Automotive MMI: Automakers See Average Transaction Price Surge

The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 2.1% this month, down to an MMI reading of 94 for November.
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Automotive Chart November 2018 FNL

U.S. Auto Sales

It’s quarterly earnings reports season once again.
Last week, General Motors reported its third-quarter earnings, posting third-quarter revenue of $38.5 billion, up 6.4% compared with Q3 2017. It also reported EBIT-adjusted income of $3.2 billion, up 25% year over year, and income of $2.5 billion.
GM saw North American sales of 833,712 units. Meanwhile, within the U.S. GM delivered 700,000 vehicles at an average transaction price of $36,000, up about $800 year over year and $4,000 above the industry average. The North American sales total for the quarter, however, was down 9.8% compared with Q3 2017.
Ford Motor Co. also recently reported its Q3 results, posting net income of $1.0 billion. In October U.S. sales, Ford saw a 3.9% year-over-year decline, even seeing a 4.9% drop in its truck sales. However, SUV sales rose 6.7% year over year.
Like GM, Ford saw an increase in average transaction prices. Ford’s overall average transaction price reached $36,800 in October (up $1,400 from last year).
Last week, Ford announced a two-year autonomous vehicle project with China’s Baidu, Inc.
“Working with a leading tech partner like Baidu allows us to leverage new opportunities in China to offer innovative solutions that improve safety, convenience and the overall mobility experience,” said Sherif Marakby, president and CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, in a release. “This project marks a new milestone in the partnership between Ford and Baidu, and supports Ford’s vision to design smart vehicles that transform how we get around.”
Fiat Chrysler this week reported U.S. sales of 177,391 vehicles in October, up 16% year over year.
Honda saw its total sales drop 4.1% year over year in October. Honda truck sales in the U.S., however, jumped 6.5% year over year, while cars fell 14.5%.
Nissan’s October sales were down 10.6% in October year over year, with a 15.4% jump in INFINITI sales and a 13.0% drop in Nissan division sales.
Toyota’s October U.S. sales rose 1.4% by volume, but fell 2.2% on a daily selling rate basis.
Overall, auto sales in October were up 0.4% year over year, according to Automotive News.

Sales in China

GM’s sales were also down in China, where it sold 835,934 units, down 14.9% year over year. Chevrolet sales in China, however, were up 10% year over year, GM reported, “led by higher content crossovers including the Equinox, which saw 29 percent growth compared to a year ago.”
However’s GM’s Cadillac brand also performed well in China. Cadillac sales were up 4% year over year in the third quarter and are up 20% in the year to date.
In September, auto sales in China fell by the greatest amount in seven years, Reuters reported.

Electric Vehicle Developments

According to a report, an E.U.-funded project has developed an alternative heating system for electric vehicles (EVs) that would help reduce energy consumption and improve EV range.
“To warm up the cabin, energy must be extracted from the car’s batteries, which greatly affects the electric vehicle’s range,” Ute Maxi, coordinator for the E.U.-funded MAXITHERM project, was quoted as saying. “This limited range – especially in cold weather – is a significant roadblock to the mass uptake of electric vehicles in Europe.”

Actual Metal Prices and Trends

U.S. HDG steel fell 1.9% down to $1,003/st.
Meanwhile, the platinum-palladium spread narrowed slightly this past month. U.S. platinum bars rose 2.6% to $835/ounce, while palladium bars fell 0.3% to $1,067/ounce.
U.S. shredded scrap steel dropped 2.3% to $342/st.
Following last month’s surge, LME copper retraced, dropping 2.6% to $6,180/mt.
Chinese lead rose 0.5% to $2,692.21/mt.
MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2019 buying strategies for carbon steel
Korean aluminum coil dropped 4.2% to $3.61/kilogram.

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