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Supply Bottlenecks Continue To Impact U.S. Car Sales

Ford Motor Co. reported November U.S. sales increased by 5.9% year over year to 158,793 vehicles. Total truck sales increased by 4.6%. Meanwhile, SUV sales increased by 20.8% and electrified vehicle sales increased by 153.6%.

“Ford’s electrified vehicle sales in November grew at a rate more than three times faster than the overall electrified vehicle segment, taking Ford’s electrified vehicle share to 10 percent compared to 5.4 percent last year,” the automaker said in its November report. “This set up a record November on sales of 11,116 electrified vehicles – up 153.6 percent. New products are providing the boost, with Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Hybrid sales of 3,088 and 4,767, respectively.”

Meanwhile, Honda reported U.S. sales fell 17.1% month over month. Acura brand sales fell 21.2%, while Honda brand sales dropped 16.6%.

Hyundai reported November sales in the U.S. of 44,345 units, down 20% year over year.

“Consumer demand remains exceptionally high, and our dealers are doing a fantastic job of turning vehicles quickly and selling many before they even hit the lot,” said Randy Parker, senior vice president, national sales, Hyundai Motor America. “Lingering availability issues persisted into November, but we are optimistic that we will close the year strong.”

Supply squeeze

In what has been a persistent theme, supply constraints continue to weigh on U.S. automotive sales.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast new vehicle retail sales in November to come down by 12.6% year over year.

“For November—as has been the case since August—new-vehicle sales are being constrained by available inventory,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division or J.D. Power. “Retail inventory on dealer lots is expected to end below one million vehicles for a fourth consecutive month, with sales in each month being dictated by the number of vehicles delivered to dealerships rather than reflecting actual demand.”

Chinese auto sales down year over year

Meanwhile, in China, automotive sales in October fell by 9.4% year over year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported.

October sales reached 2.3 million vehicles, which marked an increase of 12.8% month over month.

For the January to October period, sales reached 21.0 million vehicles, which increased by 6.4% compared with the same period in 2020.

GM, POSCO Chemical to build new plant

In battery-related news, General Motors and Korean firm POSCO Chemical will form a joint venture to build a new North American plant for the processing of battery materials for the automaker’s Ultium electric vehicle platform.

The JV will process cathode active material, which GM noted represents approximately 40% of the battery cell’s cost. GM said the new plant will open in 2024.

“Our work with POSCO Chemical is a key part of our strategy to rapidly scale U.S. EV production and drive innovation in battery performance, quality and cost,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “We are building a sustainable and resilient North America-focused supply chain for EVs covering the entire ecosystem from raw materials to battery cell manufacturing and recycling.”

Among other goals, GM aims to invest $35 billion in EV and autonomous vehicle development from 2020 to 2025.

Actual metals prices and trends

The U.S. hot dipped galvanized price fell 3.79% month over month to $2,131 per short ton as of Dec. 1. U.S. shredded scrap steel held flat at $470 per short ton.

Meanwhile, the LME three-month copper price dropped 1.14% to $9,510 per metric ton.

The Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 rose by 1.95% to $4.56 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, U.S. platinum bars fell 8.15% to $935 per ounce, while palladium bars fell 13.68% to $1,672 per ounce.

By AG Metal Miner

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