The U.S. auto industry, battered early last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, generally recovered sales by the end of the year. This year should be even better. Not only have car companies launched new models, but they are counting on the appeal of the next generation of electric cars, with Elon Musk’s Tesla already in the vanguard of that market. Yet, some car companies found several models they could not move off lots. Based on industry standards, dealers usually have 20% of a year’s unit sales in inventory so they can satisfy customer demand. At the end of last year, one model had almost 100% of a year’s inventory in stock across the manufacturer’s dealer network, an astronomically high number.
iSeeCars looked at a total of 700,000 cars in inventory at America’s dealers. It said, “the average new model has 22.5 percent of its inventory remaining from 2020.” At the end of the list with the least inventory in stock is the Volkswagen Atlas. It is had 0.03% of its 2020 inventory in stock at the end of 2020.
The Atlas has a base price of $31,555. It has a Cross Sport model that starts at $30,855. The fully-loaded SEL Premium is priced at $47,225. The sport utility vehicle gets solid, but not extraordinary reviews and ratings. U.S. News gives it a rating of 7.9 out of 10. Edmunds also rates it 7.9 out of 10. And Car & Driver rated it 7 out of 10, as well as ranks it 17th in the SUV category. That is well behind leaders Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade. The car magazine said about the latest Atlas:
The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas has the boxy appearance, cavernous interior, and vast practicality that have defined SUVs for decades. It’s also one of the biggest mid-size crossovers, with a giant footprint that gives way to three spacious rows of seating. VW apparently wanted the Atlas to look and feel like a hospital room, but it offset that sterile aesthetic with loads of desirable features.
The Atlas benefits because it is in the hot midsized SUV category. Among the other vehicles on the iSeeCars list of vehicles with tiny inventories are other vehicles in the segment: the Chevrolet Tahoe (2.6%), Lexus GX460 (3.7%), Hyundai Palisade (3.9%) and Infiniti QX50 (4.5%).
It is important to remember that demand is not the only factor in dealer stock inventory. A manufacturer may not have made enough of any model to meet demand, which could account for a low number. However, the fact that SUVs are in such extraordinary demand is supported by the fact that the Atlas is on this list, and it could certainly make the list for 2021.