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Pickups, SUVs And CUVs – The Bright Future Of The Specialized Equipment Market

IAM Newswire

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 Company'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.

he 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 Publication is contributed by IAMNewswire.com

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