Automotive MMI: GM Strike Ends After 40 Days; PSA, Fiat Chrysler to Merge

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Steven Husk/Adobe Stock

The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) ticked up one point for an MMI reading of 86.

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U.S. Auto Sales

As mentioned in previous reports, the top three automakers in the U.S. — General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler — all now report sales on a quarterly basis.

GM reported net income of $2.3 billion in the third quarter, down 8.7% on a year-over-year basis. GM delivered 739,000 vehicles in the third quarter, up 6% on a year-over-year basis.

Ford reported third-quarter net income of $400 million, down from $1 billion in Q3 2018.

Fiat Chrysler’s worldwide shipments fell 9% “primarily due to continued dealer stock discipline in North America.”

Honda’s U.S. sales rose 7.6% in October, with its truck sales rising 15%. For the year through October, Honda’s U.S. sales are up 0.6% compared with the same period in 2018.

Toyota Motor North America saw its October sales drop 1.2% on a volume basis and by 4.9% on a daily selling rate basis.

Nissan’s October sales dropped 5.8% on a year-over-year basis.

According to a forecast report by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, new-vehicle retail sales in October were forecast to decline by 0.9% year over year (when adjusted for number of selling days).

Average transaction prices, however, are at a record high. According to the jointly released report, the average transaction price moved above $34,000 for the first time ever in October and was up nearly $1,300 compared with October 2018.

GM Strike Comes to an End

After 40 days, the nationwide strike at General Motors finally came to an end.

“The work stoppage in the U.S. negatively affected North American business results in the third quarter and expected results for the year,” GM said in its third-quarter earnings release. “In the third quarter, about two weeks of vehicle production was lost.”

According to GM, the strike resulted in a net EBIT-adjusted impact of $1 billion, or $0.52 per diluted share; GM expects the full-year impact to come in at $2.00 per diluted share.

In September, the United Auto Workers union initiated the first nationwide strike at GM since 2007.

On Oct. 25, UAW announced it had ratified a new four-year labor deal.

“General Motors members have spoken,” said Terry Dittes, UAW vice president and director of the UAW-GM department. “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.”

According to UAW, the approved deal included “an economic package of an $11,000 per member signing bonus, performance bonuses, two 3% annual raises and two 4% lump sum payments and holding the line on health care costs.”

Fiat Chrysler to Merge with PSA Groupe

As MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns explained earlier this week, Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Groupe — maker of Peugeot — have plans to merge.

According to Fiat Chrysler, the merger would create the world’s fourth-largest OEM by annual unit sales.

“FCA abandoned attempts to merge with Peugeot’s French rival, Renault, earlier this year when the French government, a 15% shareholder, blocked the move,” Burns explained.

“But the FCA has long held that consolidation within the European car industry, if not globally, is inevitable as the industry goes through unprecedented disruption in terms of a switch to electric and competition from Asia.

“There is arguably a better logic to a Peugeot-FCA merger than a Renault-FCA tie-up.”

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Actual Metal Prices and Trends

U.S. HDG fell 7.2% month over month to $746/st as of Nov. 1.

LME three-month copper rose 3.7% to $5,840/mt. U.S. shredded scrap steel fell 11.4% to $225/st.

The Korean 5052 aluminum coil premium rose 2.2% to $3.21/kg.

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