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Truly small luxury SUVs are becoming big business in 2020 in Canada

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At five premium auto brands, the smallest utility vehicles are now the second-most popular vehicles in their respective lineups.

As the automotive industry struggled to maintain a semblance of sales activity through much of 2020’s first half, Canada’s burgeoning luxury subcompact crossover segment was busy growing its share of the premium market.

Some 14 per cent of all premium-brand automobiles sold in Canada are now of the smallest SUV/crossover persuasion, market share growth of 30 per cent in just 12 months. Year-over-year, overall luxury sales tumbled 33 per cent in 2020’s first six months, but the segment birthed by the BMW X1 only nine years ago didn’t struggle nearly as much. The X1 and its colleagues slid only 13 per cent, an average loss of only 22 national sales per month per nameplate.

This is the future of the premium sector in Canada. While six-digit supercars and jumbo-sized SUVs garner headlines for the luxury marques, actual retail sales volume is increasingly produced by these pocket-sized utilities.

Just as the mainstream subcompact utility vehicle sector incorporates vehicles of varying dimensions and vehicles with wildly varying approaches, the same is true in this loftier price bracket. Think about the front-wheel-drive Hyundai Venue on one end of the segment; the off-road-friendly Jeep Renegade on the other. Or consider the frequency with which manufacturers compete for value-minded crossover shoppers with a pair of utilities: Kicks and Qashqai, Soul and Seltos, Trax and Trailblazer.

Luxury brands are similarly interested in stuffing the smallest premium crossover sector with distinct vehicles: a Lexus UX that’s only available with all-wheel-drive when a hybrid powertrain is selected, a three-row Mercedes-Benz GLB, a high-priced Jaguar, and a pair of BMWs.

Further clarifying the depth of the shift in luxury showrooms, consider the rarity of a midsize luxury sedan sale. The category long controlled by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series now accounts for just 4 per cent of premium brand auto sales in Canada, less than one-third the volume produced by subcompact crossovers.

Of course, not all competitors in this nascent category produce meaningful volume. The three leaders account for the majority of sales.

Audi Q3: 2,376, up 2,986 percent

Producing more than one-fifth of Audi Canada’s volume in early 2020, the new Q3’s year-over-year improvement is hugely impressive given the state of the industry. To be fair, the 2,986-per-cent uptick is misleading — the Q3’s hiatus between generations was prolonged, causing 2019 volume to crater while dealers waited for the new Q3.

Regardless, Q3 sales are far stronger now than they’ve ever been. Between 2015 and 2018, Audi averaged fewer than 1,900 sales in a half-year period.

Cadillac XT4: 1,344, down 14 percent

2019 Cadillac XT4

On track to become Cadillac’s top seller in the near future based on its own rate of growth and the segment’s consistent boom, the XT4 sits below the XT5 (which replaced the SRX), three-row XT6, and the long-running Escalade. The XT4 competes with an advertised base price below $38,000 (including destination charges; excluding discounts), thousands less than the BMW X1.

But visually, the XT4 has size on its side. It’s half-a-foot longer than the X1, for example, but still nearly half-a-foot shorter than the BMW X3. The X5 also splits the difference between the Audi Q3 and Q5. A full 29 per cent of the Cadillacs sold in Canada are now XT4s.

Lexus UX: 1,003, down 38 percent

2019 Lexus UX

Lexus’s gas-powered front-wheel-drive UX and hybridized all-wheel-drive UX outsell all but the two most popular Lexus models in Canada. Yet it remains a relatively minor component in the brand’s utility vehicle lineup due to RX/NX dominance. Only 12 per cent of Lexus sales come from the UX, but it’s early days for the smallest vehicle in the lineup. The UX is something of an unknown entity, having only launched in Canada last year.

BMW X1: 911, down 61 percent

2018 BMW X1

In 2011, the BMW X1 arrived in Canada in a premium SUV sector that hadn’t yet explored the idea of maneuvering below the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes-Benz GLK. X1 volume didn’t peak until 2017, when 6,120 copies were sold. That was before the Volvo XC40, Mercedes-Benz GLB, the Jaguar E-Pace, or even BMW’s own X2. By 2019, X1 sales had fallen 28 per cent. The X1 is now BMW’s No. 4 seller, accounting for 8 per cent of the brand’s Canadian volume.

Volvo XC40: 836, down 14 percent

2019 Volvo XC40

On a purely volume-oriented basis, no vehicle in this segment is of such importance to its manufacturer. A whopping 27 per cent of Volvo’s sales in Canada come from the XC40, which was launched in 2018 with an emphasis on interior style. The XC40 is Volvo’s No. 2 seller, and it’s part of a three-vehicle XC utility vehicle line that produces 83 per cent of the brand’s sales.

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: 741, down 0.5 percent

Like its Jaguar E-Pace corporate cousin, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque’s smaller-than-average dimensions – it’s only 171.5 inches long, nearly 10 inches shorter than Land Rover’s Discovery Sport – are contrasted with its higher-than-average prices. The Evoque’s MSRP is $47,000.

Unlike the E-Pace, the Evoque sells in decent numbers, holding steady at 2019 levels despite the challenges of early 2020. Some 19 per cent of Land Rover’s Canadian sales are produced by the Evoque, the brand’s No. 2 seller.

Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class: 670

Six different Mercedes-Benz vehicles sell more often than the GLB, but Mercedes-Benz Canada is only in the earliest of stages with the company’s newest small SUV. The GLB is an unusual offering. It’s only 182 inches long, very nearly as long as the top-selling GLC. But the GLB’s MSRP is 10 per cent lower, and unlike the larger GLC and smaller GLA, the GLB squeezes in a third row.

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class: 405, down 75 percent

Mercedes-Benz’s first response to the BMW X1, a hatchback-ified version of the first-gen CLA, did not exactly offer the premium ambience to which Mercedes-Benz’s traditional clientele was accustomed. It didn’t matter. The GLA outsold the X1 in its first full year on the market and produced more than 16,000 sales between its late-2014 launch and 2018.

The GLA’s generational shift means this baby Benz utility now accounts for just 3 per cent of the brand’s Canadian volume, but don’t expect that number to stay so low.

BMW X2: 337, down 61 percent

BMW runs two SUV/crossover lineups on parallel tracks: odd numbers and even. The X1, X3, X5, and X7 are the primary players, producing 83 per cent of the brand’s utility vehicle volume. The X6 – which was followed up by the X4, which was then followed up by this X2 – compliment those relatively mainstream X SUVs with greater emphasis on the ‘S’ and less on the ‘U.’ The result is dramatically less sales volume. The X1, for example, outsells the X2 by nearly three-to-one.

Jaguar E-Pace: 165, down 34 percent

Priced to (not) sell, the $49,500 E-Pace is positioned awkwardly on a continent that still gravitates toward larger vehicles. The E-Pace is Jaguar’s second-most-popular model, but that’s hardly an achievement given the scarcity of most of the brand’s vehicles.

The F-Type, XE, XF, XJ, and I-Pace an average of only 46 sales during 2020’s first six months. The bulk of Jaguar sales in Canada, two-thirds, come from the E-Pace’s bigger F-Pace sibling. The E-Pace gets the subcompact size right — it’s only 174 inches long, 2.6 inches shorter than the segment-leading Audi Q3.


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Meta Growth Shareholders Overwhelmingly Approve Transformational Business Combination with High Tide to Create Canada’s Largest Cannabis Retailer

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TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2020 /CNW/ – Meta Growth Corp. (TSXV: META) (“META” or the “Company”) and High Tide Inc. (CSE: HITI) (OTCQB: HITIF) (Frankfurt: 2LY) (“High Tide”) are pleased to announce that, at the special meeting of shareholders of META held yesterday (the “Meeting”), the shareholders of META voted in favour of a special resolution to approve the previously announced proposed business combination pursuant to which High Tide will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of META (“META Shares”) by way of a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Alberta) (the “Arrangement”), as further described in the joint news release issued by META and High Tide on August 21, 2020. The Arrangement required approval by 66 ⅔% of the votes cast by META shareholders present in person or represented by proxy at the Meeting.

The Arrangement will create:

  • Canada’s Largest Cannabis Retailer with $1481 million in Annualized Revenue
  • Annual Cost and Operational Synergies of Approximately $8 million to $9 million
  • A strong Balance Sheet to Support Growth

A total of 102,113,758 META Shares, representing approximately 43.1% of the outstanding META Shares, were represented in person or by proxy at the Meeting. Of the votes cast with respect to the Arrangement, an aggregate of 102,063,111 META Shares were voted in favour of the Arrangement, representing approximately 99.95% of the votes cast on the resolution approving the Arrangement.

It is expected that META will apply for a final order from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in respect of the Arrangement on October 28, 2020. Completion of the Arrangement remains subject to receipt of required regulatory and court approvals and other customary closing conditions, which are set out in the arrangement agreement between META and High Tide dated August 20, 2020, a copy of which can be found on the SEDAR profiles of META and High Tide at www.sedar.com. Assuming that the conditions to closing of the Arrangement are satisfied or waived, it is anticipated that the Arrangement will be completed on or before the end of November. Further information about the Arrangement is set forth in the materials prepared by META in respect of the Meeting, which were mailed to META shareholders and filed under META’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

About META

META is a leader in secure, safe and responsible access to legal recreational cannabis in Canada. Through its Canada-wide network of Meta Cannabis Co.™, Meta Cannabis Supply Co™ and NewLeaf Cannabis™ recreational cannabis retail stores, META enables the public to gain knowledgeable access to Canada’s network of authorized Licensed Producers of cannabis. META is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSXV”) under the symbol (TSXV: META).

About High Tide

High Tide is a retail-focused cannabis company enhanced by the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis lifestyle accessories. Its premier Canadian retail brand Canna Cabana spans 34 locations in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, with additional locations under development across Canada. High Tide has been serving cannabis consumers for over a decade through its numerous lifestyle accessory enterprises including eCommerce platforms Grasscity.com and CBDcity.com, lifestyle and licensed entertainment brand manufacturer Famous Brandz, and its wholesale distribution divisions RGR Canada Inc. and Valiant Distribution.

High Tide’s strategy as a parent company is to extend and strengthen its integrated value chain, while providing a complete customer experience and maximizing shareholder value. Key industry investors in High Tide include Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA) (NYSE:APHA) and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB).

Forward Looking Statements

Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange (“CSE”) nor its Market Regulator (as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE), accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Neither the TSXV nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSXV) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Certain information in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. Any statements that are contained in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “potential”, “believe”, “intend” or the negative of these terms and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to anticipated revenue, operational and annual cost synergies of approximately $8 million to $9 million, receipt of regulatory and court approvals, the completion of any capital project or expansions, the anticipated timing for closing of the Arrangement and the satisfaction of closing conditions of the Arrangement, including, without limitation, obtaining applicable regulatory approvals and a final order from the Court of Queens Bench of Alberta. In particular, there can be no assurance that the Transaction will be completed. Forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions regarding High Tide and META, including expected growth, results of operations, performance, industry trends and growth opportunities. While High Tide and META consider these assumptions to be reasonable, based on information currently available, they may prove to be incorrect. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements also necessarily involve known and unknown risks, including, without limitation, risks associated with general economic conditions; adverse industry events; marketing costs; loss of markets; future legislative and regulatory developments involving the retail cannabis markets; inability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources, and/or inability to access sufficient capital on favourable terms; the retail cannabis industries generally; income tax and regulatory matters; the ability of High Tide and META to implement their business strategies; competition; crop failure/conditions; currency and interest rate fluctuations and other risks.

Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive. Readers are further cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as there can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon which they are placed will occur. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated.

Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement and reflect our expectations as of the date hereof, and thus are subject to change thereafter. High Tide and META disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

_________________________

1 Annualized based on META and HITI’s most recent publicly reported quarters

SOURCE Meta Growth Corp.

For further information: Meta Growth, Mark Goliger, Chief Executive Officer, Meta Growth, Tel: 647-689-6382, [email protected]; High Tide, Jess Moran, Tel: 519-494-5379, [email protected]

Related Links

https://metagrowth.com/

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Harley-Davidson is getting into the electric bicycle business – TechCrunch

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Harley-Davidson has spun out a new business dedicated to electric bicycles and plans to bring its first line of products to market in spring 2021.

The new business called Serial 1 Cycle Company started as a project within the motorcycle manufacturer’s product development center. The name comes from “Serial Number One,” the nickname for Harley-Davidson’s oldest known motorcycle.

The pedal assist electric bicycle company is being launched amid a booming ebike industry fueled by growing demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global eBicycle market was estimated to be over $15 billion in 2019 and projected to grow at an annual rate of more than 6% from 2020 to 2025, according to Harley-Davidson.

The new Harley-Davidson brand Serial 1 didn’t provide performance details or other specs of its new line of electric bike products. However, the company did release several photos of its first model.

Harley-Davidson-ebike

Image Credits: Harley-Davidson

The new business launch also comes at a critical time for the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer, which has seen its sales slow as its core customer base ages out of its motorcycles.

In July, Harley-Davidson cut 700 jobs from its global operations as part of an internally branded restructuring plan called “The Rewire.” The plan, which Harley-Davidson chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz first spoke about in the company’s first-quarter earnings call back in April, followed the launch of the company’s first production electric motorcycle the Livewire.

“The formation of Serial 1 allows Harley-Davidson to play a key role in this mobility revolution while allowing Serial 1 to focus exclusively on the eBicycle customer and deliver an unmatched riding experience rooted in freedom and adventure,” Aaron Frank, the new company’s brand director said in a statement.

Harley-Davidson said Jason Huntsman is president of Serial 1 Cycle. The rest of the executive team includes Ben Lund, who is vice president of product development and Hannah Altenburg as lead brand marketing specialist.

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Greater Vernon businesses honoured for excellence – Vernon Morning Star

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Businesses in the Vernon area received some well-earned accolades last week.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced its 2020 Business Excellence Award winners Friday night, with awards handed out in 12 categories during a virtual gala.

“It was an exciting evening as the winner in each category was announced, and this year was truly a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit, vision and thinking outside of the box as our businesses and non-profit agencies navigate the challenges created by the pandemic,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

The winners of the 2020 Business Excellence Awards are:

  • Business of the Year sponsored by Valley First: The Med

(Honourable mention: Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery)

  • People’s Choice Award sponsored by Total Restoration Services: Turning Points Collaborative Society

(Honourable mention: Sterling Centre Remedy’s RX Pharmacy, J.C. Tompson Construction, The Bridge Educational Society)

  • Small Business of the Year sponsored by Community Futures: Anna’s Vitamins Plus

(Honourable mention: Home for Dinner, Kalamalka General Store, Ritual Barbershop)

  • New Business of the Year sponsored by MNP LLP: Fill – Vernon’s Refill Store

(Honourable mention: Bottle None, Boarding House Cafe, Cheese on Wheels)

  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Nixon Wenger Lawyers: Alysia Lor-Knill, Teassential

(Honourable mention: Mitchel Derksen, Numu Consulting; Elmaz Wilder, Ritual Barbershop; Kayley Letendre, Sugarbees Ice Cream Company)

  • Businessperson of the Year sponsored by Kal Tire: Tony Dyck, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

(Honourable mention: Brad Pelletier, Predator Ridge Resort; Richard Finn, Wayside; Joe Pearson, Remax)

  • Employer of the Year sponsored by City of Vernon: Sproing Creative

(Honourable mention: Community Futures North Okanagan, Valley First, The Home Depot)

  • Customer Service Award sponsored by Okanagan Spring Brewery: Sterling Centre Remedy’s RX Pharmacy

(Honourable mention: Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Vernon Teach and Learn, Olive Us Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room, Okanagan Restoration)

  • Manufacturer of the Year sponsored by Tekmar Control Systems: UnderGround Kombucha

(Honourable mention: Kekuli Bay Cabinetry, Summit Tiny Homes, Planet Bee Honey Farm)

  • Non-Profit Excellence Award sponsored by Community Foundation North Okanagan: Social Planning Council North Okanagan

(Honourable mention: Venture Training, Greater Vernon Museum & Archives, North Okanagan Valley Gleaners)

  • Community Leader of the Year sponsored by De Vine Vintners: Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

(Honourable mention: The Fig Bistro, Lake City Casino, Vernon Teach and Learn)

  • Innovator of the Year sponsored by TD Bank: The Med

(Honourable mention: Caufields Engraving, Turning Points Collaborative Society, Martens Holdings)

The winners will be invited to a private event to receive their awards in person.

With the People’s Choice Award, partial proceeds from online voting will establish a scholarship for a local business student while other proceeds will fund Chamber initiatives to support local business.

The gala featured video messages from Ken Holland, general manager of the Edmonton Oilers; and Jillian Harris, founder and creative director of Jillian Harris Design, former Bachelorette and co-host of Love It Or List It Vancouver. There was also a live performance by Andrew Allen.


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

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