GM to idle car production at five factories as Americans continue CUV love affair

GM's 87-day new vehicle supply is far above the industry-prescribed 60 to 70 days.

In case you needed another reminder that Americans have fallen out of love with sedans, General Motors today announced plans to idle five factories in January in a bid to cut its inventory to 70 days.

Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly ( Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Volt and Impala) and Fairfax Assembly in Kansas ( Chevy Malibu) will stop production for three weeks. Lansing Grand River ( Cadillac ATS and CTS, and Chevy Camaro) is going down for two weeks, while Lordstown, OH ( Chevy Cruze) and Bowling Green, KY ( Chevy Corvette) will go idle for a week each, Automotive News reports.

GM's shutdown reflects a broader problem with the company's supply – at 847,000 vehicles, the company's supply increased unsteadily from a low of 629,000 units in January of 2016. That's more than a 25 percent increase in the past year. Citing information from Autodata, The Detroit News reports that at the end of November, GM had a 168-day supply of LaCrosses, 177 days' worth of Camaro, 170 days of Corvette, 121 days for Cruze, 119 days for ATS, 132 days for CTS, and 110 days of CT6.

Meanwhile, inventory of the company's more popular vehicles is actually below the professionally accepted 60- to 70-day supply, The News reports. The Trax, Colorado pickup, and GM's full-size SUVs are sitting below 50 days and experiencing year-over-year sales increases. GM needs a rethink of its inventory levels, which is something that's apparently coming.

"We're going to be responsible in managing our inventory levels," GM spokesman Jim Cain told The News. Another unnamed spokesman told Automotive News the company's day-to-day supplies would "fluctuate before moderating at year-end." But at least one analyst thinks this won't be the last time Detroit needs to stop production to level things out.

"Incentives are elevated, residuals are declining, and rates are rising," Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays, told The News. "And while GM in particular may benefit in the months ahead from new product launches, it's important to recognize that GM's inventory is elevated at the moment, and it wouldn't surprise us if they need to announce another production cut – which could pressure the stock."

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