’t show up till halfway down. This is because outside of full-size trucks, the Americans haven’t made quality cars in decades- and everyone knows it. Everyone has some horror story of an American dog of a car they once owned and swore ‘never again’. However, like Wolf mentioned, many of the foreign brand vehicles are made in USA. Just kinda mind boggling how low Detroit standards sank for a quick buck and put all their eggs in the ‘full size truck basket’. Competition came in and held standards, used same workforce (actually improved both) and started kicking the home team’s rear-end all over the place.

    • 2banana says:

      Plenty of quality vehicles are made in America.

      Just not by American companies.

    • Russell says:

      All Good Here Mate – Not quite the same workforce. I don’t think any imports are made in Detroit.

    • Ted T. says:

      Worst new car I purchased in the last twenty years was a Volkswagen.

      • Dave says:

        I had a rabbit with manual trans in the mid 1990’s. One of the MOST fun cars I have ever owned.

        Timing went out so I proceeded to fix it. When I got down to the crankshaft gear to my complete amazement the crankshaft key slot had wallowed out. The key and gear were perfectly intact, But the crank shaft was jacked.

        That was the last VW I have ever owned

      • Staunton16 says:

        Depends on what you’re looking for. The EA888 engine VWAG uses is considered one of the best engines of all time, and a lot of their vehicles come with materials and amenities much that border on luxury level, but for economy prices. VW GTI MKVII is a great example of this.

    • eg says:

      I love a big North American V-8 sedan (I’ve enjoyed an Oldsmobile Aurora, a Lincoln LS and currently drive a 2011 Chrysler 300C). Yes, I am a proud dinosaur.

      I don’t buy them new, mind you. It’s their terrible reputation that makes their resale pricing so relatively attractive.

      I haven’t bought a new car since 1989.

      • rick m says:

        There’s an aesthetic richness to driving a 1970 Cadillac Coupe DeVille convertible into the setting sun in the desert in the American West on a broad interstate highway. No Kia or Honda or tesla will ever do anything like that for you.
        Hope Invest98 stays away from here. We have cars coming.

        • Ccat says:

          Yes, you have to be rich to afford to drive one of those! They were built for 29 cent a gallon gas!


    • Ervin says:

      Bull, my Lincoln has sticker on the windshield of the state of Kentucky. Where it was made. I have be driving it for 5 years , 69,000 miles and every one of the hundreds of “things” that work remotely, automatically and manually have NEVER failed. The 2 liter turbo is awesome.

  12. El Katz says:

    Apparently, the dealers are not happy with Toyota and Honda as they got beat up on the NADA Dealer attitude survey for not providing sufficient inventory to support demand.

    However, they (Toyota/Honda) look prescient for not abandoning their passenger car lines like Ford and GM did.

    RE: Mirror “chips”: for items like Homelink (garage door opener), autochromatic dimming, compass, rear view camera displays and the like. It’s not all about “adjusting” a mirror.

    • JeffD says:

      All stuff I don’t want or need.

      • El Katz says:

        You’re a minority in the new vehicle market and mass producers won’t bother to build variations for such a small market. Low content vehicles don’t sell. It’s been proven time and time again. Even the Asian brands don’t sell a crank window car any longer. The “Deluxe” trims died in the 1990’s due to lack of demand and a lack of profit.

    • Depth Charge says:

      “Mirror “chips”: for items like Homelink (garage door opener), autochromatic dimming, compass, rear view camera displays and the like. It’s not all about “adjusting” a mirror.”

      Of course it’s not, it’s about reporting you to the NSA, your insurance company, etc. It’s all spyware.

      • El Katz says:

        It’s not in your mirror. Many of those “features” are lodged in the “black box” and transmitted via the shark fin on the roof. That’s how things like “On*” work…. but they’re on cellular or network systems. The buttons are on the mirror but the guts that make it work are elsewhere. The generic word is “telemtatics” and yes, they can rat on you.

        • Depth Charge says:

          I didn’t say it was specifically in the mirror, my point is that these vehicles are loaded to the hilt with spyware, which requires lots of chips and tech. They are a police state’s wet dream come true. It’s shocking what’s become of the US. People now joke of your vehicle locking the doors and driving you to the police station for your arrest.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Serious question EK:
          When did telematics to the point of spyware start being installed?
          Can it be removed without serious consequences?


  13. Anthony A. says:

    Ford stock is taking a 10% hit today due to a surprise reduction in this forward quarter’s earnings estimate. Seems like supplier prices are going up faster than they realized. Time for Farley to announce another across the board price increase for Ford models.

  14. Depth Charge says:

    “A San Francisco Bay Area Ram dealer, for example, advertised today a new 2022 RAM 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4X4 truck at $8,479 below MSRP”

    I suppose that’s progress, but I’m sure they “only had 1 available at that price, and it’s been sold.” It’s just a ruse to get people in the door. You know how they roll, Wolf. “Conditional net price.”

    Still no 3500 work trucks available in any meaningful number. Prices through the roof, inventory non-existent. The largest Ram dealer on the west coast used to stock 500-750 of them. They don’t even have 20.

    I’m not sure what you’d call this production model by these manufacturers, but I’d call it an abject failure. Off-shoring all of the component production and relying upon a “just in time” model should be relegated to the dustbin of history.

    • El Katz says:

      Conditional net price has to do with the multiple discounts that not all customers may qualify for. The “BC” discounts are tied to “business centers” and, if you’re trying to purchase in SFO and you’re not a resident of that market, you do not qualify for that specific offer – but may for another in your area of residence. Ditto the “non-prime” cash which is for credit criminals that finance through Chrysler Capital. There are many disclaimers that the Feds and State governments require and the manufacturers and dealers are required to adhere to avoid fines and sanctions. It’s “for your protection”….

      Look at the manufacturer/distributor sites. Those are less likely to Mickey the offers. Same with dealer associations. Individual dealers play more loosely with the rules as they often sneak under the radar.

      The FTC can be annoying and consent decrees even more so.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Depth Charge,

      That dealer has a bunch of RAM 1500 listed on the website, and just glancing at them, all of them were heavily discounted. Note that many of the discount line items are from national and regional Stellantis programs and apply to all the trucks on the dealer’s lot, but some customers may not quality for all programs (so get that “condition” tag). There may also be dealer discounting per truck, and that may vary per trucks.

      I didn’t look for 3500 work trucks.

    • ru82 says:

      That would put the truck at $33k as MSRP for 2022 is $41.6K. In my neck of the woods that model is selling for $55k to $58k

      • Zero Sum Game says:

        The $51k MSRP in Wolf’s picture is on the top line, so it should be $43k as shown with the $8k discounted.

        • ru82 says:

          Gotcha…. Thanks….I did not write my post out well.

          If you go to the RAM Truck Web site, they say the RAM 1500 Bighorn MSRP is $41.6k. I was trying to articulate that $8k off would be awesome if I could find an MSRP in my area as stated on the national ramtrucks dot com site.

          But my local RAM dealer starting base price for the same model that Wolf posted is $58k. Even $51k would be 7k cheaper then best price I can find near me. But then again I live in flyover land and 20% of suburban people seem to own one of these big quad cab trucks.

    • Cytotoxic says:

      Off-shoring and just in time have saved consumers tons and tons of money and allowed us to invest that wealth more effectively. The production model works fine and has held up incredibly well given the pandemic and government response to it. Feel free to build a time machine and hop in it back to 1955 or something.

  15. JC says:

    A local Toyota dealer is installing a $25 dollar gadget on every new car that flashes the center brake light and is charging $1199.00 for it. Non-negotiable. I called Toyota corp and asked in writing it would not affect the factory warranty. They had the dealership call me. I asked the dealership in writing it would not affect the factory warranty. I took the opportunity to express this was an unethical act on their part. They are charging $1200 for a $25 part and maybe $75 in labor. And how they chose a safety device to further obfuscate their act. The caller said they would pass it on to the management team. They haven’t made a return call … As I was about to submit this comment, they called! After some back and forth they said they thought it was not the best to buy a car from them. Thank you, Toyota for the wonderful experience.

    • El Katz says:

      It’s not Toyota. It’s the “independent business” aka the dealer that is making the choice to screw you over. I was getting recall work done at a local dealership. They had a $4K addendum for basically nothing. The manufacturers can only publish a ‘suggested retail price”. The dealer is free to charge whatever the market will bear. It’s the law. Otherwise, it’s “price fixing” and a violation of anti-trust laws.

      Just don’t shop there. If enough people don’t, their tune will change. Dealers, as a group, have about as much foresight as a rock. They don’t recognize that the worm can turn and the “rule of 121” (which was a sales training story) will take effect. In essence, the rule of 121 means that for every customer you alienate they, in turn, will tell 11 people and those 11 will tell another 11 before the story runs it’s course.

      • Einhal says:

        Sorry, but the buck stops with the manufacturers. You choose to franchise, you bear the responsibility for when they do things that damage your brand.

        It’s not limited to cars, but to hotels, fast food restaurant chains, and so forth.

        If Toyota ran at a tighter ship regarding their franchises, these types of abuses wouldn’t happen.

        • El Katz says:

          Apparently, Einhal, you haven’t heard of dealer franchise laws that vary by state as well as Federal restraint of trade laws. They’re real and not written to the benefit of the franchisor. I bought a lot of popcorn to watch manufacturers try to launch new EV franchises and cut out their existing dealers. The auto dealer lobby is far more powerful than you think and the lightbulb came on at the VW dealer meeting as to what they are up to – lots of ink was spent on that.

          Once a manufacturer grants a franchise, it’s nearly impossible for them to get rid of the franchisee unless they default on the dealer agreement – and even then, if there’s no “first right of refusal” built into the dealer agreement or letter of intent, the offending dealer can sell it to his wife and, if she qualifies (if she’s on the corporate records as “secretary” even though she’s never been a part of the operations), it’s pretty much a shoo-in.

          If you read the mouseprint on a Monroney label (that’s that thing plebes call “the sticker”) it lines out what control the factory has over pricing and sales tactics. The rest is up to the dealer and state or Federal laws. If you were to call consumer relations, they’ll go into the spiel about dealers being “free and independent businessmen” and not subject to franchisor demands.

          Yes, there are tools that can be wielded against a dealer, but you had better not get caught using them. Lawyers are expensive.

        • Harrold says:

          Its against the law in many states for Toyota to sell cars directly to the consumer. These laws are in place to protect the customer from being over charged.

        • Flea says:

          Bought a 1980 Suzuki 1100 motorcycle in 1980 ,never ran right dealer wanted 100$ to fix broken carburetor.Under warranty bought brand new ,took too another dealer still charged me 100$ .Wrote a letter too Suzuki corp ,they visited dealer almost pulled his dealership . Treated me very well after this experience

        • Einhal says:

          El Katz, I know what the laws are. I believe the manufacturers are far more powerful if they were to dedicate their lobbying power, but the current arrangement suits them okay.

          It’s outrageous that you can’t buy direct, just like it’s outrageous that many states make you buy insurance from some idiot agent.

          The funeral home industry is another racket.

        • Sams says:

          El Katz, what do stop the automakers from starting their own “franchised” sales network?

          All fully owned and controlled by a shell company in a country with suitable law and regulations?

          Arranged to give full control of the sales network, but complying to the letter of the law.

  16. Rob says:

    Great article. I was looking at buying a new Ford Maverick Hybrid but the order banks close today, and opened only 5 days ago. Between demand and short supply it’ll be years before I feel comfortable paying for either a new or used vehicle.
    Guess I’ll wait for all those stimmied-buyers to get short on cash and pick up a used Mav on the cheap once the economy is crashing down around them.

    • Depth Charge says:

      There’s still way too much money and credit chasing prices higher. This is why Jerome Powell f**ed up real bad. They waited 18 months to do what needed to be done. In turn, it set fire to everything. We need a lockdown on credit and a massive recession to cull demand, which is not waning in the least.

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        We need increases in QT and interest rates. Let Supply and Demand take care of itself.

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          The 3 month t-bill is the pied piper of the EFFR, the FED’s QE and MBS charades are to blame.

    • Harrold says:

      Stimulus money was spent a long time ago.

  17. Laughing Lion says:

    Wolf, out of curiosity, why are sold cars in transit still counted as “inventory”?

    • El Katz says:

      That’s simple: In transit means that they will be available for sale within an 2 to 10 day shipping cycle – depending on dealer distance from the “port” (the distribution yards are “free trade zones” and therefore considered “ports” and the vehicle does not enter the country until it crosses the fence line).

      The cars in transit to a dealer that are sold require the dealer to put a customer’s name on the car to remove it from available inventory through their DCS (Dealer Communication System). Since most dealers don’t assign a VIN to a customer order, that’s rarely done. Other dealers put a “John Doe” on the in transit cars that are or aren’t sold to make their inventory look more dire and possibly be awarded extra allocations. Others will online transfer a vehicle to another dealer in the hope that they won’t figure it out in an attempt to reduce their inventory for additional allocation consideration. In other words, it can be gamed.

  18. breamrod says:

    I walked by a jeep dealership in north Atlanta on Sat. They were stocked full it seemed. At 65K a pop my first thought was ” for a jeep”?

    • ru82 says:

      Yep. Same thing here. So full they almost do not have room for more vehicles. Empty just 2 months ago. They even have 4 or 5 PHEVs but they start at $65k while the normal jeep wrangler is $42k. Your not going to save $20k in Gas over its lifetime.

    • Depth Charge says:

      They’ve got $80k+ Jeep Wranglers now. But the FED didn’t see any bubbles……This is a credit bubble first and foremost.

    • _ says:

      Grand wagoneer at $100k no thanks

  19. Michael Engel says:

    1) DXY is 110, oil & gold are down, GM already retraced 70% of the move from Mar 2020 low.
    2) If DXY reach 120 oil will range between 60’s and 70’s and GM might
    retrace 88% of the move from Mar 2020 low.
    3) Mary Barra is fully committed to EV. EV should be an option. Crank doors are better than spying techno antenna and 10 computers for your rear mirror with VIN codes written by silicon valley programmers.
    4) What’s the difference between home builders, GM & Ford ==> none.
    5) Cars with Solar Tires have more value than solar panels on the roof.

  20. TheFalcon says:

    I just put about $2,200 into my older high miles Lexus to get it tip top mechanically. I’m going to order new carpet mats, have the leather buffed out and have the door dings knocked out and get it looking great, and drive it for another few years. We’ll see what used car prices look like in 2024. My guess is lower.

  21. Duke says:

    Tesla produced 80, 000 cars in Shanghai in August. That is approaching 1 million cars a year from one factory. Tesla has five factories all being upgraded to similar production lines. You do the math. The news last week was Tesla for the first time is no longer battery constrained. This means not only can they make as many cars as the production line can speed them through but they can also ramp up their energy storage business for utilities and residential. Wait times for ordering a Tesla have gone from 6 months to 6 weeks depending on the model.

    • NoPrep says:

      Your paragraph tastes like Kool-aid to me. Sorry. By chance, do you have a verifiable source for this information?

    • Greg Hamilton says:

      Shanghai is their most profitable plant. It is in Tesla’s best interest to produce as many cars there as possible. Many are exported from Shanghai to Europe and Australia. Also Tesla cars are perhaps the easiest to assemble and require fewer parts due to giga castings, octovalves and dashboard layouts. If everyone is forced to go EV I don’t give the legacy automakers much of a chance. They have no idea what they are up against.

      • NoPrep says:

        So a looming battery shortage, a possibility that worries Rivian CEO Scaringe greatly, is gonna be a mirage and unfounded concern? We will see. The world for sure is many many years away from “everyone forced to go EV”, if such a thing is actually even close to possible.

    • cd says:

      Must have seen 15 fully loaded Carriers with Tesla’s heading down to Los Angeles on 5 today from Bay Area.

    • andy says:


      Tesla is on huge sale at $300-ish level now. Back up you your frunk before it goes back to $1,200. Thank me later.

  22. Michael Engel says:

    1) Duke, great news : Tesla waiting time is down from half a year to one month.
    2) The Dow was down today to close July 14/15 gap, because Salesforce replaced XOM.
    3) Tomorrow, JP in the UN, might send dxy down, because the world no longer care about the UN, because Putin and Xi aren’t there…

  23. Walt Verit says:

    Manufacturers still haven’t learned that people want SMALL trucks. Not the bloated, giant-four-door-cab/tiny-bed “small” trucks they keep forcing on buyers. The Maverick is a great example of this failure. Actually, the new Ranger is a great example, and the Maverick is just as absurd. Ford’s own publicity pictures show that you can’t even fit a few articles of furniture in the bed.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Walt Verit,

      “The Maverick is just absurd”

      The Maverick is a huge success. The 2023 (!) order bank is already closing as we speak. Ford totally nailed it with this affordable fuel-efficient 4-door baby truck. If it’s too small for you, so OK, you can buy a Ranger or an F-150, or whatever.

  24. LordSunbeamTheThird says:

    Inflation wave aside, looks also like the companies overstocking is also based on the company home culture attitude, whether fear of failure, or greed of success.
    As I think they must all be in the know about each others production methods.

  25. Eastwind says:

    Which category would a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited be in?

    If anyone knows please.

  26. DV says:

    What does this situation tell us?

    First – the automakers stopped producing low-margin “cars”. It simply does not make any sense for them, except if the prices go much higher and margins improve, but there is a big question of whether there will be demand at higher prices.

    Second – the manufacturing, including car-making, is not a viable business long-term with current energy prices. While some automakers appear to enjoy hefty margins and are very profitable, this is not going to last. Fewer and fewer people will be able to afford new vehicles and that in turn would result in fewer cars being produced and higher margins being required to justify their production, because of the fixed costs.

    There is another consideration. The major automakers seem to have elected to convert small and medium sized segments to EVs first, so they stopped investing in small ICE vehicle both in terms of design and manufacturing, even already converting some small car plants to EVs. And now we have (as was widely predicted) the power problem and you would rather see fewer EVs being sold for some time.

  27. nemo300blk says:

    Last week, we replaced a corp owned 2019 KR F250 with 150K miles on it for a 2022 Platinum F150 that was a special order someone backed out of. We had a 2022 Limited F250 ordered in January but the salesman said it isn’t coming this model year.

    The 2019 F250 had an $82K sticker, it was purchased for $77K, and they gave us $45K on trade and $1K off MSRP on the 150.

  28. Michael Gaff says:

    All of this crap about new cars is more than fascinating to me. My 1936 Cord is still doing fine, not to mention my 1999 GMC pickup. The least reliable car in my fold is the 2002 BMW 525I. It goes without saying that my stock 1979 Corvette is a hoot. Our 2007 Volvo was fine until the surpentine belt broke and cost more than a thousand dollars to replace.
    What a joke. I tried to replace it like I used to do in my good ole Cadillacs, but it wasn’t possible. If there is ever a bounty on automotive engineers, i will contribute to the pool.

  29. Michael Gaff says:

    By the way, I paid exactly $900 for my 2002 BMW 525I. I can barely stand the little thing, but it still runs. I PAID EXACTLY $2,000 for the 2007 Volvo XC90, and was happy until I couldn’t replace the stinking serpentine belt for less than a thousand dollars. What a rip-off design.
    My 1936 Cord runs every time that i ask it too, and there is nothing on it that I can’t fix, nothing.
    The 1979 Corvette, with a very modest 350 CI engine is running pretty well with almost 50,000 miles on it.
    You people crack me up.

  30. Cynical Engineer says:

    I think even Toyota is having to build with missing components.

    I just took delivery of a 2022 4Runner, and lurking in the infotainment system was a couple of warning messages for the Pre-Collision and Vehicle Stability Control systems that were dated back to the build date. My guess is that it rolled off the line with those missing and were installed later, but somebody forgot to clear the messages.

    I got the truck for MSRP, but it was a fight….most of the dealers were quoting between $1k and $5k “additional dealer markup.” Drove 90 miles to a dealer in a rural area that was willing to sell at MSRP.

    On-lot inventory is effectively 0. In most cases, the used vehicles on the lot have been marked up to over MSRP for a new vehicle.

    Unfortunate because my default is for a used vehicle, but with prices that high, it makes no sense to buy somebody else’s problems for 90+% of the cost of brand new. The only reasonable prices were on ex-rental fleet, and having seen what happens to those, I won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole.

    • Rich Stone says:

      Dealers are thugs and rip off artist. The states need to allow consumers to buy directly from OEM’s. Give freedom of choice to car buyers to go direct bypassing blackmailing dealers.

  31. JeffD says:

    Repo rates increasing. Car auctions freezing up — no bidders. Look for carmageddon within the next three months.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Repo rates were at HISTORIC lows during the pandemic, and they’re ticking up from historic lows, but are still historically low. Lot’s of BS about repos circulating around out there.

      Car auctions are NOT freezing up. That’s just more BS. I’m in touch with the company that owns Manheim, the largest auto auction house in the US, and auctions are doing just fine, though prices have come down some, which is a good thing, after having spiked maniacally. Prices need to come down further, but they’re very sticky, it seems.

      You can read their auction reports online, mid-month and end-of-month, and I cover them periodically.

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