Automotive MMI: Limited inventory continues to hamper auto sales

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The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) ticked up by 4.2% for this month’s reading.

November 2021 Automotive MMI chart

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US auto sales

automotive sale in dealership

Maksym Povozniuk/Adobe Stock

Ford Motor Co. reported total U.S. sales of 175,918 vehicles in October.

The October total sales figure marked a 4.0% year-over-year decline. Retail sales fell by 3.8% year over year. Total truck sales fell 7.0% year over year. However, SUV sales rose by 12.8%.

Ford electrified vehicle sales reached 14,062 vehicles, up 195% year over year.

Among other monthly reporters, Honda cited “limited inventory” and “industry supply issues” in its October sales report. Honda’s U.S. sales reached 97,083 vehicles, down 23.5% year over year. By division, Honda brand sales fell 23.1% to 87,028 vehicles. Acura sales dropped by 27.1% to 10,055 vehicles.

Hyundai reported U.S. sales of 56,761 vehicles in October, down 1% year over year.

“Hyundai dealers are turning vehicles quickly as consumer demand remains strong for our product portfolio,” said Randy Parker, senior vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America. “We established several total and retail model records in October, and overall we are continuing to gain substantial market share.”

Sales slump in October

For the industry as a whole, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast U.S. retail sales of new vehicles declined by 17.4% year over year to 943,500 vehicles.

Meanwhile, compared to 2019, sales were forecast to decline by 15.4% when adjusting for selling days.

“October results demonstrate that new-vehicle sales are still being constrained by how many vehicles are delivered to dealerships each month,” said Thomas King, president of the J.D. Power data and analytics division. “However, strong consumer demand and a lack of inventory is leading to record transaction prices and profit for each unit sold. Month-end inventory of vehicles on dealer lots is expected to remain below one million for the third consecutive month.”

GM announces $46M investment in Ohio plant

Elsewhere, General Motors announced plans to invest $46 million in its Parma, Ohio plant. The automaker said the investment will go toward upgrading and preparing the facility for “future product programs.”

The plant produces sheet metal stamping and assemblies. Furthermore, the plant processes over 800 tons of steel per day and can produce up to 100 million parts per year, GM said.

On Oct. 27, the automaker reported its Q3 earnings. GM recorded net income of $2.4 billion in Q3 2021, down from $4.0 billion in Q3 2020. For the first nine months of the year, GM saw net income of $8.3 billion compared to $3.6 billion during the same period in 2020.

For its full-year guidance, GM forecast net income coming in between $8.1 billion and $9.6 billion.

Chinese auto sales bounce back

After five straight months of month-over-month sales declines in China, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported September sales increased by 14.9% month over month.

September sales totaled 2.07 million vehicles. On a year-over-year basis, however, sales declined by 19.6%.

Meanwhile, sales through the first nine months of the year totaled 18.62 million vehicles, up 8.7% year over year.

Actual metals prices and trends

The U.S. HDG price dipped 0.5% month over month to $2,212 per short ton as of Nov. 1. U.S. shredded scrap steel ticked up 0.6% to $470 per short ton.

Furthermore, the U.S. platinum bars price rose 5.8% to $1,018 per ounce. Meanwhile, U.S. palladium bars rose 5.5% to $1,937 per ounce.

The LME three-month copper price rose by 4.3% to $9,490 per metric ton.

The Korean 5052 aluminum coil premium over 1050 rose 7.2% to 5,210 KRW per kilogram.

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