Cars on lots, deals galore: wacky high Mopar inventories

FCA US, sometimes referred to as “Mopar” (the name of its parts division), had all four of the highest-inventory marques at the end of October, according to Cox Automotive. This includes vehicles in inventory and those in transit.

inventories October 2023

The Hornet threw Dodge off somewhat, as many cars are in transit rather than inventory, and the days’ supply is at the awkward stage of “just starting to sell more than a few.” That may explain Dodge’s seemingly insane 186 days of inventory. Another explanation is that dealers wanted months of stock of Chargers and Challengers to make up for the factory shutting down months before new models are produced.

All of the Stellantis marques had absurdly high inventories, though; Jeep was the smallest with 123 days’ supply, compared to the 40-60 days considered to be healthy. There are reasons for this as well. First, company executives probably expected a general strike across all plants, and built up stock to withstand a long struggle. This was the first time the UAW has targeted high-profit plants with mainly domestic competitors rather than entire companies or specific plants where they were relatively strong.

The second reason might be, for Jeep at least, higher interest rates conflicting with hefty price increases over the past few years. These could be laughed away while monthly payments stayed roughly similar as prices rose but interest dropped; but with interest rates rising, suddenly a $60,000 Wrangler or Gladiator is not quite so easy to fit into the budget. One correspondent noted that Seattle Jeep is taking $15,000 off leases on several Sahara 4xe models.

Ram is switching from 2024 to 2025 models, and may be building up a supply of trucks to last through the release of the new models—but then, Ram wouldn’t need to advertise “10% below MSRP” on television ads. Chrysler, with just two models, may have some inventory buildup as well to keep 300s in stock until the 2025s, but it’s quite likely that this isn’t the main reason they have three months’ supply.

Chevrolet is at 66 days of inventory; Toyota and Honda are below 40; and Hyundai is right at the overall figure of 67 days. Ford is at 95 days.

The end result has been a number of good deals for buyers as dealers try to clear out inventory.

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