The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped two points this month, down to a reading of 91 for May.
U.S. Auto Sales
General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have turned to a quarterly sales reporting schedule, moving away from the traditional monthly reporting model. GM made the switch last year, with Ford following suit earlier this year.
However, the two automakers recently announced Q1 earnings. GM reported net revenue of $34.9 billion, down 3.4% year over year, and income of $2.1 billion, up 93.2% year over year (GM’s first-quarter sales fell 7% year over year). Ford, meanwhile, reported net revenue fell $1.6 billion to $40.3 billion, while income fell $600 million to $1.1 billion (Ford’s first-quarter sales fell 1.6% year over year).
Similarly, Fiat Chrysler announced earlier this month that it will start reporting on a quarterly basis beginning Oct. 1. For April, Fiat Chrysler sold 172,900 vehicles in the month compared to 184,149 vehicles in April 2018, a decrease of 6.1%.
In other news for the automaker, Reuters reported Friday that Fiat Chrysler entered into a $307.5 million settlement with about 100,000 U.S. owners of Fiat Chrysler diesel vehicles because of illegal software that caused the vehicles to emit excess emissions.
U.S. Honda sales edged up 0.1% in April, with car sales down 3.4% and truck sales up 3.1%.
“As industry sales continue to level off, we are increasing our share of the market through the strength of our car and truck lineups and our disciplined approach to sales,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of automobile sales at American Honda Motor Co. “The compact SUV segment remains a bright spot for both Honda and Acura brands in 2019, with CR-V the outright retail sales leader in the industry’s largest segment, and the Acura RDX the fastest growing model in the compact luxury SUV segment in 2019 and the top-selling retail model.”
Nissan sales rose 9% year over year, with Nissan Altima sales up 59%.
Hyundai reported auto sales picked up 1% to 55,420 vehicles in April 2019.
For the industry overall, MarketWatch reported April sales fell 6.1%, down to their lowest level since October 2014.
Tesla, Panasonic Relationship Under Stress
MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns last month touched on the Tesla–Panasonic relationship after Panasonic announced it would not invest in an expansion of Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory.
The Japanese firm manufactures battery cells for Tesla’s EV batteries.
“Output was meant to double next year, but after citing financial reasons the two companies have said they intend to increase production from the existing equipment rather than invest in more capacity,” Burns wrote. “Tesla’s record as a mass manufacturer has come in for considerable criticism over the last 18 months, first with repeated delays in deliveries of the Model 3 and now apparent significant underutilization of the battery plant.”
Actual Metal Prices and Trends
The price of U.S. HDG fell 4.4% month over month to $881/st as of May 1. U.S. platinum bars rose 4.5% to $886/ounce. U.S. palladium bars fell 2.6% to $1,365/ounce.
Chinese primary lead fell 1.7% to $2,482.06/mt. LME copper dropped 0.9% to $6,435/mt. U.S. shredded scrap steel fell 3.3% to $321/st.