Meanwhile, oil prices rose 16 percent in the first five months to $49.10 per barrel. But oil prices are still barely half of what they were two years ago.
The global oil glut also has been responsible for a big drop in the price of resin for plastic components. And since diesel fuel prices in May were hovering at $2 per gallon -- down from $3.84 in 2014 -- the cost of trucking parts to factories and new cars to dealerships has fallen $240 per vehicle.
"That creates a nice tail wind for supplier profitability," DuBuc said.
Raw material prices have been driven by three major trends: the strong dollar, China's weak economy and slack demand for oil.
The strong dollar makes all imported raw material -- such as rubber, platinum and oil -- less expensive. And China's economic slowdown has dramatically decreased global demand for raw materials.
Forecasters believe oil prices are unlikely to rise significantly above $50 per barrel because idled U.S. oil wells can quickly resume pumping.
"We're seeing oil bounce back, but it's going to hit a natural ceiling," DuBuc says. "It doesn't look like oil is going to drive up inflation."
For the rest of the year, DuBuc doesn't expect a big runup in prices. The AlixPartners report quotes a forecast by Deutsche Bank that predicts a surplus of aluminum, copper and iron ore over the next two years.
Deutsche Bank also expects significantly tighter supplies of nickel and palladium, although hefty inventories of these metals will moderate any price swings.
But steel, the auto industry's high-volume material, remains a question mark. Future steel prices will depend on the willingness of U.S. regulators to take a stand against steel dumping. That remains a political uncertainty as China's government has seemingly lost its appetite to consolidate state-owned industries.
"China doesn't have the political will to rein in steel production," DuBuc says. "An oversupply of raw materials is the China story. Outside of new trade wars, commodity prices will stay low."