XPeng (XPEV) Q3 earnings: Revenue, profit miss expectations

XPeng has been dealing with rising material costs, which forced the company to hike the price of its cars earlier this year.

Chen Yihang | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Chinese electric carmaker XPeng posted a wider than expected loss and its revenue fell short of expectations — thanks to rising competition and a tougher macroeconomic environment.

XPeng shares were 10% higher in premarket trade in the United States.

Here’s how it did in the third quarter of 2022, compared with Refinitiv consensus estimates: 

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Goldman Sachs names the global automakers exposed to a China slowdown
  • Revenue: 6.82 billion Chinese yuan ($960.9 million) versus 7.26 billion yuan expected. That represents a 19.3% year-on-year rise.
  • Net loss: 2.38 billion Chinese yuan versus 2.09 billion yuan expected. That was wider than the 1.59 billion net loss posted in the same period last year, but narrower than the second quarter.

XPeng delivered 29,570 electric vehicles in the third quarter, 15% more than the same period last year. However, that was a 14% decrease from the second quarter of the year.

In October, XPeng delivered 5,101 vehicles, a sharp drop from the 8,468 cars delivered in September.

The Guangzhou-headquartered firm has faced several challenges in recent months, including widespread Covid lockdowns in China as the country battles outbreaks in various cities. Like other carmakers, XPeng has been dealing with rising material costs, which forced the company to hike the price of its cars earlier this year.

The company expects to deliver between 20,000 and 21,000 of its cars in the fourth quarter, representing a year-over-year decrease of approximately 49.7% to 52.1%.

XPeng shares have been hammered this year and are down 85% as investors turned away from Chinese growth stocks amid a slowdown in the economy and rising interest rates around the world.

A number of analysts have cut their target share price for the company. This week, Jefferies cut its target price on XPeng’s stock from $18.6 to $4.20.

Rails, unions draw lines in sand as Biden asks Congress to stop strike

The National Railway Labor Conference and The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED) are drawing their lines in the sand after President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would enforce the tentative rail labor agreement.

In a statement, the BMWED said pressuring Congress to pass legislation does not fix the problems or concerns of their workers.

“It both denies railroad workers their right to strike while also denying them of the benefit they would likely otherwise obtain if they were not denied their right to strike,” the statement says. “Additionally, passing legislation to adopt tentative agreements that exclude paid sick leave for railroad workers will not address rail service issues. Rather, it will worsen supply chain issues and further sicken, infuriate, and disenfranchise railroad workers as they continue shouldering the burdens of the railroads’ mismanagement.”

The BMWED says it is calling upon President Biden and any member of Congress “that truly supports the working class to act swiftly by passing any sort of reforms and regulations that will provide paid sick leave for all Railroad Workers.”

The posturing from the NRLC and the unions came after President Biden called on Congress to pass the tentative agreement on Monday night. “Congress, I think, has to act appropriately. It’s not an easy call, but I think we have to do it,” Biden said. “The economy is at risk.”

After Biden met with Congressional leaders on Tuesday, several leading figures on Capitol Hill including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed support for legislation passing quickly.

“Tomorrow morning we will have a bill on the floor,” Pelosi told reporters after the meeting.

In a press conference on rail preparations, Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and CEO Ian Jefferies told reporters that, “If the unions are interested in a holistic discussion for structural changes as it relates to their sick time, I think absolutely the railroad carriers would be up for a holistic discussion but [they] have not done it in the zero hour.”

According to the AAR, the Presidential Emergency Board reviewed the union’s request for additional paid sick days and instead offered additional salary. Each union has its own sick day policy, according to the National Railway Labor Conference. If an employee is sick, they need to be out of work between 4 to 7 days before they collect their version of sick pay. In the tentative deal, the PEB offered one additional personal day for their use. This would bring a total of three personal days for railroad workers. A worker must provide 48 hours notice to request a personal day.

Brendan Branon, National Railway Labor Conference chairman, told CNBC the future of collective bargaining is in the hands of Congress and urged that the legislation they pass follow the recommendations of the PEB, a board created by Biden in July to resolve the ongoing dispute between major freight rail carriers and their unions. The board crafts its recommendations under a principle known as pattern bargaining, which is a collective bargaining principle used to promote settlement of disputes. Now that 8 of the 12 unions have ratified the agreement, what is known as a “pattern” has been established – in this case railroads argue with the pattern of unions approving tentative agreements based upon the PEB set, that is the only acceptable path to resolve the round.

“Pattern bargaining promotes stability in collective bargaining, and it encourages settlement,” Branon said. “There’s any number of arbitrators and PEBs who have recognized that this is not only acceptable, this is the most appropriate form to settle complex negotiations, especially multi-employer, multi-craft agreements.” Branon said a number of industries including the railroads have developed a set of clear practices in bargaining and the additional negotiating by the unions after the tentative agreement departs from the framework recommended by the PEB.

“Departing from a pattern would establish a precedent that there’s still a better outcome achievable and I think it would pose significant stress and risk for collective bargaining in the future for the railroad industry,” Branon said. “I think it would also apply to the airline industry as well, where there are a number of significant outstanding negotiations, especially with the large pilot groups. Not to mention the ongoing Amtrak negotiations and all of those other industries under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).”

The railroad industry forecasts that a strike could inflict economic damage of $2 billion per day. Other industry groups have also warned of a direct hit to GDP as well as an increase in inflation. According to the AAR, 40% of cargo based by weight and long distance freight is moved by rail.

The alignment of the four unions that have voted not to ratify a labor deal has provided a clear timeline for strike prep plans among the freight railroads and with sensitive cargo including chemicals.

The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) announced last week it was extending its status quo period through December 8 to align with the BMWED (Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees), SMART-TD, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. If no agreement is reached by then and Congress does not intervene, a coordinated strike could start on December 9. Railroad unions that voted for ratification have said they will not cross the picket lines and will support their fellow union workers, posing the risk of a nationwide freight rail shutdown. Their deals are moving forward.

According to federal safety measures, railroad carriers begin prepping for a strike seven days before the strike date. The carriers start to prioritize the securing and movement of security-sensitive materials like chlorine for drinking water and hazardous materials in the rail winddown.

Ninety-six hours before a strike date, chemicals are no longer transported. According to the American Chemistry Council, railroad industry data shows a drop of 1,975 carloads of chemical shipments during the week of September 10 when the railroads stopped accepting shipments due to the previous threat.

Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute, told reporters that railroad carriers have told their members that ammonia shipments, a critical component for fertilizer companies, will not be allowed on the rail on December 4.

“It traditionally takes 5-7 days for the supply chain to catch up when you have a shutdown,” said Rosenbusch. “Fertilizer manufacturing would have to be curtailed.”

The four railroads typically move more than 80% of the agricultural freight traffic, according to the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). “We are looking for alternatives now to position our product,” said Mike Seyfert, president and CEO of NGFA. “We have zero elasticity right now. There are zero drivers, and the barge situation with the low water levels has only added to this challenge.”

AAR said that 467,000 trucks and trailers would be needed to move the amount of rail-bound freight per day in the event of a strike.

China Tesla rival Nio and Tencent partner to work on self-driving tech

Nio is trying to stand out from a wave of Chinese electric vehicle competitors through its technology. The company is hoping its partnership with Tencent can help it boost its tech prowess in areas from mapping to autonomous driving.

Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio and tech giant Tencent agreed to work together on areas including autonomous driving and high-definition mapping.

Tencent — a gaming, social media and cloud computing titan — has signed a cooperation agreement with Nio, one of Tesla’s rivals in China, as the firms look to cash in on Beijing’s focus on so-called new energy cars.

The partnership could allow Tencent to do this, while also giving Nio the technology backing of one of China’s biggest firms. Tencent is already a major investor in Nio, which is striving to differentiate itself from a sea of electric car start-ups.

It comes after e-commerce firm Alibaba and Nio rival Xpeng in August opened a computing center to train software for driverless cars.

Nio and Tencent said on Monday they will work together on high-precision mapping systems for drivers. Nio will also be using Tencent’s cloud computing infrastructure for data storage and training for autonomous driving. Driverless cars require huge amounts of real-time data to be processed in order to train algorithms.

Tencent’s partnership with Nio gives the company another opportunity to push into new business areas as its core video gaming business, which has been battered by strict domestic regulation, continues to face headwinds.

Nio meanwhile is facing its own challenges, including widening losses and pressure on margins from higher material costs and supply chain issues.

Still, the company delivered 31,607 vehicles in the third quarter, marking a quarterly delivery record for the start-up.

However, China’s once high-flying EV start-ups have seen their share prices hammered this year as investors turned away from growth stocks and China’s economy faced a slew of problems.

With rail strike looming, tech companies reroute chips to trucking

A container delivery truck heads for one of the terminals at the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Technology companies supplying critical semiconductor chips to the economy have started shifting cargo shipments from railroads to trucks with a national freight rail strike looming. The moves are being made, DHL Global Forwarding tells CNBC, in an effort to avoid any pre-strike rail preparations that would force freight rail companies to prioritize cargo.

The tech cargo being sent to trucks include semiconductor chips critical to the high-tech sector and auto industry.

“This is tech cargo originating out of California,” said Goetz Alebrand, head of ocean freight for the Americas at DHL Global Forwarding. Alebrand said there is now more truck capacity than there had been when a rail strike was first threatened in September as a result of fewer containers ships overall coming in to U.S. ports.

“There are more trucks and chassis, but that does not mean there are enough trucks to move all rail cargo onto trucks,” Alebrand said.

According to federal safety measures, railroad carriers begin prepping for a strike seven days before the strike date. The carriers start to prioritize the securing and movement of security-sensitive materials like chlorine for drinking water and hazardous materials in the rail winddown.

Ninety-six hours before a strike date, chemicals are no longer transported. According to the American Chemistry Council, railroad industry data shows a drop of 1,975 carloads of chemical shipments during the week of September 10 when the railroads stopped accepting shipments due to the previous threat of a strike.

The Association of American Railroads would be expected to release its planning steps, similar to what it announced in September.

Alebrand said is a client’s cargo is not characterized as perishable or hazardous, it waits to be moved. On average, it takes about two to three days to clear up one day of backup. The September pre-strike containers that were held up for approximately 48 hours took six days to clear.

Delays incurred by a rail strike would only add to the late charges shippers pay the railroads on late cargo.

“DHL Global Forwarding has advised customers of the serious impact that a rail strike could have on their operations, including delays and related detention and demurrage charges,” Alebrand said. “Our first priority has been to make them aware of this situation so that they can prepare for the risk of delays in receiving the merchandise,” he added.

A December rail strike could have significant impact on the economy

DHL Global Forwarding is also looking at container locations and, as a contingency, it is moving import boxes out of rail yards to the extent possible, and reviewing all import and export flows using rail to check whether trucking is an option in the event of a strike, Alebrand said.

Areas of concern for DHL include Dallas and Fort Worth, which receive cargo from the Port of Houston. The Port of Houston has processed historic volumes of cargo as trade moves away from the West Coast ports to the Gulf and East Coast ports out of fears of a strike among West Coast port workers. The other inland port where DHL sees congestion is El Paso, a big destination for cargo going in and out of Mexico.

“Congress is back in session next week,” Alebrand said. “We now wait to see what happens.”

A rail strike could begin on Dec. 9 if no agreement is reached between unions and rail companies. Congress can intervene using its power through the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to introduce legislation to stop a strike or a lockout, and to set terms of the agreements between the unions and the carriers.

We are taking every step to avoid a rail work stoppage, says Association of American Railroads CEO

Why your next Domino’s pizza delivery may arrive in a GM Chevy Bolt EV

Domino’s will roll out 800 custom-branded 2023 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles at locations across the U.S. in the coming months.

Domino’s

Domino’s Pizza will be rolling out a fleet of 2023 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles, 800 of the GM EVs in total across the U.S. in the coming months, as it looks to not only reduce its environmental impact but also attract new delivery drivers.

The pizza chain restaurant has previously set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and CEO Russell Weiner said optimizing how it delivers pizza is key.

“Domino’s was founded in 1960 as a delivery company, and we go to bed every night and wake up every morning saying ‘how can we get better?'” Weiner told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money” last week. “This is a way we can get better; better service for our customers and better for the environment.”

The Chevy Bolt EV will provide the company with zero tailpipe emissions and lower average maintenance costs than nonelectric vehicles, as well as a reduction in fueling costs, according to Domino’s. The new vehicles, which have a 259-mile range, will be custom-branded with Domino’s logos.

An initial 100 vehicles have been arriving at select franchise and corporate stores across the U.S. in November, with the additional 700 arriving over the coming months. Domino’s had 6,643 stores across the U.S. as of Sept. 11, with 402 of those being corporate locations.

The adoption of this fleet of EVs is not the first time Domino’s has looked to optimize how pizza is delivered.

In 2014, the company introduced the DXP delivery vehicle, a custom-build Chevrolet Spark that featured a built-in warming oven and special compartments to hold items like sodas.

Domino’s has also been piloting driverless delivery with robotics company Nuro, delivering pizzas with an autonomous on-road vehicle at the chain’s Woodland Heights location in Houston, Texas. Other start-ups, such as Refraction AI, have been testing autonomous vehicles suited for pizza delivery.

Domino’s has also looked to move beyond traditional car delivery, launching an e-bike delivery program in 2019 at stores in major metropolitan cities like Baltimore and Miami. It now delivers pizza by electric bike and scooter in 24 international markets.

EVs help finding new workers

Rolling out the new fleet of GM EVs also is expected to help the company with its driver recruitment efforts.

“It just allows us to tap into a different driver pool,” Weiner said. “If you think about today, what we do is hire folks with cars, but that’s getting really competitive with what’s going on.”

There are many people who work in Domino’s stores or potential workers who have driver’s licenses, and Weiner said, “all they need is a car… it’s a great way for us to bring in incremental labor at a time when that market is tight.”

While some of the company’s stores require delivery driver applicants to use their own vehicle, some do provide a car.

Weiner said that the company’s hiring metrics including applications and new hires per week are back to pre-Covid numbers, but he added, “there’s still gaps to fill, and that’s part of why we’re doing things like this to bring the inflow and give a few more options.”

On the company’s third quarter earnings call with analysts on Oct. 13, Weiner said staffing remains a constraint, “but my confidence in our ability to solve many of our delivery labor challenges ourselves has grown over the past few quarters.”

Domino's CEO on the company's purchase of over 800 Chevy Bolt EVs for pizza deliveries

Investing in Space: A launch guide

Ignition of the SLS rocket launching the Artemis I mission on Nov. 16, 2022.

Bill Ingalls / NASA

CNBC’s Investing in Space newsletter offers a view into the business of space exploration and privatization, delivered straight to your inbox. CNBC’s Michael Sheetz reports and curates the latest news, investor updates and exclusive interviews on the most important companies reaching new heights. Sign up to receive future editions.

Overview: A launch guide

Earlier this year, Astra set out to launch a mission with its now-discontinued Rocket 3.3 vehicle. With midday trading underway on stock exchanges, Astra’s stock plunged after the rocket triggered an abort shortly after igniting its engines. The launch was halted, and so was the stock.

While that rocket would launch three days later (and suffer a mid-flight failure for a separate reason), that February abort sent Astra’s stock down 13%. The trading activity, whether speculative, opportunistic or otherwise, demonstrates a key risk in attempting complex launches while public markets watch. 

 Space executives have often impressed upon me that investor education about their companies, and the industry as a whole, is crucial. And Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu previously told me that many investors “see this as still a very nascent industry,” with some stakeholders “not necessarily understanding some of the nuances.”

 With that in mind, here’s a brief, casual rundown of some key terms to know along the way:

  • Window: The times within which a launch needs to happen to reach its intended destination.
  • Stage: The sections of the rocket, typically identified as first or lower, second or upper, and so on.
  • Payload: The spacecraft or instrument being delivered to space.
  • Terminal count: When the rocket’s onboard computers take control of the countdown, typically in the last few minutes, to automatically make any hold or abort decisions.
  • Ignition: Lighting the engines.
  • Hold: A pause in the countdown.
  • Scrub: Postponing a countdown and no longer attempting to launch at the previously set time.
  • Abort: Ending a launch after ignition, whether still on the ground or in flight. (An abort is not a scrub, but can cause a scrub!)
  • Anomaly: A problem or unexpected situation, with either the hardware or software of the rocket.

If you want to dive in deeper on some of these terms, or have others you’d like to look up, astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell has a helpful glossary that you can CTRL+F search.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

What’s up

Industry maneuvers

On the horizon

  • Nov. 30 – Credit Suisse global industrials conference, with space companies attending, including BlackSky. 

Frontier Airlines gets rid of telephone customer service

Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 takes off from Los Angeles international Airport on August 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

AaronP | Bauer-Griffin | GC Images | Getty Images

Say goodbye to the airline call center −at least at Frontier Airlines.

The budget carrier last weekend completed its transition to online, mobile and text support, which enables it to ensure that customers get “the information they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible,” spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told CNBC in an e-mailed statement.

Passengers who call the customer service number Frontier lists on its website now get the message: “At Frontier, we offer the lowest fares in the industry by operating our airline as efficiently as possible. We want our customers to be able to operate efficiently as well, which is why we make it easy to find what you need at Flyfrontier.com or on our mobile app.”

Those who want to text with the carrier can get a link to do so sent to their phone.

Most major carriers still offer customer service lines. But Frontier, which charges fees for everything from advanced seat assignments to carry-on luggage and snacks, is often looking for ways to cut expenses. During its investor day earlier this month, Frontier hinted that it would stop offering customer service by phone, a change that travel site Travel Noire reported earlier this week.

An inside look at how the FAA and airlines deal with bad weather

Jack Filene, Frontier’s senior vice president of customers, said during the Nov. 15 investor presentation that the change would help lower labor costs and speed up transactions.

“We are supporting higher labor rates in the voice channel, and we’re limited to this one-to-one interaction,” Filene said. By contrast, he said a chat agent could handle three inquiries at once, and possibly more.

“Think about the most sort of obscure question a customer might ask that would take a call center agent many, many minutes to research and find an answer to. The chatbot can answer that very quickly,” he said.

Frontier had a $31 million profit on $906 million of operating revenue in the last quarter. It spent $182 million on labor costs, its second-biggest expense after jet fuel, up nearly 70% from the same period of 2019.

The change at Frontier comes as long hold times on customer service phone lines and other channels vexed travelers this year, many of whom also faced a surge in delays and cancellations over the summer that were worsened by labor shortages.

Airline executives have added back staff, while also rolling out more channels for customers to change flights themselves or to communicate over text.

Frontier isn’t alone in forgoing a call center. Breeze Airways, the new U.S. carrier launched by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, offers only text, email or Messenger options for customer service.

“With online options, our average Guest request is completed within 15-20 minutes,” Breeze spokesman Gareth Edmondson-Jones said.

NYC robotic parking systems cost luxury residents $300,000 per space

Look inside a hi-tech parking spot that costs $300,000

Hidden deep below some of New York City’s most luxurious apartment buildings is an exclusive world of futuristic parking spaces where high-end vehicles are parked and retrieved by robotic parking systems. 

The high-tech spots are a rare amenity in the Big Apple, and if you want your car to occupy one of these VIP spaces you’ve got to be ready to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The spots are only accessible to residents of buildings where the apartments will set you back several million, and if you want your car to live there too you’ll need between $300,000 to $595,000 more to score some precious space in the private garage.

CNBC found two buildings in Manhattan offering spots for sale inside a so-called robo-parking garage.

The first is located at 121 East 22nd Street near NYC’s Gramercy Park where a 140-unit condo building developed by Toll Brothers offers 24 automated parking spots.

High above the 22nd St condo’s underground garage is the wraparound terrace of a 5-bedroom duplex apartment that recently sold with a $300K parking spot for $9.45 million.

DroneHub Media

Earlier this month, Lori Alf, a full-time resident of Florida, picked up one of the rare parking spaces for $300,000 when she purchased the building’s priciest unit: a 5-bedroom duplex spanning almost 3,800 square feet.

She told CNBC the package deal, which totaled $9.45 million, was a gift to her children who are now spending more time in New York.

The sun-drenched living area inside Lori Alf’s penthouse unit at 121 E 22nd St.

Toll Brothers City Living

Now when Alf or her kids want to park the family’s Porsche Cayenne in the condo’s garage they pull up to a kiosk where the wave of a small radio frequency ID tag unlocks access to a subterranean car lair where no humans are allowed. 

Pressing a button on the kiosk sends a jolt of life into an empty metal pallet one level below. It slides across a track onto a powerful lift that sends the empty pallet up toward ground-level to meet the Alfs who can then carefully position their car on top of it.

As a vehicle enters the automated system a motion board delivers messages to the driver to assure the vehicle is positioned properly for the parking process to begin.

CNBC

Before their wheels are whisked away, a set of cameras scan the system’s entryway to confirm the car’s trunk and doors are all closed — and that there are no objects or humans left behind that might obstruct the automation. 

When the scanners deliver the “all clear,” the pallet, with car on top, disappears into the floor, pausing briefly as it descends into the basement to spin the vehicle 180 degrees before slotting it into one of the empty spaces.

The system can lift and shuffle two dozen cars across four rows and two levels. 

A car parked on the lower level of the automated parking garage at 121 E 22nd St where prices start at $300K per spot.

CNBC

Retrieving the car is a lot like making a selection from a giant vending machine. Residents swipe their RFID tags once again, and the system delivers their cars in about 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

One of the perks for Alf: She never has to put the car in reverse to exit the building.

“The car is turned for you by the robot,” she told CNBC. “Who doesn’t live for a robot that sets you in the right direction in NYC?”

Pedro Fernandez, a local sales representative for Klaus Parking, the company that sold the German-made parking system to the building’s developer, told CNBC it’s the most automated garage he’s ever installed in Manhattan. 

The company’s top-tier system typically costs between $50,000 and $70,000 per spot installed. Fernandez said developers invest over a million dollars in the intelligent parking infrastructure because it’s super efficient at arranging vehicles and maximizing space.

The view inside the robo-parking machine at 121 E 22nd St reveals a system of pallets and hydraulic lifts that maneuver cars around a two-tier subterranean parking structure.

CNBC

“There was no other way to park 24 cars,” Fernandez said of the garage space under 121 East 22nd Street.

The self-parking system can unlock more spaces per square foot because it doesn’t require the ramps and driving lanes you see in most conventional garages, he said.

​”As crazy as it may sound, $300,000 for a residential parking spot is considered a reasonable price in New York City,” said Senada Adzem, a Florida-based real estate broker at Douglas Elliman, whose team represented Alf in her recent purchase.

Adzem told CNBC spots in the system that include a charging plug for electric vehicles will run you $350,000. And whether it’s electrified or not, every parking spot carries a $150 per-month maintenance fee.

“The overall lack of parking in the city, an ongoing problem with no end in sight, will only escalate such pricing,” said Adzem. 

She believes short supply could turn the seemingly lavish expense into a money-maker for owners, who could eventually resell their spot at a profit.

A car inside the automated parking garage at 520 West 28th where spots start at $450K.

Martien Mulder & Related

Across town, parking spots are even pricier in a building that was once home to popstar Ariana Grande and currently houses rock musician Sting and his film producer wife Trudie Styler.

The price to park at 520 West 28th Street starts at $450,000. 

The $16.5M penthouse at 520 W 28th St unfolds over the 15th & 16th floors, featuring a 2,040 sq ft terrace that wraps around the building’s curvaceous glass facade.

Colin Miller / Related

The luxe residence, designed by famed architect Zaha Hadid and developed by The Related Companies, includes a 4,500-square-foot penthouse currently on the market for $16.5 million. And according to listing agent Julie Pham of Corcoran, a parking space in the building’s garage can cost upwards of $595,000 more per vehicle.

“I’d never seen anything like it before,” Pham said of the unique amenity.

Residents can use an app to communicate with the so-called “secured parking portal” and remotely start the automated retrieval process so the car is ready to go when they are.

The $16.5M penthouse listing includes ten rooms and almost 4,500 sq ft of indoor living space, the asking price does not include parking.

Colin Miller / Related

While Pham wouldn’t reveal the identities of any past or present clients, she did tell CNBC the automated parking was a major draw for one famous resident, who had a security team examine the parking area prior to moving in.

The unnamed celebrity’s representatives OK’d the deal in part because the star could enter and exit the garage in total privacy, Pham said.

 “They liked the idea that you didn’t have to engage with a valet or an attendant, or that anyone couldn’t come in right behind you,” she said.

And during the pandemic, the broker said, residents who wanted to minimize their exposure to Covid-19 loved that they could deposit and retrieve their vehicle without handing over their keys to a valet.

While the automated spots are pricey, they’re not even close to NYC’s most expensive.

In recent years, some condo developers have pushed their asking prices for a basic concrete-and-yellow-stripe parking spot to the $1-million mark, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a firm specializing in real estate appraisals and consulting. Still, he said, it’s unlikely a spot with a 9-figure asking price has ever lured in an actual buyer.

“I never found evidence of their actual closings,” he told CNBC.

Miller, who analyzed public records at CNBC’s request, said one of the most expensive parking spots sold in town last year was located at 220 Central Park South, where a parking space went for an impressive $750,000. Miller said, based on public records, it appears connected to an apartment in the building that traded for $16 million.

“It’s really tough to track since most sales are embedded in the sale of a unit,” Miller told CNBC.

And it’s even tougher to track sales of spots in the newer automated systems, because, in many cases the spots are actually licensed to buyers, not deeded and sold like most real estate, according to brokers.

Miller said his best estimate for the going rate of a single NYC parking spot: “I think $300,000 to $400,000 is the sweet spot for new development.”

With unions aligned, rail strike, emergency planning timeline is clear

A December rail strike could have significant impact on the economy

The alignment of the four unions that have voted not to ratify a labor deal has provided a clear timeline for strike prep plans among the freight railroads and with sensitive cargo including chemicals.

The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) announced Tuesday it is extending its status quo period through December 8 to align with the BMWED (Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees), SMART-TD, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. If no agreement is reached by then, a coordinated strike could start on December 9. Railroad unions that voted for ratification have said they will not cross the picket lines and will support their fellow union workers, posing the risk of a nationwide freight rail shutdown.

According to federal safety measures, railroad carriers begin prepping for a strike seven days before the strike date. The carriers start to prioritize the securing and movement of security-sensitive materials like chlorine for drinking water and hazardous materials in the rail winddown.

Ninety-six hours before a strike date, chemicals are no longer transported. According to the American Chemistry Council, railroad industry data shows a drop of 1,975 carloads of chemical shipments during the week of September 10 when the railroads stopped accepting shipments due to the previous threat of a strike.

The Association of American Railroads would be expected to release its planning steps, similar to what it announced in September.

A new economic analysis released by the American Chemistry Council estimates that a rail strike would impact approximately $2.8 billion in chemical cargo that is moved weekly, with a month-long strike resulting in an overall hit to the economy of $160 billion, or one percentage point of GDP.

The ACC represents companies across industrial, energy and pharmaceutical sectors, among other manufacturing niches, including 3M, Dow, Dupont, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Eli Lilly.

If no agreement is reached between the four unions and rail carriers during cooling-off periods, there could be a strike or a lockout unless Congress intervenes using its power through the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Under this clause, Congress would be able to introduce legislation to stop a strike or a lockout and to set terms of the agreements between the unions and the carriers.

One of the key points of negotiation for labor during this status quo period is asking for 56 hours of sick time based on an executive order for federal contractor benefits.

The Association of American Railroads provided CNBC with its leave policy explainer which was updated in mid-October. In a September report, the AAR quantified the impact of a strike on the supply chain and the U.S. economy at up to $2 billion a day.

It's important our employees to get the compensation they deserve, says Assoc. of American Railroads CEO

Hyundai’s best years in the U.S. face test from Biden Inflation Reduction Act

Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Hyundai Motor Group is having its best years ever in the U.S.

The South Korean automaker has successfully moved from bargain economy vehicles and dancing hamsters to competing against formidable automakers in the highly profitable American market.

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The company’s Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands are expected to capture nearly 11% of the U.S. new vehicle market this year — marking its highest level since the automaker entered the country in 1986. It’s also set to be among the top sellers of electric vehicles this year, trailing only Tesla through the third quarter.

But whether the world’s fourth-largest automaker by sales last year can continue that winning streak, especially in EVs, is in question. In August, Hyundai buyers lost federal tax credits associated with purchasing an electric vehicle due to changes in the program under the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Domestic automakers, including Hyundai’s closest competitors in EVs — Tesla, Ford Motor and General Motors — still qualify for the credit. All of Hyundai’s electric vehicles are currently imported to the U.S., though it produces several gas-powered models at plants in Alabama and Georgia.

Hyundai Motor Co. CEO Jaehoon “Jay” Chang, in an exclusive interview with CNBC, described the loss of incentives as concerning and a “very challenging issue.” But he said he believes the automaker can continue its long-term growth in the U.S., despite the near-term hiccup.

“IRA, short term, it gives us some limitation on the customers’ choice,” Chang told CNBC last month as the company celebrated the groundbreaking of a new $5.5 billion electric vehicle and battery plant in Georgia. “For the long term … we have a very solid plan. … I think we can be competitive.”

Hyundai, including Genesis, and Kia are owned by the same Seoul, South Korea-based parent company but largely operate separately in the U.S.

Navigating IRA

Hyundai executives and government officials break ground on the automaker’s new “Metaplant America” in Bryan County, Georgia, on Tues., Oct. 25, 2022.

CNBC | Michael Wayland

Executives also note the U.S. and South Korea have a tariff-free deal in place for vehicles. (Vehicles built in Mexico and Canada still qualify for the credits.)

Jose Munoz, Hyundai Motor global president and chief operating officer, has declined to disclose a specific financial impact associated with losing the credits, but described it as a huge blow to the automaker’s bottom line.

Steven Center, Kia America’s chief operating officer, said the intentions of the IRA are good for America, but they “pulled the rug out from everybody.”

EV credits or not, executives said the new Georgia plant, which was announced months before the IRA passed, is the culmination of growth for Hyundai in the U.S. They credited the progress to a systematic approach of improvement over decades and a decisive strategy to go all-in on its new products in recent years.

“We’re trying to do everything we can do, but honestly it’s always challenging, being the innovative disruptor kind of stuff. But I think so far, hopefully we’re on the right track to be responsive to the customers’ needs,” Chang said. “We like to be different.”

‘Different’ products

Look no further than Hyundai’s new vehicles for the company to prove it’s “different.” The automaker’s futuristic-looking Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 appear ready to take off into space.

Meanwhile the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride SUVs have been among the most in-demand vehicles in the country since they launched in 2019.

The Kia EV6 on display at the New York Auto Show, April 13, 2022.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Executives noted the introduction of both the Telluride and Palisade, followed by the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, were major turning points in the company’s product plans.

“The Telluride is attracting wealthier, younger, better-educated customers, and they’re all conquests. That’s a real game-changer,” Center said, referring to the SUVs and EVs as “golden cycles” for Kia. “We’re looking at more, and we’re going to grow as fast as we can.”

The SUVs and EVs followed the automaker’s surprising and well-received entrance into the luxury market with the Genesis brand in 2015.

Genesis has performed well in influential rankings by Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and others. At the Los Angeles Auto Show last week, Genesis won kudos with a new convertible concept vehicle, and its G90 sedan was named 2023 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

Genesis X Convertible concept EV

Genesis

“The design language has been the big differentiator for us,” Chang said. “We’re going to let the designer have the freedom.”

Even the company’s Kia Carnival minivan — a segment many have given up on — has earned accolades for its SUV-like design and functionality.

Hyundai’s rise

The rise of Hyundai and Kia is impressive when compared to other non-domestic automakers.

“When they came, they had a reputation of just being cheap,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “Over the years, it’s gone from cheap to value to really just very competitive.”

Japan-based Toyota spent decades building sales in the U.S. It entered the U.S. automotive industry with small cars in 1957 and achieved 10.4% of market share in the U.S. in 2002, according to public filings. It’s now the world’s largest automaker by sales as of recent years.

Hyundai hit the 10% U.S. market share threshold last year, according to LMC Automotive, roughly 10 years faster than Toyota. The research and forecasting firm expects Hyundai’s U.S. market share to peak at 10.7% before dropping to 9.7% in 2025, as EV production at the new plant in Georgia is expected to begin.

“I think what Hyundai, Kia and Genesis have done is they’ve really compressed that time frame. They went from just bargain-basement vehicles to competitive vehicles to competitive luxury in really a very relatively fast time frame,” Fisher said.

Sales of Hyundai and Kia vehicles have risen roughly 61% since 2010 to more than 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. last year. Despite an expected decline in sales this year due to supply chain issues, the company is still expected to gain market share.

It’s a similar story for electric vehicle sales. LMC forecasts Hyundai’s sales of all-electric vehicles are expected to represent 9.2% of the U.S. EV market this year. While sales are expected to grow that percentage is seen as the company’s peak until at least 2024 or 2025, when the new Georgia plant is set to come online.

Hyundai’s production, which puts it among the top five in the world, remains lower than Toyota and Volkswagen. Munoz said the new Georgia plant is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles annually, with the potential to reach 500,000 in the future. The company’s two current U.S. plants can produce up to 730,000 vehicles annually.

“In the U.S., our plan is to grow,” Randy Parker, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, told CNBC earlier this month. “It all comes down to capacity that will dictate how much we can grow.”

Hyundai invests $5.5 billion in new Georgia electric vehicle plant