In a weird turn of events, American dealerships are close to running out of trucks.
With production slowed (or stopped altogether) due to the pandemic, North American automakers haven’t been running any new pickups off the assembly lines. The result is that dealer inventory is down to a 30-day supply. While that may seem like a reasonable cushion, it’s really not. It’s considerably less than it was just one year ago. However, people are still buying trucks.
“With North American auto plants closed since mid-March to protect workers from contracting COVID-19, the most sought-after vehicles have become tough to find. Some dealers say they are starting to run short on full-size pickups as a result of the generous financing offers rolled out as the coronavirus pandemic torpedoed the economy.”
“Because of the industry wide shutdown, light-duty pickup inventory in the U.S. could fall to 400,000 by the end of this month and plunge to 260,000 by midyear, according to J.D. Power. That’s compared with an inventory of more than 700,000 in May and June of last year.”
As plans to reopen businesses start to emerge, there is growing concern. Since some states seem determined to open more quickly than others, America could actually run out of trucks to sell.
The virus isn’t the only thing impacting a supply shortage. A 40-day strike by the United Auto Workers in 2019 also limited production long before stay-at-home orders were enacted.
With sales slumping, many dealers are starting to offer better deals to buyers. While price cuts and attractive finance offers will help keep trucks moving off lots, there’s nothing dealers can do to replenish their inventories. They can only wait patiently and hope that manufacturers get the green lights to re-open safely.