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Renault Planning to Compete With Tesla in the Electric Market

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Renault News

Renault SA (OTC:RNLSY) is trying to tap into the electric market as its industry peers are rapidly expanding their electric offerings. And it may produce a new vehicle on a platform with Nissan Motor Co (OTC:NSANF) and in alliance with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (TYO: MBFJF). What many forget is that Nissan and Renault are in fact one of the early ones who acted on the electric trend, with Zoe and Nissan Leaf respectively. But unfortunately, these models lack major shared components. And Nissan’s scandal that led to the arrest of its CEO Carlos Ghosn surely added tension in what was already a challenging relationship.

Model

The French carmaker wants to launch an EV that is bigger than its best-selling Zoe. Being all-electric, it could even compete with Tesla Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model 3 and Volkswagen AG (OTC:VWAGY)’s ID.3. Besides rolling out a new version of the Zoe with an extended range next year, Renault is also working on a more affordable vehicle. Its low-cost model is built for China but it could be used to build an affordable yet all-electric European version. Renault is pursuing plans to produce eight electric models in its portfolio, covering all segments with electric cars by 2022.

Nissan arrangement

Renault owns a 43.4% stake in Nissan, while Nissan holds 15% of Renault. This arrangement wasn’t altered since 1999, when Renault rescued Nissan from bankruptcy. But this relationship had its challenges which were only further escalated with Ghosn’s arrest. Nissan has just named its new CEO Makoto Uchida, counting on his experience in the key market of China. Many find that Nissan’s crisis goes beyond Ghosn, as its succeeding CEO resigned less than a month ago. Hiroto Saikawa, resigned after revealing a faulty stock-related payment plant that as a consequence had him and other executives overpaid. Saikawa denied any wrongdoing, assuring that he will return excess funds but this was yet another blow to Nissan that reported in July that its profits pretty much vanished with a 99% drop during the first quarter of its fiscal year.

Competitors

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:T) is greatly speeding up to adjust to the changing market. Toyota and Subaru announced last Friday that they will expand their partnership into connected-car programs and a co-developed electric vehicle platform.

In September, Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F) said it would launch eight electric vehicles in Europe throughout the year as part of achieving that electric cars make the majority of its sales by 2022. It already has the Fusion, which comes both as a hybrid and plug-in option, and the Explorer. Due to its European segment losing money for years there is great pressure to restructure its operations and cut costs so Ford is sourcing components and underpinnings from VW when it comes to elect. This partnership is part of Ford’s $11.5 billion electric vehicle investment worldwide. Last year, Ford announced that by 2022, its investment in the electric future and the needed technology will amount to $11 billion, resulting in 40 electric vehicles. Likewise, General Motors (NYSE:GM), whose workers have been on strike for nearly four weeks, is heavily betting on developing a US-made electric vehicle, with the investment amounting to $300 million. But as far as EV go, the structurally unprofitable Tesla is the market leader with its five fully electric vehicles.

Outlook

Nissan and Renault are bound to be in a tug power war. Besides the deep plunge in profits and plummeted sales, Nissan also announced 12,500 dismissals worldwide. And as the demand in the electric market just keeps getting stronger – so will competitors. Hopefully, they’ll restore their relationship soon enough so they can tap into this demand that will only grow with tougher emissions standards globally. Even a giant like Toyota is aware that it cannot do it alone and is open to partnerships and new insights. And the opportunity for innovations lies in battery design.

This article is contributed by IAMNewswire.com. It was written by an independently verified journalist and is not a press release. It should not be construed as investment advice.

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BenzingaEditorial

Pickups, SUVs and CUVs – The Bright Future of the Specialized Equipment Market

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Pickups, SUV News

Pickups form the largest share of the specialty equipment industry because they are simply a great platform for modification. The Specialized Equipment Market Association (SEMA) rated Ford Motor’s (NYSE:F) F Series as the most customizable truck and its majesty, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (NYSE:FCAU) Jeep Wrangler as the winner of the SUV category. And besides providing valuable opportunities for customization, pickups have taken the throne from traditional passenger cars and they show no signs of stopping.

Pickups are on the throne – and they are bringing Workhorse Group Inc along!

There are 55.9 million registered pickups in the United States, making 20% of all vehicles on the road. Led by Ford F-150, there’s also quite a bit of Toyota Motor’s (NYSE:TM) Toyota Tundra. As for a snapshot of the accesorization subsegment, total specialty-equipment sales in 2018 amounted to $12.03 billion and made 27% of the specialty-equipment retail market. These products include, maintenance oil, wax and cleaning products, trailer and towing accessories but also exterior appearance upgrades, batteries and truck bed liners. People love to add big wheels to their pickups, enhance exterior appearance so those products also always tend to do well and logically, trailer and towing products are most commonly purchased by pickup owners. But it is truck beds that provide valuable opportunities that aren’t present with other vehicle segments for utility products, such as racks and toolboxes, plus liners and bed covers.

Speaking of truck beds, no wonder Workhorse Group Inc (NASDAQ:WKHS) has its hands full with the electric start-up company occupying its strongest position to-date, both operationally and financially. During its third quarter, the company signed several partnership deals to leverage its intellectual property while more than doubling its loss of a year ago from $5.5 million to $11.5 million due to higher interest expense.
The company recorded sales of $4,000 which is quite down from $11,000 in the same period last year, however despite the fact that the company delivered fewer trucks, it did so at higher prices due to making a transition to a new generation, causing its R&D prices to increase 13%. Workhorse received a non-dilutive 10% stake in Lordstown Motors which purchased the 6.2-million-square-foot plant from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) on Nov. 7. Also on a brighter note, the company’s balance sheet of September 30th shows cash and cash-equivalents amounting to $9.3 million compared to only $1.5 million on December 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, Franchise Holdings International Inc (OTC:FNHI)’ Worksport was just granted a third U.S. patent protecting its innovative covers that provide unique full-bed access for light trucks such as Ford F series. In September, the company received its second U.S. Patent Office trademark allowance, so now they have four in 2019 that add protection to its brand strategy. This innovative company is also looking to complete its Helios line with complimentary truck accessories able to transform sunlight into storable energy so that they can extend the driving range of forthcoming electric trucks. Worksport’s proprietary solar technology infused with its most advanced truck bed covers is more than a major breakthrough innovation, it represents an endless opportunity for future growth.

Pickup market outlook

The top pickups as far as accesorization goes are GM’s full-size pickups and surprise, Ford’s F series. But Toyota’s Tacoma and Tundra are on the list as well as Nissan Motor Co. (OTC:NSANY)’s Nissan Frontier. Of the roughly 56 million pickups in the United States today, nearly 60% of them are either GM Full-Size or Ford F-Series as these two models combined account for almost 12% of all vehicles on the road. GM and Ford’s market dominance is expected to continue with estimated additional 12 million trucks for 2026- speaking for a safe haven for the specialized car equipment industry! GM has 17.6 registered vehicles on the road with Ford following with 15.6 million. But, the rebirth of several mid-size models are also expected to provide an additional boost by bringing in new buyers, with Toyota and Nissan having quite a number of enthusiastic owners, creating a strong market for their specialty equipment. Great news for Toyota that is struggling to adapt to the ‘electrification’ era.

SUVs

With 36.7 million registered vehicles in the United States making 13% of all vehicles on US roads, top models are again led by Ford, and Ford Explorer to be exact. But then there’s Jeep taking second and third place, GM’s Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota’s Toyota 4Runner, with Hyundai Motor Company (OTC:HYMTF) Kia Sorento taking 8th place and FCA’s Dodge Durango taking 9th place. But don’t worry about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as despite a miss on revenue targets, its stock gained 17.3% in October, mostly due to the good merger news with France’s Peugeout SA (OTC:PUGOY) which was announced on the same day of the earnings release.
The specialty equipment sales for the SUV segment amounted to $5.93 billion in sales in 2018, making 13% share of the market. While SUVs are not as versatile as pickups for accessorization, many owners upgrade their SUVs with utility parts and for off-roading as many SUVs topping the list are in fact often used to go off-the road.
But it is Jeep that dominates the after-market. The Jeep Wrangler is widely considered to be one of the most modified and versatile vehicles on the road today as nearly 40% of Jeep Wranglers are accessorized in some way, be it shape or form.

Crossovers are becoming more popular

Although a crossover (CUVs) are becoming more and more popular and their distinction is not always clear, they are a separate segment because SUVs are built on truck platforms whereas CUVs are built with unibody construction. With SUVs showing a long tenure, consumer interest is expected to continue in the coming years. They are more profitable for auto-manufacturers to make but there are economic factors like increased gas prices and uncertain economy could decrease consumer buying power. But when it comes to accessories, they will persevere for all those who wish to optimize their utility with a lot of specialty after-market upgrades.

CUVs

The fastest developing segment makes 17% of all vehicles on US roads amounting to 48.3 Million registered CUVs are being led with Honda Motor Co (NYSE:HMC)’s CR-V, the one and only model that crosses in between not being a true pickup nor an SUV, a true jewel for this ever evolving company. Then there’s of course, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet, Nissan, Subaru Forester and Jeep Cherokee. CUVs created 11% share of the specialized equipment market. Having outpaced even pickups, it is logical to assume consumers will turn to accessorizing CUVs like they do with SUVs. That being said, there are obstacles. The segment is fragmented as there are 120 models in operation and just as many models are expected to be sold in the future. As a consequence, it will be difficult to create products that will function across all platforms. The large number of platforms limits the opportunity for companies seeking to sell specialty parts as there is no clear single model that dominates the market. The Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 lead the pack in terms of registrations having been out longer. However, there are many other CUVs close behind and all this diversity makes it challenging to focus on to a single model. The popularity of CUVs is not expected to subside soon but, many CUV models are relatively new and have little history with the accessorization market so there will be a challenge to decide which models to focus on. But one thing is certain, while the conventional car market continues showing signs of fatigue, pickups, SUVs and crossovers are booming- and show no signs of stopping. And even if this wasn’t case, there’s so still so much room in upgrading older models so all is bright for the specialized equipment industry when it comes to this segment. Worksport has its future guaranteed with its breakthrough solar technology that can surely disrupt the truck accessories market but Workhorse Group is also in for the ride once the company finishes its transition to the new generation as pickups are definitely here to stay.

This article is contributed by IAMNewswire.com. It was written by an independently verified journalist and is not a press release. It should not be construed as investment advice.

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Tech Giants Continue To Find New Competition In The Online Calendar Space

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Dayhaps calendar app

Today, there’s an app for pretty much anything. Moreover, apps keep developing as the world gets more and more connected. Entrepreneurs and managers are able to choose from a variety of tools to improve their productivity since every moment wasted during work is either time or both time and money lost. Time plays a significant value in our lives and the more we appreciate it and learn how to use it wisely, the richer we get. And when it comes to time management, we can enter the glorious world of online calendars. These calendars are not just life savers, they literally help shape our everyday lives. So, no wonder that world’s tech giants have all got a piece in the online industry pie.

The tech landscape

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Yahoo (NASDAQ:AABA) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have taken the lead for years as organisational tools but this might be about to change with Dayhaps calendar app that is considered as the ‘Whatsapp for calendars’, the app makes it easy to create single and group calendars. The biggest advantage of Google is obvious: it is integrated with the kingdom of other Google products, but also to-do lists and booking tools. But a service disruption such as the one in June left users beyond frustrated for several hours being unable to check their schedule, so there’s always space for competitors.

The unknown calendar race between tech companies

Back in 2015, Microsoft acquired Sunrise, a free calendar app that was developed by former Foursquare designers only a few years before it was acquired. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced it will simplify calendar entries to its users. Also in 2015, Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) acquired Tempo calendar while Google acquired Timeful. All those acquisitions could make one consider if there is an unknown calendar race between the giants where even Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) offer events and calendar management in their platforms. With new productivity platforms launching in the innovative app development space this unknown race seems to continue.

Combining chat groups with online calendars

So why not bring the best of all these trends: connect people while easing their planning process. The founders of Dayhaps calendar app did just that by creating a simple way to create group calendars in a similar way people create group chats. The app makes it easy to manage multiple calendars, single and groups but also share calendars with friends, family, colleagues or any other community. The name stands for “Day Happenings” that seem to have a lot happening already as a new start-up company from Nevada, gaining fans all over the world while challenging leading platforms like Google and Microsoft calendar. The Dayhaps founders brought a new meaning to the calendar dimension where they bring a solution that makes it easy for anyone to create a group calendar even when they have no experience with todays tech applications.

The Big 4 tech companies have shaped the world we know today but they are facing a great deal of scrutiny due to their practices. The pace of today’s world demands new innovations to help us keep up with our busy lifestyles, and Dayhaps is a clear reflection of trend, even going a step further in simplifying the planning process for its users.

This article is contributed by IAMNewswire.com. It was written by an independently verified journalist and is not a press release. It should not be construed as investment advice.

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Roku’s Earnings Exhibited Its Leadership Position

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Roku Streaming

Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) has been given a vote of confidence a day ahead of its earnings many analysts were expecting impressive third quarter earnings. But, unlike its past seven earnings report which exhibited a blowout growth exceeding estimates, Roku’s third quarter earnings results had beat Wall Street’s expectations but still causing its stock to drop 16% in trading to close at $118.46 a share while now climbing back to $130.

Expectations Vs. Reality

Prior to its earnings report, Rosenblatt raised its price target on Roku to $159 from $134, estimating that the third-quarter earnings and guidance are set to outperform expectations. And revenue did continue soaring both on absolute as well as per-user basis.
But, Roku ended up reporting a loss of 22 cents a share, compared to 9 cents in the year-ago quarter. And along with its mixed third quarter results, investors were further discouraged by Roku’s disappointing fourth quarter guidance with a decreased outlook on profitability due to a recent acquisition and operational costs of international growth.

Overall, on October 30th, Roku announced what seemed all positive results and better than-expected third quarter revenues. Active accounts increased by 1.7 million users with the company beating revenue estimates, achieving a growth of 50% year-over-year resulting to $260.9 million. Roku even increased its revenue estimates for the fourth quarter to $396 million and to $1.11 billion for the full 2019 fiscal year, but investors seemed to focus only on the net loss.

Competition is getting fired up – but is this really a threat to Roku?

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has launched its Xfinity Flex streaming box with Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter accusing the company of trying to “dismantle” the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as the company heads to US Supreme court, among many other regulatory pressures calling for the company to be broken up by US Rep. Bobby Rush (D—Ill.).

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) launched its Portal TV streaming device along with an experimental news content section to prevent its users going to other news sites. For years now, the company has been quietly changing its algorithms and enhancing its content, up to the point of ‘cloning’ Snap Inc’s (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat’s features to appeal to the Generation Z users.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) up and coming services have enabled the company to hit an all-time-high with a revenue of record $64 billion, despite a slump in its iPhone sales which were always the main trigger behind its revenues. So, Apple’s strategy of shifting away from hardware to subscription services definitely seems to be working. Moreover, Roku just announced that its updated mobile app can work on the Apple Watch, turning it into a device capable of much more than just switching channels.

The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE:DIS) Disney+ is available on both Roku streaming devices and Roku TV so family-friendly content in the form of hundreds of films and thousands of TV episodes not just from Disney but also from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic will all be available to Roku users.

So overall, Roku is on the winning side as a distributor since it gets revenue from Apple as well as Disney and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). And it is no wonder many analysts believe that Roku will continue benefiting materially from all this competitive activity and perhaps even outperform its fourth quarter guidance. Comparing to Netflix’s most expensive streaming package, Roku’s average revenue per user over the trailing 12 months is 40% higher. Moreover, current trends indicate there’s still plenty of upside left for Roku to further boost its performance.
Overall, Roku remains on its enviable throne being a top distributor and growing with its ‘so-called’ competitors. Roku still has a unique position on the market thanks to its unique business model – a rare one where everyone wins.

Outlook

Many analysts expect that it will be challenging for Roku to make a profit in the upcoming few years due to the company’s costly international expansion during which it will also have to compete for TV licensing contracts. But, Roku has positioned itself to be a key benefactor of the shift from traditional TV to streaming. And just like the previous time its stock dropped due to unnecessary panic, many analysts and investor still seem blindsided to the fact that this is one rare company that is flourishing in a relatively safe position despite the storm around it. So, Wall Street’s post-earnings reaction seems to be purely based on the company’s reduced outlook on profitability as the company targeted an adjusted EBITDA of $30 million for the fiscal year despite the $35 million expected. And considering this decision was taken as the company will be focused on investing in sustained growth, this does not seem as a sign of an underlying problem, especially since its stock has soared almost 400% since January, and ended this quarter with an even improved Q4 revenue outlook. Roku’s platform business which grew by more than half is just one of its strengths that will enable the company not just to survive the streaming wars but to emerge as one of the key providers of the future of television.

This article is contributed by IAMNewswire.com. It was written by an independently verified journalist and is not a press release. It should not be construed as investment advice.

Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com
Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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