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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

News From The Vaccine World

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Less than a year before the COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) was facing delisting from the Nasdaq. The 33-year-old Maryland-based pharmaceutical company didn’t have a single approved shot after hundreds of millions of dollars invested in its R&D efforts. Wall Street likes to take bets on unproven biotech such as Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), but it can be unforgiving of failure.  Fortunately, Novavax is now on the verge of getting approval in the UK, which will probably be followed by the US. Interim data have shown that its vaccine has an efficacy rate up there with the shots developed by Moderna, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), all of which are based on revolutionary mRNA technology. However, Novavax’ candidate s is cheaper and easier to transport and can be stored at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Additionally, the one-shot candidate by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) that can be kept at normal temperatures was granted an emergency use authorization during the weekend.

Merck and Johnson will join forces

Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) will manufacture the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) under an unusual deal that the Biden administration engineered to boost production of the single-shot ja which has been hampered by manufacturing delays.

The Biden administration helped to engineer the deal between the competitors after J&J, which was, experienced production hold-ups. J&J is the world’s largest healthcare company, but when it comes to vaccines, Merck has the expertise as it is one of the world’s largest vaccine makers with many approved shots.

Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) is another large vaccine maker that has fallen behind in the COVID-19 vaccine race and has agreed to help boost supplies of the J&J vaccine in Europe. Last month, it stated it would use its capacity to fill vials.

Novavax has finally stopped gasping for air

The CEO of Novavax, Stanley Erck, stated their candidate is more than 90% effective against the original strain, 86% effective against the U.K. strain and considerably less effective against the South African strain. According to forecasts, Novavax will generate more than $5 billion in revenue this year. As it is applying for approval for it flu shot, it will start studies on combining the Covid-19 and flu vaccine into a single shot later this year.

A story with a happy ending for everyone?

Novavax’s story resembles a Cinderella story as a little company that was on the verge of potentially closing has really been able to play with the big boys in the race for the Covid vaccine. The bottom line is that the US will have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, which is sooner than anticipated, thanks in part to an unusual type of collaboration we didn’t see since World War II between two of the country’s largest drugmakers.

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

Workhorse and Worksport Both Delivered Good News This Week

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EV Update

This week began with good news in the EV world. On Monday, electric truck maker Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) reported before market open. Its shares bounced 4.7% in midday trading Monday after the electric vehicle maker reported a surprise fourth-quarter net profit despite falling short on sales. A piece of good news were more then welcome after last week’s selloff that plunged as low as 47.5% plunge last Tuesday, after the U.S. Postal Service awarded a contract for delivery trucks exclusively to Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK), while Workhorse was widely expected to win at least a part of the contract. On Tuesday morning, tonneau-cover manufacturer Worksport (OTC: WKSP) announced it is expanding its capacity to meet increased demand. Worksport announced this morning that it received over US$2.3 Million to date from Exercised Warrants from the recent oversubscribed Regulation A offering.

Workhorse Q4 results

The company reported its net income rose to $280.5 million from $655,000 a year ago, thanks largely to income derived from its investment in Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE), an electric pickup startup founded by Workhorse’s former chief executive. The FactSet expected a net loss of $15.1 million. Revenues increased from $3,000 to $652,000, due to a higher volume of produced and delivered trucks, but still came short of FactSet consensus of $1.2 million. According to its Chief Executive, the company is entering the new year in its strongest-ever position, both financially and operationally. With over $200 million of cash on its balance sheet and over 8,000 vehicles in its backlog, it can reliably continue building its multi-year growth plan.

The EV maker is not taking a recent high-profile defeat lying down

The company also revealed it will meet with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) management on Wednesday to discuss the latter’s recent awarding of a 10-year contract that would place Workhorse among top EV manufacturers. With at least 50,000 trucks to be manufactured within a decade, this will be the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades. While the USPS is one of the more financially strapped government entities, cy it’s considered to be an extremely reliable business partner. Following the USPS’s awarding of the contract to Oshkosh, Workhorse issued a press release in which it clearly stated it intends to explore all avenues that are available to non-awarded finalists in a government bidding process. Its odds of getting a second shot could depend on whether President Biden is able to force out the postmaster general who was installed last year by board members appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Worksport is expanding due to increased demand

Innovative pickup truck tonneau cover manufacturer Worksport partnered with Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles to configure its revolutionary TerraVis solar system for their upcoming electric pickup trucks is expanding further. The company announced on Tuesday morning it is in the final phase of a strategic manufacturing expansion discussions with a few Tier-1 and Tier-2 OEM manufacturing power houses in Canada. The company aims to expand its manufacturing into North American state-of-the-art facilities with 20,000 to 50,000 square feet of operating space to meet its recent U.S.-based Private Label customer growth.  Considering the company was awarded its first trademark in China, this is only the beginning of Worksport’s growth story, not to mention the company is also expanding outside the pickup truck market to the consumer market by extending its solar fusion line with mobile TerraVis COR™ system that can be used independently and recharged via solar or A/C power. These discussions involve logistics to ensure scalability in the manufacturing processes. The expansion will give the company control over capital expenses, greatly reducing risks of overextending its financials during periods of intense demand while building its major Automotive, Freight & Transport, Marine, and Rail ecosystems. With its CEO Steven Rossi at the helm, Workhorse is going all in to exceed customer expectations in terms of quality, innovation, convenience and last but not least, affordability.

Outlook

Workhorse aims to increase production to three trucks a day by the end of this month and reach a daily output of 10 trucks by the end of June. Worksport is aiming to become a Tier 1 OEM manufacturer of solar-powered tonneau covers for electric makers and by the looks of it, it’s well on track, especially as it successfully closed its $4 million Regulation A offering at the beginning February well ahead of the scheduled closing due in November 2021. Demand that is fueling Worksport to rapid growth is key, which is why Workhorse isn’t willing to take USPS’ no for answer.

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

Target Hits The Bull’s Eye With Yet Another Quarter

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Some of its biggest peers such as Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M) and Best Buy Co.Inc (NYSE: BBY) came out with improving fourth quarter sales and profit outlook as a tiny bit of normalcy begins to return to consumer spending, but now it’s Target’s (NYSE: TGT) turn in the spotlight. Earnings topped estimates as sales rose 21%, boosted by a surge of post-holiday shoppers that cashed in stimulus checks during an unusually strong period for the industry as a government report revealed sales increased 5.3% in January. As of Monday’s close, Target shares have risen nearly 81% over the past year, bringing the company’s market value to $93.19 billion.

Q4

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended on January 30th, revenue rose 21% to $28.34 billion from $23.4 billion last year, higher than analysts’ expectations of $27.48 billion. Comparable sales, a key metric that tracks sales at stores open at least 13 months and online, went up 20.5% compared to the prior year as digital comparable sales rose by 118% YoY. After strong holiday sales, online sales gained even more momentum as Americans cashed in their $600 stimulus checks in January. As impressive as they are, both metrics show deceleration in terms of growth rates versus the third quarter. In mid-January, Target reported that sales grew 17% during the holidays, which is a slight slowdown from the third quarter’s 21% spike, but it is still a lot better compared to the 9% that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) experienced.

Profit margin was 26.80% and the operating margin amounted to 6.50%. Net income rose 66% to $1.38 billion, or $2.73 per share, increasing from last year quarter’s $834 million or $1.63 per share. Excluding items, Target earned $2.67 per share, exceeding Refinitiv’s average expectation of $2.54.

New customers and more purchases

Target has attracted new customers and inspired more purchases with its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise, from cereal to workout pants, as competitors like Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE: KSS) were forced to temporarily close stores due to the pandemic. Citing internal and third-party research, Target estimates it gained about $9 billion in market share during the fiscal year. Customers shopped more frequently with Target and bought more when they did during the holiday quarter thanks to its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise.

A variety of approaches to shopping

By offering different multiple channels, Target is strengthening customer loyalty. Same-day services saw sales grow by 212% and curbside pickup service sales grew by more than 500% during the quarter. On average, customers who shop in both in stores and online spend nearly four times more than those who shop only in stores and nearly ten times more than those who only shops online.

Fiscal 2020

2020 sales grew by more than $15 billion which is greater than Target’s combined sales growth of the last 11 years. Comparable sales grew 19.3%, reflecting 7.2% growth in store comparable sales, and 145% growth in digital comparable sales.

Target’s 2020 stock price rally is largely owed to improved margins. While the competitive holiday season usually pressures this figure, this wasn’t so much of an issue this year as shoppers happily paid the full price for more convenient and faster fulfillment options, including premium merchandise.

Another quarter in which Target hit the bull’s eye is in the books ended a record year which is not a pandemic-related blip but the payoff of its long-term business strategy. Record growth in 2020 was a result of many years of investment to build a durable, scalable and sustainable business model that enabled the big box retailer to capitalize on the opportunity that was provided by the pandemic.

Outlook

Target remains extra cautious in the face of continued uncertainty as the pandemic has made it too difficult to predict consumer patterns. No sales or EPS guidance for fiscal 2021 were provided. Although shoppers are still cautious, Target is also seeing hopeful consumers who are looking forward to a post-pandemic life, expecting to see shoppers browsing aisles and returning to buying items such as apparel for work or going out as well as new luggage. To find a way to hold on to customer’s wallets after vaccines kick in, the big box retailer plans to invest about $4 billion per year over the next several years to open new stores, upgrade existing ones and enhance its ability to quickly fulfill online orders.

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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