Automotive MMI: Honda, Hyundai sales surge; GM adds 3,500 EV charging plugs

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cars lined up
Steven Husk/Adobe Stock

The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat this month for a March MMI reading of 86.

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U.S. auto sales

As we noted last month, Nissan most recently joined the ranks of automakers moving to quarterly sales reporting (as opposed to monthly reporting). Nissan joined General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler in the move to a quarterly reporting schedule.

Honda reported February U.S. sales of 120,006 units, marking a 4.2% increase from February 2019 sales. Honda car sales jumped 2%, while truck sales surged 6%.

Through the first two months of the year, Honda sales rose 0.2% compared with the first two months of 2019.

“These are challenging times for our industry and the world, so it’s gratifying to see our sales grow in February, led by strong demand for Honda light trucks, and Civic sales gains demonstrating once again that cars still matter,” said Steven Center, vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.’s auto sales division. “We will continue to maintain a disciplined approach to the market, focusing on the strength of our products rather than steep discounts, with the introduction this month of the CR-V Hybrid signaling the continued growth of our electrified vehicle lineup.”

Early last month, Toyota Motor North America reported North American sales results for the nine-month period ending Dec. 31, 2019, reporting sales increased by 22,263 units compared with the same period the previous year.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor America reported February sales jumped 16% compared with February 2019. For the first two months of 2020, Hyundai’s sales increased 10.8% compared with the first two months of 2019.

According to the monthly sales forecast released jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, February U.S. sales were projected to exceed 1 million units for only the third time since 2005.

New-vehicle retails sales were projected to jump 0.2% in February.

“The once-in-a-generation sales calendar quirk means that February retail sales will exceed one million units for only the third time in the last 15 years,” said Thomas King, president of J.D. Power’s data and analytics division.

GM adds 3,500 electric vehicle charging plugs for employees

Automakers continue to make strides toward an electrified future, and not just in the marketplace at large.

This week, General Motors announced it will triple the amount of electric vehicle charging plugs available for employees at its U.S. and Canadian facilities by adding 3,500 new plugs.

“This is another step down the path to making EV ownership easier for everyone, especially for our own employees,” GM President Mark Reuss said. “Charging infrastructure is crucial to wider acceptance of EVs, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to improve it, both for our employees and for all our customers. We encourage other companies to do likewise.”

GM noted the relative paucity of electric vehicle charging stations for workers at their workplaces.

“Over 90 percent of EV owners charge either at home, at work or a combination of both,” said Rick Spina, vice president of EV/AV commercialization and infrastructure. “We have new EVs from GMC for the 2022 model year and from Cadillac planned for the 2023 model year, and we want to make it as convenient as possible for our employees to enjoy the rewards of EV ownership.”

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Actual metal prices and trends

The U.S. HDG price fell 2.2% month over month to $828/st as of March 1.

U.S. shredded scrap steel dropped 5.1% to $281/st. LME primary three-month copper was about flat, hitting $5,597/mt.

The Korean 5052 aluminum coil premium dropped from $3.10/kg to $3.09/kg.

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