2010 buick lacrosse first drive 015

2010 buick lacrosse first drive 015

Buick is getting some fresh new thinking from General Motors, and not all of it is in the product lineup. Instead of carrying a large inventory of vehicles on dealer lots, Buick will limit its output of the new 2010 LaCrosse, running with a 75 to 90-day supply, says BUick vice president Susan Docherty.

Smaller, nimbler carmakers like Acura often carry small - by industry standards - inventories of the vehicles they sell to limit overproduction, and therefore the amount of vehicles they're forced to discount heavily.

Even Buick's 75-90 day goal is a bit on the large side, however, as Acura and parent company Honda consider a 60-day supply the ideal situation, reports Bloomberg.

Keeping stock short might seem counter-intuitive when the goal is to boost sales, but it's really profitability - not sheer volume - that counts. And when a carmaker doesn't have to liquidate huge amounts of cars at prices that eat into or eliminate profit, or even sell at a loss, that means more money goes to the bottom line even if fewer total cars are sold.

In today's market, which is still falling short of a SAAR of 10 million units, finding ways to improve profitability with lower volumes isn't just a good idea - it's key to survival.

The Buick plan is part of GM's larger strategy to reduce its vehicle inventory from the 904,000 cars it had at the end of last year to about 550,000 by the end of 2009. For more on the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, check out our first drive review.