Chevrolet Equinox inventory could hit a five-year low this month as a strike at a General Motors plant in Canada continues into its third week.
Production of the compact crossover at CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, Ont., has been idled since Sept. 17. Workers walked off the job after bargainers for Canadian union Unifor and the company hit a roadblock in contract talks over job security.
Stockpiles of the Equinox, GM's second-best-selling nameplate in the United States, are quickly drying up, despite the automaker's attempts to ramp up Equinox production at two plants in Mexico to supplement Canadian output.
U.S. inventory dropped to 43,453 vehicles, or a 41-day supply, at the beginning of October, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Estimated inventory stood at an all-time high of 74,400 units, or a 66-day supply, in June.
"That's going to be hard on Equinox to compete on such a limited quantity in such a hot segment," said Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell.
Since the June peak, Equinox inventory has dropped on average about 10,300 units per month. If that pace continues, it would mark the lowest Equinox inventory level in the United States since 30,900 vehicles in August 2012.
GM has downplayed the significance.
"We believe we have sufficient inventory and production to meet demand while negotiations continue," GM said in a statement to Automotive News.
A handful of U.S. Chevrolet dealers at the end of September told Automotive News their Equinox inventories hadn't been impacted by the strike but said it was only a matter of time if the walkout continued.
GM and Unifor bargainers have met daily since the strike began but remain far apart in settling economic and job security issues, the union said in a blog post Oct. 5. Union leaders fear GM could shift Canadian Equinox output and jobs to Mexico, as the automaker did this year when it sent GMC Terrain crossover production from CAMI to a Mexican plant. GM is producing the Equinox at its San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe plants in Mexico. However, production is not at the volume of CAMI.
The Union and automaker said they were not going to negotiation over the Thanksgiving weekend but are scheduled to resume talks Oct. 10.