It was an up-and-down month for the automotive basket of metals. Chinese primary lead dropped 12.1%, while LME copper shot up 4.6%.
Bucking historical trends, palladium continued to be hotter than its fellow platinum-group metal, platinum. Palladium rose 5.1% on the month, while platinum posted a modest 0.8% gain.
Ford Drives October Sales
Ford Motor Co. led the way this past month, according to sales data released by Autodata Corp.
Ford’s October sales rose 6.4% year-over-year, although year-to-date sales through the month are down 1.9% compared to the same time frame last year.
General Motors, meanwhile, saw a 2.3% year-over-year dip in October with 252,614 units sold in the U.S. market. In the year to date, GM’s sales are down 1.0%.
Despite the drops in year-to-date sales, both GM and Ford are doing well in one particular market: trucks.
While there is increasing momentum behind electric vehicles (EVs) and greener energy, in general, light truck sales for both GM and Ford are up, 6.6% and 3.6%, respectively, through the first 10 months of the year. Across all automotive brands, light trucks sales were up 3.6% year-over-year in October, and are up 4.3% through the first 10 months of the year.
Even so, as our Stuart Burns wrote last week, the big brands are preparing for the future.
“The auto industry is certainly going through challenging times. In some quarters there is an expectation the established old order will be swept away by new challengers, such as Tesla,” he wrote. “The fact is, however, the incumbents have a huge depth of experience in supply chains, manufacturing, marketing and distribution.
“After an arguably slow start, they are moving swiftly to both develop new technologies in-house and to buy smaller firms in areas they recognize they lack the skills or expertise.”
Down the sales list, Fiat Chrysler saw a 13.2% year-over-year drop in October. Fiat sales are down 8.4% in the year to date.
Speaking of EVs, it wasn’t the best month for Tesla. Again, small sample sizes notwithstanding, Tesla’s October sales were down 15.9% year-over-year (although they’re up 18.5% for the year to date).
Meanwhile, Toyota (up 1.1%), Honda (up 0.9%), Nissan (up 8.4%) and Volkswagen (up 10.7%) all posted sales in October.
BMW Recalls 1 Million Vehicles
In general automotive news, BMW announced Friday it was recalling 1 million vehicles in North America, Reuters reported.
According to the report, the recalls — most of which are in the U.S. — are related to two separate vehicle fire risks. Per BMW spokesman Michael Rebstock, the vehicle recalls could expand to other countries.
Actual Metal Prices and Trends
U.S. HDG steel dropped 0.5% to $756/short ton. U.S. platinum bars rose 0.8% to $917/ounce, while palladium bars rose 5.1% to $975/ounce.
Chinese primary lead dropped 12.1% to $2,845.87/metric ton.
LME copper rose 4.6% to $6,830/mt.
U.S. shredded scrap steel fell 6.3% to $281/st.
Korean aluminum coil rose 2.6% to $3.58/kilogram.