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BenzingaEditorial

The Growing Specialty Car Equipment Industry Brings Unlimited Opportunities

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Ford News

There are 225 million licensed drivers in the U.S with 85% of total adults. And they drive 278.1 million vehicles, made of 158.6 million light trucks and 119.5 million passenger cars that are on the road. The vast majority of the 278 million vehicles are less than 20 years old. Despite the fact that there is a constant flux in the ownership of cars and trucks, currently, the number of cars coming on to the road outpaces those being retired. This expanding vehicle population offers more opportunity for the aftermarket- the industry of specialty car equipment.

Future trend

Over the next few years, passenger car sales are expected to drop whereas demand for light trucks is expected to increase as the growth in CUVs is coming largely at the expense of traditional car sales. By 2025, SEMA projects that light trucks that include: pickups, SUVs, CUVs and vans, will represent 69% of all light vehicles sold. And if gas prices and the economy don’t become limiting factors, light truck sales are expected to continue outpacing passenger cars.

While accessorizing can occur anytime during a car’s lifecycle, most modifiers tend to upgrade their vehicles within the first few months of purchasing their vehicle, whether it is new or used. But vehicle preferences are changing and so is this overall landscape with 27% of drivers purchasing specialty-equipment parts each year with 34.9 million households accessorizing their vehicles also on a yearly basis.
Overall, the specialty-equipment market has been growing about 5% per year, reaching a new high of nearly $45 billion in 2018 and it is expected to continue unless prevented by a weakening macroeconomy.

Electrification

Despite the increasing interest for this trend that will shape the future, electric vehicles comprise less than 1% of light vehicles on the road whereas hybrids are now the only alternative to have a notable share of registrations. So, it will take some time to change the landscape of the U.S. light vehicle fleet.

Opportunities exist across vehicle segments

Pickups remain the largest segment for the industry and besides being a versatile platform for accesorization, they are the most common segment on the road and are expected to sell well in the future. CUVs are an emerging opportunity with a lot of them on the road and their popularity growing further, and supposedly they will be accessorized similar to SUVs. But despite the growth of CUVs, full-size pickups remain the most common vehicle subtype on the road. In 2018, pickups are what drove the most sales in the specialized equipment sector.

Tops vehicles for accesorization – pickups

Based on its opportunity scores, full-size pickups top the overall list as they are the perfect platform for accessorization, both in terms of utility enhancement as well as ‘enthusiastic’ additions.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is taking first place with its full-size pickup with 17.6 million vehicles in operation. GM is the fourth major company who left the Plastics Industry Association this year possibly due to pressuring environmental policies although they didn’t disclose the reason why they didn’t renew their membership. The company just unveiled its electric pickup with two BOLT EV batteries. Their Chevrolet E-10 Concept combines vintage style with the futuristic technology needed to achieve zero-emissions.

The second place is taken by Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) F series pickup with 15.6 million operating vehicles. Ford has also just revealed a one-off electric Mustang for this week’s annual Specialty Equipment Market, a place where lots of futuristic prototypes are born. With just two weeks until Ford unveils its first mass-market EV, a Mustang-inspired SUV codenamed Mach E, you can imagine where Ford’s multibillion-dollar investment into electric vehicles is headed.

Third place goes to Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (NYSE:FCAU) RAM who just got patriotic with “built to serve” editions that honor the US Military. Its pickup has 7.6 million operating vehicles on the road.

Fourth place is taken also by FCA’s Jeep Wranger (2.9 million vehicles), followed by Ford’s Mustang (2.2 million), GM’s Chevrolet Tahoe (4 million) and Camaro (1.3 million,), FCA’s Dodge Challenger (529K), GM’s Chevrolet Corvette (814K) and last but not least, Toyota Motor Corporation’s (NYSE:TM) Toyota 4Runner with 1.9 million operating vehicles.

But older cars still represent an important market for the equipment industry and there are some notable differences within their rankings as Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft’s (OTC:BMWYY) BMW 3 Series with a long history of model generations appears, as well as Chevrolet’s Corvettes make an appearance on that list. Interestingly, it is BMW’s new SUV models that boosted the company’s net profit that increased 11.5 percent from a year ago to $1.72 billion in the third quarter despite increased spending on electric technology. The fact that revenues increased 7.9 percent is great news after the company was quite disrupted in the same period last year due to new emission policies that impacted costs and distorted its supply chain.

Projected sales – optimistic

GM and Ford’s market dominance in the pickup segment is expected to continue with sales of an additional 12 million trucks by 2026, followed by RAM Pickup of 3.7 million. But Toyota’s prospects are looking up with Toyota Tacoma (1.7 million) – 4th place and Toyota Tundra (769K) 6th place, with Chevrolet Colorado at 5th place (1.1 million). Newer pickups from Toyota tend to get the most attention from accessorizers, especially the mid-size Tacoma. With 3.2 million Tacomas on the road today and 2 million Tundras, it is an indication that strong market exists for specialty-equipment markets within the Toyota pickup space. On Tuesday, the company announced significant changes in its North America division, such as establishing the Manufacturing Project Innovation Center and naming new leaders to enable its manufacturing team to better respond to customers’ needs. The Japanese giant plans to invest $13 billion in its U.S. manufacturing plants by 2021.

Ford Ranger (648K) took 7th place, but the list also introduces Nissan Motor Co’s (OTC:NSANY) Frontier (506K). Nissan just unveiled its Ford Ranger Raptor rival, also as a tease for the 2019 SEMA auto exhibition. At the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan executives said the company is working on hybrid technology.

Speaking of hybrid, one of the companies that will surely benefit from this light truck accesorization is Worksport that is owned by Franchise Holdings International Inc. (OTC: FNHI). The company which is one of the fastest growing manufacturers of truck bed covers in the US, just won its third U.S. Patent for innovative and affordable truck bed cover system, surely a monetizable development for the company. The patented hybrid model will be officially launched later this year. The company also launched a new website in its effort to become synonymous with the experience of driving a pick-up truck. Worksport was launched with a mission to create a brand-new market for all those truck drivers who weren’t satisfied with the available market offerings and not only did they succeed in creating that segment, but they have quite a perspective for future growth!
Bright future for pickups- even brighter for specialized equipment!

The conclusion is that consumer demand for pickups is expected to continue well in the future, so they should remain highly accessorized platforms. Yet, as large and often more expensive vehicles, trucks can be more susceptible to changes in the economy. So, in case of a weakening economy, consumers may tend to hold on to their older vehicles or switch to more economical options, but this is even better news for specialized equipment industry. But provided consumers feel confident in the current economic environment, both pickup sales and of their accessories will continue to grow. So, either way, specialized equipment for light trucks has a bright future ahead!

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

Moderna Misses Expectations But Things Are More Than Fine

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Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) saw its stock jump on Thursday despite growing losses, after the Covid-19 vaccine-maker reported more than double the revenue Wall Street predicted. Moderna missed EPS expectations with revenue far surpassing analyst forecasts as the company first began to recognize revenue from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. The loss was simply a result of heavy investment to increase production of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The company has spent the past two months producing and shipping its much-awaited coronavirus vaccine but its fourth-quarter is merely the surface of its vaccine success. In 2021, Moderna plans to manufacture 600-700 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine but it should be able to expand its capacity to 1.4 billion doses in 2022 due to heavy capital investments, all of which should result in massive profits.

Q4 and FY 2020

For the fourth quarter ended December 31s, quarterly loss of $0.69 per share was below Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.25 but Moderna brought in $570.75 billion in sales. That crushed the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet for $279.4 million andsurpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 74.76%. Just one year ago, revenues amounted to $14.06 million but until its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine, the company had never brought an approved medicine to the market.

Losses grew to 69 cents per share after a 37-cent per-share loss in the year-ago period, whereas analysts expected a 34-cent loss. Although a big portion of revenue still came from the grant received from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to advance its Covid vaccine, for the first time,Moderna had product sales, and they amounted to $199.87 million as the company began recognizing Covid vaccine sales in December. Although losses widened in 2020, Moderna’s sales skyrocket to $803.4 million.

Possible threat

One of the biggest risks ahead for all vaccine makers is the prevalence of new coronavirus variants. To tackle this, Moderna is investigating two upgrades. The first is actually a third dose of vaccine that would increase neutralizing antibody levels to better fend off new strains. The second is a strain-specific upgraded version which has been moved into preclinical and phase 1 trials as of end of January. Moderna is designing it to target the. If successful, the company should be able to quickly adapt it to protect against future strainsalthough it is designed to target the South African variation.

Teenagers

In early December, Moderna began a phase 2/3 trial of its covid vaccine in young adults who are 12 to 17years old. The data will be reported in spring and should result in Emergency Use Authorization just in time for the back-to-school period in September. But as of last month, Moderna didn’t have enough adolescent volunteers.

Teens aren’t at the greatest risk from serious COVID-19 complications but they play a role in the transmission of the virus, so their vaccination is another  important element in containing the pandemic.

2021

The company expects $18.4 billion in full-year 2021 sales of its Covid vaccine. The figure is based on already inked advance purchase agreements but additional discussions are ongoing for both 2021 and 2022. That outlook shattered forecasts as analysts expected $11 billion. Furthermore, the company said it plans to make 700 million doses of its vaccine this year, while still working to bring that capacity up to 1 billion. In 2022, Moderna expects be able to produce 1.4 billion doses.

Chief Executive Stephane Bancel called 2020 a historic year for the company as it trailed Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) by a week in the U.S by gaining emergency use authorization. The vaccine is Moderna’s first commercial product with 32 million doses having been administered in the U.S. to millions of people around the world.

In 2020, Moderna went from knowing mRNA vaccines can be highly efficient it went to cash-flow generating commercial company that is helping save the world form the claws of an invisible enemy. The latest reported quarter ended a milestone year for the biotech company. 2020 was a year in which the world went dark but the pandemic helped Moderna shine as it provided us with a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. Since the beginning of 2021, its shares gained 38.6%, greatly exceeding S&P 500’s gain of 4.5%.

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

Li Did Good But Not Good Enough

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Li Auto Inc (NASDAQ: LI) earnings were good but guidance wasn’t good enough as Chinese electric-vehicle maker reported solid fourth-quarter numbers Thursday. Despite producing a surprise profit, stock reversed and Li wasn’t the only one. Nio Limited (NYSE) who is due to report Monday fell 9.7% and Xpeng Inc (NYSE: XPEV) lost 8.55% Thursday. Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) gave up 8.1%. Earlier this week, Texas-based Hyliion (Holdings Corporation (NYSE: HYLN), which makes EV powertrains for commercial fleets, reported a loss of 13 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

Figures

The results were a little confusing, but good as Li reported $636 million in sales as revenue jumped 39%, exceeding $604 million that analysts projected in sales. The company reported a loss from operations but a positive net income. Still, the loss from operations was about $12 million which is smaller than expected. Li Auto earnings came in at 2 cents a share whereas analysts expected a loss of 4 cents on a revenue of $565.5 million. The company also generated positive free cash flow. Investors like it when young companies demonstrate the ability to be self-funding by generating the cash they need to grow from their own operations.

Throughout the quarter, Li delivered 14,464 of its Li One SUV, its only vehicle in production which is technically a hybrid because it has a small gas engine to extend its range. This is 67% more than third quarter’s 8,660 with the total for 2020 being approximately 32,624 deliveries Its rival Nio (NYSE: NIO) sold 17,353 units in Q4 and 43,728 for the year, while Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV) sold 12,964 in Q4 and 27,041 for the year. What enabled Li to deliver a bottom-line profit from an operating loss is the required accounting of securities.

Outlook

Management expects first quarter revenue to come in the range of $450.6 million to $493.5 million. This range would represents a growth between 246% and 279% compared to previous fiscal year’s quarter. Deliveries are expected to be in the range between 10,500 and 11,500 vehicles, up 263%-297% compared to the same quarter last year but less than the fourth quarter which will make reaching analyst projections for 2021 sales projections more challenging. The company reported that January deliveries soared 356% YoY to 5,379 but that is below December 2020’s 6,126.

As the automotive industry is undergoing a once-in-a-century shift to smart EVs, the fourth quarter ended a big year for Li that grew significantly due to strong demand for its distinctive product offering and superior user experience. Government’s support for EVs also doesn’t hurt as to encourage adoption, not only are license plates guaranteed but they are also free.

The earnings provided a sigh of relief for investors as Li stock has had a rocky ride lately. As of Wednesday’s close, shares were down about 11% month to date.

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

Baidu Is Determined To Show It Has More to Offer

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For two decades, the 21-year-old company has been viewed as an online marketing tool that sells ads through its web search results. But now, the internet company is ready to show it has much more to offer. Last week, it reported fourth quarter earnings for 2020 that beat market expectations and revealed its ambitious plans to enter the EV land. Many years of investing in AI has finally started to pay off as Baidu is finally monetizing the technology used with smart devices. Company’s investments in non-core businesses iarealso helping it defend its core search platform from rivals Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), Tencent Holdings (OTC: TCEHY) and privately-ownedByteDance, whose products are just as popular.

The Chinese tech giant has recovered from the worst impact that the pandemic had on its business as advertising rebounded. Moreover, non-marketing revenue which excludes advertising and includes its cloud and autonomous driving business, grew 52% YoY. Baidu is also tapping into capital markets, including a potential second listing in Hong Kong. Baidu beefs up its autonomous and smart transport technology to tainto the EV market as it revealed back in January it would set up a smart electric vehicle (EV) company with Geely.

As the domestic economy recovers, the company want to tap into into the fast-growing electric-vehicle market to diversify revenue sources.

Figures

Full year revenue for 2020 amounted to $16.4 billion which is flat compared to 2019. Adjusted earnings of $3.08 per share versus analyst estimates of $2.79 per share came after revenues of $4.6 billion versus analyst estimates of $4.7 billion, according to FactSet.

The company provided guidance for the undergoing quarter that was ahead of analyst estimates. Revenue is expected to be in the $4.0 billion and $4.4 billion, representing a growth rate of 15% to 26% YoY, but it does not include potential contribution from its acquisition of live streaming app YY Live. The acquisition was announced last November and is expected to close in the first half of the year. The guidance is also based on the assumption that its core revenue will grow between 26% and 39% on a YoY basis.

EVs

Baidu places a lot of emphasis on its Apollo self-driving technology. Last month, the company formed a strategic partnership with the Chinese car company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to create a standalone electric car company. Baidu is the majority shareholder. Together, they aim to launch a smart EV model inthree years. Robin Li, Baidu’s CEO Li also said a brand name has been chosen but did not release it.

CNBC has confirmed Xia Yiping, co-founder of bike-sharing start-up Mobike, will be the CEO of the new entity. Xia previously worked at Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) and Ford before co-founding a company that was part of China’s boom and eventual bust in shared bike start-ups.

Even Xiaomi is following Baidu’s EV footsteps as the Chinese search engine leader has been basking in newfound investor love as the next EV-maker wannabe. Unlike other EV makers, Baidu’s strategy is akin to Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android for smartphones.

Outlook

Baidu ended an unprecedented year on a solid note and showed it is recovering from the consequences of the global health crisis as its business benefited from an improving macroeconomic environment and the digitalization of businesses and lifestyles. Its commitment on innovation through technology is paying off for the Chinese tech giant. Baidu is well positioned as a leading AI company with a strong foundation to seize the enormous market opportunities in cloud services, autonomous driving, smart transportation, along with all kinds of new opportunities that AI will inevitably bring to the table. The online marketing company chose to be in the right place, at the right time.

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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