Widespread inflation has led to the highest raw material cost per U.S. vehicle since 2011, a new Bank of America (BAC) Global Research report found.
The report examines the recent bout of US inflation and examines its consequences for the automotive industry.
One key takeaway from the report is that the cost of raw materials has risen sharply since mid-2020. “In the past year, the raw material cost in an average U.S. vehicle has been steadily rising, increasing ~87% from a low point of approximately $2,200/unit in Apr ’20 to now roughly $4,125/unit in May ’21,” the report found. “During this raw material cost inflation, average transaction prices seem to have stalled, although [they] still remain elevated at record high levels.”
The compressing spread between rising raw material prices and stagnating average transaction prices is expected to increase pressure on automakers and suppliers’ respective financial bottom lines.
The average vehicle is composed of 39% steel and 11% aluminum. The increase in raw materials cost has been concentrated heavily in high steel prices; the Bank of America report estimated that the average cost per pound for steel used in automotive manufacturing has increased 106% year over year as of last month. This is “relatively alarming,” according to the report, given the high makeup of steel in the average vehicle.
Suppliers and original equipment managers (OEMs) are expected to bear the brunt of rising material costs, with the latter facing even greater exposure to indirect costs from the former.
Rising inflation costs, plus pre-existing damage to supply chains caused by the pandemic present problems for both groups. “The automotive value chain is already facing significant headwinds from supply chain disruptions and production stoppages,” the report noted, “which continue to pressure margins in addition to rising raw material costs.”
The costs of raw materials have risen so greatly that they now make up a significantly larger percentage of the price of a vehicle. “The cost of raw materials in an average vehicle as a % of the average transaction price (ATP) in the U.S. reached historical lows around 6% (5.9% in April ’20) at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by historically low raw material costs and all-time high average transaction prices,” the report found. “However, this cost ratio has since increased, now reaching ~11%, as commodity prices have bounced materially off of lows and ATPs have remained near peak levels.”
By the end of spring, raw material costs had approached post-2000 historical levels, while average transaction prices remained essentially unchanged, posing “significant headwind for companies at the front end of the value chain,” according to the report.
HIGHWAYS ACROSS THE STATE ARE UP TO SPEED. ACCORDING TO TRAFFIC DATA OBTAINED BY WMUR, MORE CARS ARE BACK ON THE ROAD AFTER A DRAMATIC DROP LAST MONTH. THE DATA FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHOWS THAT TRAFFIC BEGAN TO DECREASE THE WEEK OF MARCH 15 AND THAT TREND CONTINUED TO THE WEEK OF APRIL 5. BUT BY THE WEEK OF APRIL 12, NUMBERS BEGAN TO RISE AND HAVEN’T STOPPED SINCE THEN. THE OVERALL NUMBERS ARE STILL DOWN MORE THAN HALF COMPARED TO THIS TIME LAST YEAR. ERIN: FEWER AND FEWER PEOPLE ARE TAKING FLIGHTS BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC. PASSENGER TRAFFIC AT NEW HAMPSHIRE’S BIGGEST AIRPORT DROPPED 52% LAST MONTH. MANCHESTER-BOSTON REGIONAL AIRPORT HAD NEARLY 69,000 TRAVELERS IN MARCH. THAT’S COMPARED TO OVER 143,000 A YEAR AGO. AIRPORT OFFICIALS PREDICT THAT APRIL’S DROP COULD BE AROUND
Data shows vehicle traffic in NH gradually rising, still down sharply from 2019
Airport traffic down 52% in March
Updated: 9:51 AM EDT Apr 29, 2020
According to traffic data obtained by WMUR, more cars are back on the road after a dramatic drop last month.>> Download the free WMUR appThe data from the state Department of Transportation shows that traffic began to decrease the week of March 15 and that trend continued to the week of April 5.But by the week of April 12, numbers began to rise and haven’t stopped since then.>> Coronavirus in NH: Important informationNumbers of vehicles per week in 2020 (in parentheses, see 2019 data during same time frame):Week of March 22: 1,351,693 (2019: 2,208,829)Week of March 29: 1,036,864 (2019: 2,195,800)Week of April 5: 933,809 (2019: 2,200,085)Week of April 12: 936,766 (2019: 2,209,675)Week of April 19: 988,442 (2019: 2,296,125)Week of April 26: 1,066,897 (2019: 2,212,678)The overall numbers are still down more than half compared to this time last year.>> Latest coronavirus coverage from WMURAlso, fewer and fewer people are taking flights because of the pandemic. Passenger traffic at New Hampshire’s biggest airport dropped 52% last month.Manchester-Boston Regional Airport had nearly 69,000 travelers in March, which is compared to more than 143,000 a year ago.Airport officials predict that April’s drop could be around 95%.Visit this link to see a town-by-town map showing the number of cases in each community.PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0iaW5mb2dyYW0tZW1iZWQiIGRhdGEtaWQ9Il8va2I1OW5tSmpubGlPTUt4M1lpd1YiIGRhdGEtdHlwZT0iaW50ZXJhY3RpdmUiIGRhdGEtdGl0bGU9Ik5IIENvcm9uYXZpcnVzIENPVklELTE5Ij48L2Rpdj48c2NyaXB0PiFmdW5jdGlvbihlLGksbixzKXt2YXIgdD0iSW5mb2dyYW1FbWJlZHMiLGQ9ZS5nZXRFbGVtZW50c0J5VGFnTmFtZSgic2NyaXB0IilbMF07aWYod2luZG93W3RdJiZ3aW5kb3dbdF0uaW5pdGlhbGl6ZWQpd2luZG93W3RdLnByb2Nlc3MmJndpbmRvd1t0XS5wcm9jZXNzKCk7ZWxzZSBpZighZS5nZXRFbGVtZW50QnlJZChuKSl7dmFyIG89ZS5jcmVhdGVFbGVtZW50KCJzY3JpcHQiKTtvLmFzeW5jPTEsby5pZD1uLG8uc3JjPSJodHRwczovL2UuaW5mb2dyYW0uY29tL2pzL2Rpc3QvZW1iZWQtbG9hZGVyLW1pbi5qcyIsZC5wYXJlbnROb2RlLmluc2VydEJlZm9yZShvLGQpfX0oZG9jdW1lbnQsMCwiaW5mb2dyYW0tYXN5bmMiKTs8L3NjcmlwdD4=
MANCHESTER, N.H. —
According to traffic data obtained by WMUR, more cars are back on the road after a dramatic drop last month.
>> Download the free WMUR app
The data from the state Department of Transportation shows that traffic began to decrease the week of March 15 and that trend continued to the week of April 5.
But by the week of April 12, numbers began to rise and haven’t stopped since then.
>> Coronavirus in NH: Important information
Numbers of vehicles per week in 2020 (in parentheses, see 2019 data during same time frame):