Automotive MMI: US automakers post record auto sales in May

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The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose by 4.5% for this month’s reading, as many automakers posted record auto sales in May.

June 2021 Automotive MMI chart

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US auto sales

auto sale

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Among monthly reporters, Ford Motor Co. reported its total sales in the US in May rose by 4.0% year over year. However, retail sales dropped by 11.2%.

Ford’s total truck sales fell by 11.6%. Meanwhile, SUV sales rose by 48.6% and car sales dropped 62.4%.

Furthermore, Ford sold 10,364 electrified vehicles, good for a jump of 184%.

“Growth came from Mustang Mach-E, which totaled 1,945 vehicle sales, while F-150 PowerBoost totaled 2,852 for the month, Escape electrified sales totaled 3,617 – up 125 percent over last year,” the automaker said. “Explorer Hybrid sales also had a big increase of 132 percent over a year ago on sales of 1,156 SUVs.”

Honda, meanwhile, reported an all-time monthly sales record of 176,815 vehicles. Total sales rose by 46.2%. Truck sales rose by 52.2%, while car sales rose by 37.9%.

Similarly, Hyundai reported a monthly sales record for the third consecutive month. Hyundai’s May total sales rose by 56% to 90,017 vehicles. In May, Hyundai also unveiled the IONIQ 5 for North America, which it says has a targeted driving range of 300 miles and the ability to charge from 10% 80% in 18 minutes.

A record May

In their monthly automotive forecast, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast May would be a record month for new-vehicle retail sales in the US.

They projected retail sales would reach 1,388,600 vehicles, or up 34.0% from May 2020. The total also marked an increase of 10.6% from May 2019.

“The U.S. auto industry is showing tremendous adaptability in maintaining a record sales pace, despite historically low inventory levels,” said Thomas King, president of J.D. Power’s data and analytics division. “May is usually one of the highest-volume sales months with buying activity peaking around the Memorial Day weekend when manufacturers typically offer incremental incentives.”

General Motors to boost deliveries to US, Canada

General Motors said it plans to increase its deliveries of vehicles to customers in the US and Canada.

The automaker said the move aims to “meet strong consumer demand for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”

Furthermore, production of the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD full-size pickups will increase by about 1,000 trucks per month beginning in mid-July. Meanwhile, shipments of Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups will increase by about 30,000 total units from mid-May through the week of July 5.

GM also said assembly plants that build GM’s “most capacity-constrained products” will not take any dedicated vacation downtime this summer.

Despite the ongoing semiconductor shortage that has impacted the automotive industry, GM expressed optimism about its first-half performance.

“As a result of GM’s ongoing efforts to prioritize semiconductor usage, its success engineering solutions that maximize the utilization of chips as well as the pull-ahead of some projected semiconductor deliveries into the second quarter, the company now expects its first-half financial results to be significantly better than the first-half guidance previously provided,” GM said. “GM is optimistic about the full year and expects to share additional information during its second-quarter earnings conference call on Aug. 4.”

Nonetheless, the automaker said production at certain manufacturing facilities in North America, Asia and South America “will continue to be impacted” by the global semiconductor shortage through June and July.

China auto sales up 8.6%

Meanwhile, auto sales in China rose by 8.6% year over year in April, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales reached 2.25 million vehicles in April. However, sales dropped by 10.8% from the previous month.

For the January-April period, sales rose by 51.8% year over year.

Actual metals prices and trends

The US HDG price rose by 1.1% month over month to $1,884 per short ton as of June 1. The US shredded scrap steel price rose by 3.2% to $450 per short ton.

Meanwhile, LME three-month copper rose by 2.3% to $10,171 per metric ton.

The Korean 5052 aluminum coil premium increased by 3.7% to $3.91 per kilogram.

Volatility is the name of the game. Do you have a steel buying strategy that can handle the ups and downs?

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