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7 Car Brands With The Tightest Inventory - Why Subaru Ranks Number One

Why is it hard to find some Subaru models like the 2021 Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek? See why Subaru has the tightest inventory of any automaker.

Which car brands have the tightest inventory? A new report from Automotive News (by subscription) says Subaru of America has the tightest inventory of any car brand. The data compiled by Cox Automotive reveals Subaru had the tightest inventory at 38 days at the end of February 2021.

The Automotive News, Research and Data Center says Ford declined to 58 days from 70, Toyota dipped to 43 days from 49, and Hyundai-Kia decreased to 63 days from 70 days from a month earlier. Honda had the highest inventory at 80 days.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback
photo credit Schumacher Subaru

Cox analysis shows some car brands have more than 100 days' supply. Among them: Buick, Acura, Infiniti, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Volkswagen. Fiat had the highest, at 204 days.

Why does Subaru have the tightest inventory at 38 days?

It may be hard for customers to find the most popular 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek trims and colors they want. It's party due to three reasons. The global COVID pandemic shut down Subaru plants last year, and they are still recovering. The recent microchip shortage also idled Subaru plants this year.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback
photo credit Competition Subaru

The third reason is that Subaru of America likes to keep inventory levels low. Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll says, "We like to keep it low, and one less is better than one more."

Subaru keeps inventory levels low on all its new vehicles, which contribute to higher resale values. According to Kelly Blue Book's (KBB) 2021 Best Resale Value Awards, Subaru earned four individual segment honors.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek scored best Subcompact SUV, 2021 Subaru Forester wins Compact SUV, 2021 Subaru Outback took home the best Midsize SUV 2-row, and Impreza is the Best Compact Car.

The good news is, Subaru had the tightest supply of cars of any automaker at 29 days on January 1, 2021, and had 38 days at the end of February 2021. So Subaru has improved from the start of the new year.

While it may be hard to find the most popular 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek trims and colors, Subaru of America now has nine more days supply, and inventory is improving.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Main image Adventure Subaru


Shoshanah Stone (not verified)    June 19, 2021 - 1:43AM

I sold a very low milage 2007 Subaru Forester last October. I put it on Facebook Marketplace at about 2am and when I woke up I had over 100 people who wanted my car. This was in Anchorage, AK. There was zero negotiation and it was all cash. It took less than 24 hours. I also had people who didn’t get the car swearing at me and being very inappropriate. It was nuts.

John Koch (not verified)    July 3, 2021 - 11:04PM

Well congrats to Tom Doll of Subaru. Your policy of one less is better than one more just resulted in this 4 Subaru family in buying a Hyundai Kona. We were looking for a Subaru Impreza to replace our 17 year old Legacy wagon. Three dealers informed us that any Impreza coming in was already sold. The Hyundai dealee was happy to suggest a Kona instead.
Subaru's planning/marketing turned a multi generational Subaru family into a Hyundai family.