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Pickup demand strong in Texas where Toyota Tundra is built.

Shortage of Large Pickups Expected Due to COVID-19

Large pickups have continued to sell relatively well compared with other vehicle segments, especially in less-restricted, truck-heavy markets such as Dallas, according to J.D. Power data.

As states relax business shutdowns, customers are returning to showrooms faster than manufacturers can ramp up new-vehicle production, and that’s likely to produce shortages of popular models in some markets, notably large pickup trucks, according to J.D. Power.

“We could have a situation where inventory is very lean,” even though the overall average days-supply may look adequate, says Thomas King, president of the J.D. Power Data & Analytics Division and chief product officer.

“It’s not distributed equally. There are going to be some pockets of constraint,” King says in a webinar this week.

In particular, that could affect large pickups. According to J.D. Power data, large pickups have continued to sell relatively well vs. other vehicle segments, especially in less-restricted, truck-heavy markets like Dallas.

That hurts, because large pickups are typically highly profitable. Domestic automakers say they’re prioritizing fullsize pickups and SUVs once production resumes next week, with new safety protocols.

Import brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Honda, Tesla, Toyota, Volvo and Subaru all have announced plans to restart U.S. production by this week, and the Detroit 3 are expected to restart beginning Monday, May 18, J.D. Power says.

Industry inventory should be around a 65-days’ supply as production restarts. However, the firm says, “May production will likely be at lower run rates and/or disrupted by supply chain issues once plants re-open.”

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