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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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BenzingaEditorial

Are spaceflights just around the corner?

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Space Flights Stock Market

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE), an aerospace company, pioneering in private space flights and manufacturing of advanced air and space vehicles, announced the Q4 and end of year results. Company’s key goal is to open access to space, so it is safe and affordable. Q4 brought the company closer to that goal by finalizing the transaction with Social Capital Hedosophia and becoming publicly listed on the NYSE. All of that affected further operational readiness of the Spaceport America in New Mexico, which is used by tenants like Virgin Galactic, TMD Defense and Space, White Sands Research and Developers and SpinLaunch.

White Sands Research and Developers LLC is based in Las Cruces, and it offers engineering and aerospace services like software development, flight modeling, systems engineering and suborbital launch services. TMD Defense and Space is based in El Paso and they plan to test ballistic missiles in Spaceport. SpinLaunch is a company aiming to move payloads to space with a spaceflight mass accelerator technology.

Tickets for space

Virgin Galactic, bringing Virgin branded customer experience, wants its customers to have a unique experience, lasting more than one day. Not all that time will be spent in space, but the spaceflight should provide real space adventure, views of the Earth and several minutes without gravity. All of this attracted just below 8.000 registrations of interest in flight reservations. This successful increase of interest registrations came after spending the last couple of years upgrading the spacecraft, which has now successfully flown two test flights to space, carrying five people in total (on both flights together).

These registrations of interest in flight reservations cost $1.000,00, and it represents refundable deposit securing a privileged position for future ticket purchase. Previous tickets were sold for $250.000, but we can expect that the company will increase the price, once they restart with ticket selling.

Q4 and 2019 results

When looking at these results, we should have in mind that the company spent several years in development, updating and upgrading its spaceship, with no ticket sales. Q4 revenues were $529,000, summing up to almost $3.8 million for the whole of 2019. That is an increase from 2018 revenues of $2.8 million but 2019 being its first full year of results. Taking into consideration huge research and development expenses, as well as similar SG&A, it is not a big surprise that the company showed a net loss of $73 million in Q4 or $210.9 million for the whole 2019 as it aims to be profitable by 2021. On the other hand, the company finished the year with cash and cash equivalents of $480 million as of December 31, 2019.

Outlook indicators

Virgin Galactic stocks rocketed in 2020. Investors seem to prefer riskier, more imaginative business endeavors. Similar goes for Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and even Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) who have their sights set even higher: that being  the moon and eventually Mars. Space travel somehow goes with futuristic electric cars, preferably even with autopilots. But in the meaning, current tech giants’ stocks like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) with Bezos’ billionaire-backed venture Blue Origin are a trailing a bit, almost seeming as they are not interesting enough. But space flights do seem just to be around the corner.

Here are some interesting details which may give us a better idea  about when we can expect those spaceflights. Virgin Galactic started with the construction of astronaut training and flight preparation area by building the third floor at Spaceport America. The company also moved an additional 70 Virgin Galactic operations personnel from Mojave, CA to Spaceport America, bringing the total number of staff to 145. It also announced the $20 million investment by Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures, forming a strategic partnership. Future astronaut spacesuits will be made in cooperation with Under Armour (NYSE: UA), the company which also agreed to host the recently launched Astronaut Readiness program. All that activity cannot be without any reason. Hopefully, we will see how travel space looks like soon and maybe even gain an the International Space Station – and now that will even go beyond Harry Potter’s 9 and ¾ platform – no offence to J.K. Rowling intended!

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure .

IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. 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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BenzingaEditorial

Monday and Tuesday’s Market Tumble – Who Is Affected

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Stock Market Tumble

The market is suffering from earthquakes as companies continue to warn about the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Tech juggernaut Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was among the first who has already warned of a shortage of iPhones but other US companies are also starting to break a sweat. If the impact is as serious as some investors suspect, it could derail the longest economic expansion in US’s history. That means there are political implications too. Even for US President Donald Trump has made a roaring economy a central part of his re-election bid and such wobbles could make his case for another four years more challenging. Travel companies around the world also continued to suffer. In the UK, among the FTSE 100 the greatest drop was suffered by EasyJet (OTC:ESYJY) , which sank 16.7%, while British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. (OTC:ICAGY) was down by more than 9%.

Latest effects on other stocks and markets

Which stocks and markets will suffer the most from the outbreak will depend on several factors, like where the virus will spread, the number of affected people, market position and what market mostly relies on the infected area, etc. Some markets may fight for a while, but eventually, they are bound to feel the impact. This means that the entire U.S. stock market could be exposed. The last few days have been full of heavy selling at a quick pace, and the market felt down for four days straight.  The S&P 500 index fell for approximately 3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 3.15%, as well as NASDAQ composite for 2.8%. Some of the best ETFs also suffered some decreases. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) dropped 2.8%, while the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (NYSE:FFTY) slipped 3%. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (NYSE:SMH) had a similar result and lost 2.9%. These several days of heavy selling really placed the market under pressure on Monday and Tuesday, but after that tumble for several days, the indexes and indicators started coming back to normal and higher values.

Tesla Inc

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock has been in a negative trend since the week began, and it  fell more than 7% on Monday, mainly due to fears of the spread of the pandemia and its effect on the world economy. Having in mind that one of three Tesla’s Gigafactories is in Shanghai, the virus outbreak might be a significant slowdown and temporary barrier for Tesla’s plans. Having in mind that the company is quite dependent on its China factory, while the competition has a little better diversification of its assets, Tesla might be more concerned than other auto manufacturers. This comes at a not-so-great time as Tesla has been working on meeting all the requirements to add its stocks to S&P 500 index in order to push its stock further.

Bob Chapek steps in as Disney’s new CEO

Prematurely stepping down of Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) long-serving CEO Bob Iger pushed Disney’s stocks to its lowest values since April 2019. First, the stock fell during Monday’s tumble for 4.3% and continued to decrease on Tuesday for 3.6%. Bob Chapek, who has led Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since 2018, will take over as CEO. The initial plan was that Iger resigns in 2021. But he will stay with the company, directing future “creative endeavors”.

Salesforce co-CEO also steps down

Keith Block, Salesforce’s (NYSE:CRM) co-CEO since 2018, announced he is stepping down, leaving the company founder Marc Benioff as the single CEO. This all came after several straight days of stock decrease. Maybe this was a surprise for some, since many saw Block as next in line as Salesforce’s sole CEO if Benioff decided to withdraw. The announcement also stated that Block will remain close to the company on advising position.

Outlook

The Fed sees the Coronavirus as the threat to global growth. Moreover, some analysts find it could burst some bubbles, as in the case of Tesla. Investors have been trying to make sense of what the coronavirus means for businesses since January, but many fear that the market has underestimated its impact and that we’re in for a severe correction.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure.

IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. 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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BenzingaEditorial

Technology Lesson for the New Era – Can You Do It Twice?

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Microsoft News

Whether we like it or not, the big tech firms have shaped our everyday lives and continue to influence them. But recent times have also brought increased legislation as lawmakers do their best to limit the power and influence of these companies. It remains to be seen whether they will succeed as there is an abundant range of both and the good that technology has brought into our existence. But what is interesting is that this constantly-changing landscape has one consistent theme. And that is companies that dominate one paradigm shift rarely dominate the next, even if they see them coming. It’s almost like saying that invention comes only once? Then again, there are some giants who might even manage to break this pattern.

The kingdom of PCs and Clouds and Mobiles

IBM (NYSE:IBM) saw PCs coming yet it outsourced the most valuable aspect of the technology to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). Microsoft and Intel in turn dominated PCs, yet they did not manage to do the same with the mobile market. And they saw it coming way before Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) even introduced the iPhone – so well done to Steve Jobs. Apple has made us go crazy over the iPhone indeed but it has been relatively unsuccessful in the cloud sector compared to its competitors.

Can you see a pattern? Or not!

Focusing further on Microsoft and Apple as examples: Microsoft dominated PCs, missed in mobile, but retooled and is now a giant in cloud services. A giant so big that it has beaten Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)  in winning the Pentagon’s JEDI contract. Although Amazon is still determined in not letting happen and the judge stopped the contract from realisation until the lawsuit is resolved, the potential of Microsoft, the reason for which it was chosen, is undebatable.

Apple was a leader in very early PCs only to lose that battle to Microsoft and Intel, so it was able to retool its entire business to focus on mobile. But that ultimately made it difficult to build a big cloud business, even though Apple was early in offering cloud services to consumers. And now? Apple is repositioning  itself on being a service company. No need to feel sorry for Apple as it recently reported its record first quarter results. Will Apple TV Plus manage to eclipse the emperor Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) who also surpassed expectations for its latest quarter, along with intense competition from Disney (NYSE:DIS) and others is an entirely different question! And all bets are in!

The takeaway

These companies were built with an idea to disrupt the status quo but the truth is that they are back at square one when the next shift begins. And the pace is only getting quicker.  In the end, they also find themselves asking the same questions as the companies they disrupted before- why change everything about your disrupt your highly profitable core? That core business is afterall, one’s ‘baby’. So to make it less painful, it seems the best thing to do is shift the direction immediately after it’s become apparent you’ve lost just one round and leapfrog to a new one that you can build a business around. Baby steps are key, even for giants as this can only make them flexible enough to follow through change.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by Ivana Popovic who is a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . Ivana Popovic does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. 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 Questions about this release can be send to ivana@iamnewswire.com

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