Automakers might be pressing too much manufacturing pedal to the metal, with inventories reaching a five-year high, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
About 3.27 million new cars are now sitting on U.S. lots, according to Automotive News. That's enough inventory to equip every man, woman and child in the state of Iowa with a new vehicle, and just slightly less than the number of iPhones added to Verizon Communications Inc.'s network last quarter.
A year ago, there were 2.7 million vehicles in inventory; summer 2011 saw an inventory of about 1.7 million cars.
Few auto execs are singing the fat inventory blues. Interest rates are still relatively low and car loans are easy to come by, even for those with poor credit. There is pent-up demand because the 2008 recession spooked so many drivers into holding on to the old clunker for a little while longer.
Roughly 100 million cars in the U.S. are between seven and 12 years old, the "sweet spot" for high-maintenance repairs, according to Bloomberg analyst Kevin Tynan. At the pace Americans were buying cars last month, dealers can sell the current backlog in 61 days, which Tynan calls a "manageable" number. In January, supply was at 75 days.