The popularity of cars can be measured by several factors. Among these are total unit sales in a year, market share versus direct competitors, and sales improvement year-over-year. The best measure is none of these. Rather, it is the availability of a particular model on any given day, week or month. The auto manufacturing industry calls this measure “days to turn” or “time on lot.” The average car or light truck takes 50 or 60 days to sell once a dealer gets it. Some models can stay on lots for more than 90 days. The vehicles that are in really great demand are on lots for fewer than 20 days, and sometimes closer to 10.
An analysis of cars that sit on dealer lots for the least time finds that they fall into three groups. The first consists of extremely expensive cars, with sticker prices above $50,000 or even $100,000. The next group is inexpensive sports cars. The third is cars that get very high mileage, including hybrids. Most of the cars and light trucks that have tight inventory have been on the market for several years. The Ford Escape and Subaru Impreza are examples of economy-priced cars that have sold well for five years or more.
The price range of vehicles that are in tight supply is surprisingly wide, and the range of car types is equally broad. The list includes cars that cost less than $25,000 and two that cost more than $100,000, as well as heavy SUVs and light economy cars with small engines.
Based on November 2012 days-to-turn data for vehicles sold in the United States, provided by Edmunds.com, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 models that spend the shortest time on the lot. Edmunds also provided annual sales for these models dating back to 2007, as well as the first 11 months of sales for 2012. We also identified base MSRP of these models, as well as additional features from manufacturer websites.
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