Day: August 1, 2022

Car Industry

The Car Industry Is Turning Around Right Now, Semiconductor

Microchip maker NXP Semiconductors (NXPI 0.41%) is a giant of its industry. With trailing revenue of $12.3 billion and a $46 billion market cap, it’s one of the largest companies in the semiconductor sector. NXP is also a long-established leader in automotive computing, claiming a market share of more than 30%.

NXP’s massive financial exposure to the supply and demand mechanics of car-bound microchips gives this company a unique perspective from which it can feel the pulse of the car industry. That’s especially true in the midst of a long and painful shortage of chips used in infotainment panels, engine controls, battery management harnesses, and other modern car systems. So when NXP speaks up about the health of the automobile market, investors in companies like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, and Tesla should sit up and take notice.

What did NXP say?

The company reported second-quarter results on Monday evening. NXP saw sales rise by 28% year over year to $3.31 billion, led by a 36% jump in automotive product sales.

On the earnings call early Tuesday morning, CEO Kurt Sievers said the auto sector is shaping up to a market-wide rebound in the second half of 2022.

Sievers noted that the semiconductor shortages of the first half are easing up, allowing automakers to manufacture more cars in the back half of this year. Unit sales should increase 9% from the first half to the second, Sievers said, with particularly strong increases in key markets such as China and Japan.

The upswing should continue with an 8% year-over-year unit boost in 2023, assuming that current trends continue. Of course, these estimates are subject to some hard-to-guess assumptions, and the unit ramp-up won’t really matter unless consumers and corporate fleets around the world are ready to

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Car News

17-year-old dies after being struck by 2 cars outside Ted

The teen is the second person to be hit and killed by a car in the area this year.

ST. LOUIS — A 17-year-old boy who attended Christian Brothers College High School died Friday night after being hit by a vehicle outside of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Chippewa Street. 

Matthew Nikolai was identified as the victim on Saturday morning by police. 

According to St. Louis police, Nikolai was struck at about 8:15 p.m. Friday. Early investigation by police says a pickup truck was traveling westbound on Chippewa Street.

Nikolai was walking from the Enterprise Bank & Trust parking lot towards Ted Drewes. The pickup truck struck Nikolai, causing him to fall into the eastbound lane where a Ford Fusion also struck Nikolai. 

The pickup truck fled the scene continuing westbound on Chippewa, and the Fusion pulled over and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Nikolai was not conscious or breathing when he was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation is underway.

In a Saturday evening post on its social media pages, CBC High School identified him as a rising senior at the school. Nikolai’s brother is a current student at CBC and his father, uncle, and grandfather all attended the school.

“As our community grieves together, our prayers, support, and love are with his family and close friends during this most challenging time,” the school said.

The school said it will open its chapel Sunday from 3-5 p.m. for anyone who would like to gather in prayer, and a prayer service will be held for the Class of 2023 at a later date.

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Cars Review

Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid Review: Best of Both Worlds

  • The Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid offers the best qualities of gas and electric cars. 
  • I drove the 2022 RAV4 Prime XSE, which came out to roughly $50,700. The model starts at $40,300. 
  • It’s a great choice for people who want a zero-emission EV, but only some of the time. 

The Toyota RAV4 is America’s favorite SUV. But even as an electric revolution sweeps the globe, you can’t get one that’s fully battery-powered. 

Toyota does sell a RAV4 that’s partly electric, though. And after driving it for a week, I’d argue it’s even better suited for many drivers than a full-blown electric vehicle, particularly during a time when charging infrastructure is still lacking.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE plug-in hybrid SUV.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE.

Tim Levin/Insider

The RAV4 Prime — a plug-in hybrid that mixes the best parts of electric and gas cars — is a perfect choice for anyone who’s curious about EVs but isn’t quite ready to give up the practicality of fossil fuels. 

Plug-in hybrids are a mix between a traditional hybrid and a fully electric car. While regular hybrids pair a gas engine with an electric system to boost fuel economy, plug-in hybrids offer the added benefit of larger batteries and longer electric-only range. As their name suggests, you need to charge them up to fully reap their benefits. 

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE plug-in hybrid SUV.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE.

Tim Levin/Insider

The 2022 RAV4 Prime is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency to travel 42 miles without using a drop of gas, and that’s roughly the range I observed. That may not sound all that significant when compared to 300-plus-mile Teslas and the like, but it means owners can do most of their daily driving cheaply and without spewing planet-warming emissions. According to government data, Americans drive around 40 miles per

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Auto News

Larry H. Miller stores push Asbury to record Q2 net income

Asbury Automotive Group Inc. generated record net income of $201.4 million during the second quarter, bolstered by dozens of new Larry H. Miller Dealerships locations it purchased at the end of 2021.

That translated to a net income gain of 32 percent compared with the second quarter of last year, Asbury reported Thursday. Asbury’s revenue rose 53 percent to $3.95 billion.

Asbury CEO David Hult said Asbury also set records with $352.1 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and $10.04 in adjusted earnings per share. However, Asbury’s same-store revenue fell 7.2 percent, and same-store gross profit stood essentially unchanged for the quarter.

“With two full quarters with our expanded dealership portfolio, our incredible team across the nation delivered a sequential increase in adjusted EBITDA of 5 percent and adjusted EPS of 8 percent over the first quarter of 2022,” Hult said in a statement Thursday.

Asbury Automotive Group bought 61 Larry H. Miller franchised and used-only stores and finance and insurance products provider Total Care Auto as part of a $3.2 billion deal last December. At the time, Larry H. Miller was ranked No. 8 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with 61,097 new vehicles retailed in 2020. Asbury, of Duluth, Ga., was No. 6 on the list at that time and moved to No. 5 on Automotive News’ latest list, with retail sales of 109,910 new vehicles in 2021.

Asbury sold seven Toyota and Lexus stores in the first half of the year to comply with automaker store-count limits. It held 148 new-vehicle dealerships consisting of 198 franchises as of Thursday.

Q2 revenue: $3.95 billion, up 53 percent from a year earlier

Q2 net income: $201.4 million, up 32 percent

Q2 adjusted net income: $222.9

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