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Cloyes: Automotive Timing Drive Systems


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    • By Counterman
      Most active suspension systems come in many styles with fancy names like airmatic, dynamic or advanced. And, it doesn’t matter if it is a BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar, an active suspension must be able to react to three critical pieces of information.
      First, it must act on information from the ABS and stability control system. Second, it must measure body movement. Third, it must detect the extent and rate of suspension movement. With these three pieces of information, the suspension can actively adjust the compression and rebound of the shock or strut.
      Why would an engineer or automaker include this feature on a vehicle? An active dampener allows for a ride without compromise. The three inputs can be used to detect a rough road or an emergency situation where body roll could change the stability of the vehicle.
      Electronic Shocks/Struts
      Electronically adjustable shocks and struts use conventional mono-tube and twin-tube oil-filled dampeners. The rods, gas chambers and piston have the construction of passive units. Like a passive unit, they can fail if they leak, the gas escapes or the rods are bent. They can also wear out like a conventional unit as the oil inside breaks down and surfaces in the bore wear.
      link hidden, please login to view
      What makes these units unique are the valves with their variable orifices. These valves regulate the flow between the chambers on either side of the piston. The piston in some units, however, does not have any valving.
      The size of the orifices controlled by electromagnetic solenoids can control the valves very quickly. The electrical connections and solenoids are typically found outside the body and act on the valves inside the unit using magnetism. The signal to the solenoid is pulse-width modulated and varies the voltage to change the size of the orifice.
      The valves and solenoids can’t be serviced or separated from the shock or strut. If a problem is detected with the system, the valves go into a fail-safe position that is fixed, and the system becomes passive. The driver is then alerted with a message or light on the instrument cluster or message center.
      Most systems will perform a circuit check when the system wakes up. This typically involves sending a signal to fully open and close the valve. If the system detects an open, short or a voltage outside of the specifications, it will set a code. 
      Measuring Wheel Movement
      Ride-height sensors not only measure the position of the suspension, but also the rate of movement. They are supplied with a voltage of around 5 volts. The signal voltage is changed as a magnet moves past a coil. Most sensors have three wires – ground, power and signal.
      Internally, it is difficult to damage one of these sensors. Externally, however, the linkage that connects the sensor to the suspension arm can be damaged. Additionally, the connector can be damaged and cause a short or open that sets a code. If one of these sensors is replaced, it must be calibrated after it is installed.
      Ride-height sensors are sometimes called suspension-position or wheel-displacement sensors. The data from the sensor is used to measure the movement of the suspension. By knowing how far and fast the suspension is moving, the module can use the information to determine the size of the orifice in the dampener to control compression and rebound. These sensors should be calibrated if a sensor is replaced, a module is reprogrammed or if the battery dies.
      Measuring Body Movement
      Accelerometers mounted to the body measure changes in the ride. These accelerometers are typically mounted to the strut towers. These sensors output information as gravitational forces, or “G-force,” to a module. Changes in body roll due to cornering will produce lower G-force than a pothole would.
      Information from the accelerometers is coupled with data from the ride-height sensor, steering sensor and other inputs by a computer processor in a module. The module can determine if the vehicle is going around a corner or traveling down a bumpy road. With this datastream, the valving inside the dampener can be adjusted in milliseconds for the best control and ride quality.
      The accelerometers on the body differ from vehicle to vehicle. Some manufacturers mount the sensors under the headlights, on strut towers and near the taillights. More sophisticated systems use more than two accelerometers mounted in various locations.
      link hidden, please login to view Control Module
      The control module for the electronic dampeners needs more than the movement of the wheels and body to determine the correct settings for the dampeners. The module uses and shares information with the anti-lock braking system, engine control module and instrument cluster. This information is typically shared on the high-speed CAN serial data bus. On some BMW 7 Series models, the information is shared on the fiber-optic Flex Ray bus.
      With all this information, the module can do some amazing things with the adjustable dampeners. Problems like nosedive under braking, torque steer and understeer on FWD vehicles can be minimized. If the vehicle has air ride, the volume and pressure inside the air springs can also be tuned along with the valving in the dampeners to optimize ride quality and control.
      Most active suspension systems will perform a circuit check when the system wakes up. The system will send 5 to 12 volts to the actuators and ride height sensors. The system is also looking at the resistance in the circuit, and the amount of voltage dropped. If the system detects an open, short or voltage outside of the specifications, it will set a code. Next, the control module will fully open and close the valves in the struts. If the system does not detect any irregularities, the system will go into an active mode. 
      Looking for these self-diagnostic signals can be performed using a meter. You may have to use a bypass harness or back probe the connector. If the system detects any problems, the system will go into a passive mode.
      Sometimes servicing an active suspension is like rebuilding an engine with a new crankshaft and reusing the old bearings and valve springs. When a new active strut is reassembled with the old and tired spring and strut plate, the results can be less than desirable.
      Upper strut mounts and bearings can be hammered to death. The upper strut mount essentially supports the vehicle weight and counters both braking and acceleration torque. Most mounts are sandwiches of rubber, metal and bearings. Over time, the rubber can lose its ability to isolate the suspension from the body. Bearings can also seize and bind, causing the vehicle to have steering problems.
      Look up the ride height specifications and measure ride height front and rear, and on both sides of the vehicle. If ride height is less than specifications, the problem is most likely one or more weak springs that should be replaced. Springs should typically be replaced in pairs to maintain the same ride height side-to-side.
      Weak springs also are more likely to fail. The springs on many late-model vehicles are thinner to reduce weight and have an outer plastic coating to protect the metal from corrosion. If this outer coating is cracked or damaged, corrosion can form a hot spot that eats into the spring, weakens it and eventually causes the spring to break.
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    • By OReilly Auto Parts
      First quarter comparable store sales growth of 3.4% 11% increase in first quarter diluted earnings per share to $9.20 Completed the acquisition of Groupe Del Vasto in January SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. (the “Company” or “O’Reilly”) (Nasdaq: ORLY), a leading retailer in the automotive aftermarket industry, today announced record revenue and earnings for its first quarter ended March 31, 2024.
      1st Quarter Financial Results
      Brad Beckham, O’Reilly’s CEO, commented, “We are pleased to report a solid start to 2024, highlighted by a 3.4% comparable store sales increase, which was on top of the very strong 10.8% comparable store sales increase from the first quarter last year. Our comparable store sales increase was comprised of solid growth in both professional and DIY, which grew mid-single digit and low-single digit, respectively, in the quarter. Our team’s continued strong execution drove an 11% increase in diluted earnings per share, and is a clear demonstration of Team O’Reilly’s commitment to our culture values of hard work and excellent customer service. I would like to thank each of our over 90,000 Team Members for their ongoing dedication to O’Reilly’s success.”
      Sales for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, increased $268 million, or 7%, to $3.98 billion from $3.71 billion for the same period one year ago. Gross profit for the first quarter increased 8% to $2.03 billion (or 51.2% of sales) from $1.89 billion (or 51.0% of sales) for the same period one year ago. Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first quarter increased 9% to $1.28 billion (or 32.2% of sales) from $1.17 billion (or 31.7% of sales) for the same period one year ago. Operating income for the first quarter increased 5% to $752 million (or 18.9% of sales) from $717 million (or 19.3% of sales) for the same period one year ago.
      Net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, increased $30 million, or 6%, to $547 million (or 13.8% of sales) from $517 million (or 13.9% of sales) for the same period one year ago. Diluted earnings per common share for the first quarter increased 11% to $9.20 on 59 million shares versus $8.28 on 62 million shares for the same period one year ago.
      Mr. Beckham concluded, “During the first quarter, we opened 37 stores across 20 U.S. states and Mexico and continue to be extremely pleased with the performance of our new stores. Additionally, we began operating 23 stores in Canada after closing on the acquisition of Vast Auto in January. With the talented and experienced Vast Auto team now officially a part of Team O’Reilly, we are very pleased with the early momentum we have generated in Canada. We remain excited about the future opportunities we have before us in the Canadian market and throughout North America and look forward to growing our market share in new and existing markets as the industry leader in excellent customer service.”
      1st Quarter Comparable Store Sales Results
      Comparable store sales are calculated based on the change in sales for U.S. stores open at least one year and exclude sales of specialty machinery, sales to independent parts stores, and sales to Team Members, as well as sales from Leap Day in the three months ended March 31, 2024. Online sales for ship-to-home orders and pick-up-in-store orders for U.S. stores open at least one year are included in the comparable store sales calculation. Comparable store sales increased 3.4% for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, on top of 10.8% for the same period one year ago.  
      Share Repurchase Program
      During the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, the Company repurchased 0.3 million shares of its common stock, at an average price per share of $1,029.24, for a total investment of $270 million.   Excise tax on shares repurchased, assessed at one percent of the fair market value of shares repurchased, was $2.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2024. Subsequent to the end of the first quarter and through the date of this release, the Company repurchased an additional 0.1 million shares of its common stock, at an average price per share of $1,102.00, for a total investment of $79 million. The Company has repurchased a total of 94.4 million shares of its common stock under its share repurchase program since the inception of the program in January of 2011 and through the date of this release, at an average price of $249.17, for a total aggregate investment of $23.53 billion.   As of the date of this release, the Company had approximately $2.22 billion remaining under its current share repurchase authorizations.
      Updated Full-Year 2024 Guidance
      The table below outlines the Company’s updated guidance for selected full-year 2024 financial data:
                   For the Year Ending     December 31, 2024 Net, new store openings   190 to 200 Comparable store sales   3.0% to 5.0% Total revenue   $16.8 billion to $17.1 billion Gross profit as a percentage of sales   51.0% to 51.5% Operating income as a percentage of sales   19.7% to 20.2% Effective income tax rate   22.4% Diluted earnings per share (1)   $41.35 to $41.85 Net cash provided by operating activities   $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion Capital expenditures   $900 million to $1.0 billion Free cash flow (2)   $1.8 billion to $2.1 billion        
      (1) Weighted-average shares outstanding, assuming dilution, used in the denominator of this calculation, includes share repurchases made by the Company through the date of this release. (2) Free cash flow is a non-GAAP financial measure. The table below reconciles Free cash flow guidance to Net cash provided by operating activities guidance, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure:      
                              For the Year Ending (in millions)   December 31, 2024 Net cash provided by operating activities   $ 2,715   to   $ 3,125 Less: Capital expenditures     900   to     1,000   Excess tax benefit from share-based compensation payments     15   to     25 Free cash flow   $ 1,800   to   $ 2,100   Non-GAAP Information
      This release contains certain financial information not derived in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). These items include adjusted debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, share-based compensation, and rent (“EBITDAR”) and free cash flow. The Company does not, nor does it suggest investors should, consider such non-GAAP financial measures in isolation from, or as a substitute for, GAAP financial information. The Company believes that the presentation of adjusted debt to EBITDAR and free cash flow provide meaningful supplemental information to both management and investors that is indicative of the Company’s core operations. The Company has included a reconciliation of this additional information to the most comparable GAAP measure in the table above and the selected financial information below.
      Earnings Conference Call Information
      The Company will host a conference call on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time to discuss its results as well as future expectations. Investors may listen to the conference call live on the Company’s website at  link hidden, please login to view by clicking on “Investor Relations” and then “News Room.” Interested analysts are invited to join the call. The dial-in number for the call is (888) 506-0062 and the conference call identification number is 193896. A replay of the conference call will be available on the Company’s website through Thursday, April 24, 2025.
      About O’Reilly Automotive, Inc.
      O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. was founded in 1957 by the O’Reilly family and is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment, and accessories in the United States, serving both the do-it-yourself and professional service provider markets. Visit the Company’s website at  link hidden, please login to view for additional information about O’Reilly, including access to online shopping and current promotions, store locations, hours and services, employment opportunities, and other programs. As of March 31, 2024, the Company operated 6,217 stores across 48 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada.
      Forward-Looking Statements
      The Company claims the protection of the safe-harbor for forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “estimate,” “may,” “could,” “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “would,” “consider,” “should,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” or similar words. In addition, statements contained within this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements, such as statements discussing, among other things, expected growth, store development, integration and expansion strategy, business strategies, future revenues, and future performance. These forward-looking statements are based on estimates, projections, beliefs, and assumptions and are not guarantees of future events and results. Such statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, including, but not limited to, the economy in general; inflation; consumer debt levels; product demand; a public health crisis; the market for auto parts; competition; weather; tariffs; availability of key products and supply chain disruptions; business interruptions, including terrorist activities, war and the threat of war; failure to protect our brand and reputation; challenges in international markets; volatility of the market price of our common stock; our increased debt levels; credit ratings on public debt; damage, failure, or interruption of information technology systems, including information security and cyber-attacks; historical growth rate sustainability; our ability to hire and retain qualified employees; risks associated with the performance of acquired businesses; and governmental regulations. Actual results may materially differ from anticipated results described or implied in these forward-looking statements. Please refer to the “Risk Factors” section of the annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023, and subsequent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, for additional factors that could materially affect the Company’s financial performance. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.
          For further information contact: Investor Relations Contacts   Mark Merz (417) 829-5878   Eric Bird (417) 868-4259       Media Contact   Sonya Cox (417) 829-5709      
      O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
      (In thousands, except share data)                         March 31, 2024   March 31, 2023   December 31, 2023        (Unaudited)      (Unaudited)      (Note) Assets                   Current assets:                   Cash and cash equivalents   $ 89,264     $ 59,872     $ 279,132   Accounts receivable, net     437,821       346,037       375,049   Amounts receivable from suppliers     139,267       128,758       140,443   Inventory     4,805,164       4,543,980       4,658,367   Other current assets     128,181       109,347       105,311   Total current assets     5,599,697       5,187,994       5,558,302                       Property and equipment, at cost     8,555,556       7,649,066       8,312,367   Less: accumulated depreciation and amortization     3,360,351       3,090,010       3,275,387   Net property and equipment     5,195,205       4,559,056       5,036,980                       Operating lease, right-of-use assets     2,227,783       2,166,646       2,200,554   Goodwill     1,009,857       892,094       897,696   Other assets, net     180,512       167,026       179,463   Total assets   $ 14,213,054     $ 12,972,816     $ 13,872,995                       Liabilities and shareholders’ deficit                   Current liabilities:                   Accounts payable   $ 6,117,068     $ 6,055,992     $ 6,091,700   Self-insurance reserves     130,974       136,723       128,548   Accrued payroll     127,704       111,324       138,122   Accrued benefits and withholdings     174,125       132,022       174,650   Income taxes payable     147,645       117,790       7,860   Current portion of operating lease liabilities     399,245       375,451       389,536   Other current liabilities     791,633       427,006       730,937   Total current liabilities     7,888,394       7,356,308       7,661,353                       Long-term debt     5,288,632       4,927,678       5,570,125   Operating lease liabilities, less current portion     1,900,200       1,854,533       1,881,344   Deferred income taxes     321,323       249,903       295,471   Other liabilities     205,703       209,411       203,980                       Shareholders’ equity (deficit):                   Common stock, $0.01 par value:                   Authorized shares – 245,000,000                   Issued and outstanding shares –                   58,982,123 as of March 31, 2024, and                   61,038,936 as of March 31, 2023, and                   59,072,792 as of December 31, 2023     590       610       591   Additional paid-in capital     1,410,756       1,305,276       1,352,275   Retained deficit     (2,849,108 )     (2,952,797 )     (3,131,532 ) Accumulated other comprehensive income     46,564       21,894       39,388   Total shareholders’ deficit     (1,391,198 )     (1,625,017 )     (1,739,278 )                     Total liabilities and shareholders’ deficit   $ 14,213,054     $ 12,972,816     $ 13,872,995     Note: The balance sheet at December 31, 2023, has been derived from the audited consolidated financial statements at that date but does not include all of the information and footnotes required by United States generally accepted accounting principles for complete financial statements.
       
      O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
      (In thousands, except per share data)                   For the Three Months Ended     March 31,         2024      2023 Sales   $ 3,976,240     $ 3,707,864   Cost of goods sold, including warehouse and distribution expenses     1,942,068       1,817,535   Gross profit     2,034,172       1,890,329                 Selling, general and administrative expenses     1,281,691       1,173,684   Operating income     752,481       716,645                 Other income (expense):             Interest expense     (57,148 )     (44,572 ) Interest income     1,656       868   Other, net     3,401       4,479   Total other expense     (52,091 )     (39,225 )               Income before income taxes     700,390       677,420   Provision for income taxes     153,152       160,535   Net income   $ 547,238     $ 516,885                 Earnings per share-basic:             Earnings per share   $ 9.27     $ 8.36   Weighted-average common shares outstanding – basic     59,017       61,840                 Earnings per share-assuming dilution:             Earnings per share   $ 9.20     $ 8.28   Weighted-average common shares outstanding – assuming dilution     59,454       62,398                      
      O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
      CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
      (In thousands)                   For the Three Months Ended     March 31,      2024   2023 Operating activities:             Net income   $ 547,238     $ 516,885   Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:             Depreciation and amortization of property, equipment and intangibles     109,648       93,747   Amortization of debt discount and issuance costs     1,593       1,215   Deferred income taxes     2,374       3,393   Share-based compensation programs     7,022       7,435   Other     2,997       29   Changes in operating assets and liabilities:             Accounts receivable     (36,954 )     (2,610 ) Inventory     (92,042 )     (179,481 ) Accounts payable     6,107       172,701   Income taxes payable     140,025       145,441   Other     16,207       (44,991 ) Net cash provided by operating activities     704,215       713,764                 Investing activities:             Purchases of property and equipment     (249,240 )     (223,268 ) Proceeds from sale of property and equipment     3,853       2,704   Other, including acquisitions, net of cash acquired     (155,366 )     (956 ) Net cash used in investing activities     (400,753 )     (221,520 )               Financing activities:             Proceeds from borrowings on revolving credit facility     30,000       1,216,000   Payments on revolving credit facility     —       (661,000 ) Net payments of commercial paper     (310,805 )     —   Repurchases of common stock     (270,019 )     (1,111,461 ) Net proceeds from issuance of common stock     57,815       15,146   Other     (569 )     (354 ) Net cash used in financing activities     (493,578 )     (541,669 )               Effect of exchange rate changes on cash     248       714   Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents     (189,868 )     (48,711 ) Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of the period     279,132       108,583   Cash and cash equivalents at end of the period   $ 89,264     $ 59,872                 Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:             Income taxes paid   $ 9,798     $ 9,696   Interest paid, net of capitalized interest     34,671       26,531                      
      O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
      SELECTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
      (Unaudited)                     For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,  Adjusted Debt to EBITDAR:   2024   2023 (In thousands, except adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio)             GAAP debt   $ 5,288,632   $ 4,927,678 Add: Letters of credit     137,848     116,688   Unamortized discount and debt issuance costs     28,368     27,322   Six-times rent expense     2,587,056     2,404,986 Adjusted debt   $ 8,041,904   $ 7,476,674               GAAP net income   $ 2,376,934   $ 2,207,655 Add: Interest expense     214,244     167,451   Provision for income taxes     650,786     635,159   Depreciation and amortization     424,962     368,757   Share-based compensation expense     27,098     27,360   Rent expense (i)     431,176     400,831 EBITDAR   $ 4,125,200   $ 3,807,213               Adjusted debt to EBITDAR     1.95     1.96    
      (i) The table below outlines the calculation of Rent expense and reconciles Rent expense to Total lease cost, per ASC 842, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, for the twelve months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 (in thousands):   
                          For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,     2024   2023 Total lease cost, per ASC 842   $ 510,208   $ 476,439 Less: Variable non-contract operating lease components, related to property taxes and insurance     79,032     75,608 Rent expense   $ 431,176   $ 400,831  
                            March 31,      2024   2023 Selected Balance Sheet Ratios:                 Inventory turnover (1)     1.7       1.7   Average inventory per store (in thousands) (2)   $ 773     $ 754   Accounts payable to inventory (3)     127.3 %     133.3 %  
                            For the Three Months Ended       March 31,        2024   2023 Reconciliation of Free Cash Flow (in thousands):             Net cash provided by operating activities   $ 704,215   $ 713,764 Less: Capital expenditures     249,240     223,268   Excess tax benefit from share-based compensation payments     16,120     4,378 Free cash flow   $ 438,855   $ 486,118  
                        For the Three Months Ended     March 31,         2024   2023 Revenue Disaggregation (in thousands):           Sales to do-it-yourself customers $ 2,001,986   $ 1,918,467 Sales to professional service provider customers     1,869,740     1,711,964 Other sales, sales adjustments, and sales from the acquired Vast Auto stores     104,514     77,433 Total sales   $ 3,976,240   $ 3,707,864  
                            For the Three Months Ended   For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,    March 31,         2024   2023      2024   2023 Store Count:                 Beginning domestic store count   6,095   5,929     5,986     5,811   New stores opened   36   59     146     179   Stores closed   —   (2 )   (1 )   (4 ) Ending domestic store count   6,131   5,986     6,131     5,986                     Beginning Mexico store count   62   42     43     27   New stores opened   1   1     20     16   Ending Mexico store count   63   43     63     43                     Beginning Canada store count   —   —     —     —   Stores acquired   23   —     23     —   Ending Canada store count   23   —     23     —                     Total ending store count   6,217   6,029     6,217     6,029    
                                    For the Three Months Ended   For the Twelve Months Ended     March 31,    March 31,         2024   2023   2024   2023 Store and Team Member Information:                         Total employment     90,601     89,125             Square footage (in thousands) (4)     47,143     45,117             Sales per weighted-average square foot (4)(5)   $ 82.59   $ 81.09   $ 341.62   $ 328.29 Sales per weighted-average store (in thousands) (4)(6)   $ 634   $ 611   $ 2,601   $ 2,467  
      (1) Calculated as cost of goods sold for the last 12 months divided by average inventory. Average inventory is calculated as the average of inventory for the trailing four quarters used in determining the denominator. (2) Calculated as inventory divided by store count at the end of the reported period. (3) Calculated as accounts payable divided by inventory. (4) Represents O’Reilly’s U.S. and Puerto Rico operations only. (5) Calculated as sales less jobber sales, divided by weighted-average square footage. Weighted-average square footage is determined by weighting store square footage based on the approximate dates of store openings, acquisitions, expansions, or closures. (6) Calculated as sales less jobber sales, divided by weighted-average stores. Weighted-average stores is determined by weighting stores based on their approximate dates of openings, acquisitions, or closures.  
    • By OReilly Auto Parts
      Automotive Shock and Strut Overview | What do they do and why are they important?
    • By OReilly Auto Parts
      SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. (the “Company” or “O’Reilly”) (Nasdaq: ORLY), a leading retailer in the automotive aftermarket industry, announces the release date for its first quarter 2024 results as Wednesday, April 24, 2024, with a conference call to follow on Thursday, April 25, 2024.
      The Company’s first quarter 2024 results will be released after 3:30 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, and can be viewed, at that time, on the Company’s website at  link hidden, please login to view by clicking on “Investor Relations” and then “News Room.”
      Investors are invited to listen to the Company’s conference call discussing the financial results for the first quarter of 2024, on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time, via webcast on the Company’s website at  link hidden, please login to view by clicking on “Investor Relations” and then “News Room.” Interested analysts are invited to join the call. The dial-in number for the call is (888) 506-0062 and the conference call identification number is 193896. A replay of the conference call will be available on the Company’s website through April 24, 2025.
      About O’Reilly Automotive, Inc.
      O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. was founded in 1957 by the O’Reilly family and is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment, and accessories in the United States, serving both the do-it-yourself and professional service provider markets. Visit the Company’s website at  link hidden, please login to view for additional information about O’Reilly, including access to online shopping and current promotions, store locations, hours and services, employment opportunities, and other programs. As of December 31, 2023, the Company operated 6,157 stores across 48 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
       
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    • A-premium Auto Parts:5% OFF with Code GM5.
    • By Counterman
      link hidden, please login to view, we took an in-depth look at the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the average vehicle age, highlighting their significant roles in shaping the automotive aftermarket. At the time of publication, we hinted at further exploration into other critical factors that influence our industry, and today, I’ll fulfill that promise by examining gas prices and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), two indicators that give a snapshot of the economy and provide professionals a means to predict the future of the aftermarket landscape.
      First, let’s look at everyone’s favorite expense: gas prices.
      The fluctuations in gasoline prices in the United States are more than mere figures at the fuel pump; they serve as barometers for a variety of factors, including economic health, geopolitical tensions, consumer confidence and the vitality of the automotive aftermarket sector. Gasoline stands as a relatively inelastic commodity, with demand showing little sensitivity to price changes. This is largely because a significant portion of vehicle use, estimated at about 30% for commuting purposes alone, is essential and non-negotiable for many individuals, according to a University of Michigan study.  When considering additional driving for school-related activities, errands and other purposes, visits to the gas station are an inevitable aspect of daily life.
      This inelastic nature of gasoline consumption implies that rising fuel prices compress consumer spending power and escalate operational costs for businesses reliant on transportation. Consequently, there’s a logical link between fuel costs and mileage traveled, especially for discretionary travel. Recent studies, including research by AAA, reinforce this connection, suggesting that as gas prices climb, individuals adjust their travel and lifestyle accordingly.
      AAA released an article in July 2022 summarizing the aforementioned research that they conducted. The article showed that 64% of U.S. adults made changes to their driving habits and/or lifestyle since March 2022, at a time when gas prices were hovering around $4.30 and peaking at $5.03 in June 2022, with 23% of consumers making major changes. As illustrated in the article, of the 64% who reported they were making changes in their driving and lifestyle, 88% said they would drive less, 74% said they would try to combine errands, 56% said they would reduce shopping or dining out, and 30% reported they will delay major purchases.  
      Putting these sentiments into the context of the automotive aftermarket, less driving will put fewer miles on vehicles, leading to extended periods in between the 3,000-5,000 mile oil changes, roughly 6,000-mile alignments and factory scheduled maintenance around the 30,0000-, 50,000-, and 90,000-mile marks. Additionally, if people have less disposable income, they may put off repairs or standard maintenance like an oil change, further increasing the interval of vehicle maintenance.
      However, while less driving may lead to extended periods between routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, alignments and factory scheduled services initially, this shift in consumer behavior presents a silver lining for the automotive aftermarket. With people potentially delaying maintenance due to reduced disposable income, it stands to reason, vehicles are likely to be held onto for longer periods. This not only increases the likelihood of maintenance and repairs in the long term, but also signals a decrease in the purchase of new vehicles. As a result, the market could see an uptick in older, used vehicles that require more frequent servicing and do not receive warranty services (in other words, an increase in the use of vehicles within the aftermarket sweet spot). This scenario underscores the importance of the automotive aftermarket in supporting vehicle longevity and reliability, highlighting a potentially robust market for service shops and parts suppliers alike.
      However, despite the intuitive connections and survey research, some reports, such as one from TIME, paint a different picture. Research analyzing fuel prices and American driving habits from 2000 to 2022 indicates that by June 24, 2022, U.S. gasoline consumption was nearly 8.93 million barrels per day, slightly below the 9 million daily average since 2000, showing a minor 1% drop. Conversely, gas prices soared to 90% above their average for that period.
      The results of the TIME analysis will be partially corroborated by some of the charts presented in this article, but it is important to understand that the data presented for miles driven is in millions, so even small spikes on a chart will represent rather larger scaled changes.
      To begin our deep dive, we start with Chart 1, which sources data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and reveals the trajectory of retail gasoline prices across several years, displaying a pattern of highs and lows that correspond with a multitude of external factors.
      link hidden, please login to viewChart 1 As we observe the trend line from January 2014 to January 2024, we see a gradual increase with significant peaks and troughs. The trendline suggests a weak upward trend with considerable volatility, which can be attributed to a range of influences, from geopolitical events, supply disruptions, technological advancements and shifts in consumer behavior. While Chart 1 showing a decade of gas price fluctuations may not explicitly outline the impact on the automotive aftermarket as far as time is concerned (meaning that we can’t accurately predict the price of gas in a few years with time alone), the implications are significant. Higher gas prices can lead to increased demand for fuel-efficient aftermarket products or vehicles, as consumers look to optimize their vehicle’s performance.
      Conversely, lower gas prices can result in more disposable income to pursue vehicle repairs or perhaps drive more in general, which will inevitably lead to a greater need for repairs and vehicle upkeep (more on that to come). Ultimately, whether gas prices rise or fall, the aftermarket can benefit from the resulting changes in consumer behavior, as vehicle owners seek to manage their operating costs or take advantage of economic conditions to use their vehicles more.
      VMT: A Reflection of Changing Times
      As previously stated, VMT can have a significant impact on the health of the automotive industry and the aftermarket. So, let’s jump into Chart 2, which showcases VMT data over the last 10 years, according to the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED).
      This chart traces the VMT from January 2014 to October 2023, offering a graphical story of the nation’s driving habits.
      link hidden, please login to viewChart 2 The data shows that simply counting on an increase in driving over time won’t work for predicting aftermarket service demand. Instead, aftermarket businesses should focus on the specific factors that influence driving habits, like economic trends such as inflation and cultural/societal trends such as remote work policies. This understanding is crucial for aftermarket businesses to effectively manage inventory, plan marketing and schedule services. Recognizing that vehicle use can vary widely, rather than following a steady climb, allows aftermarket companies to be more agile and meet their customers’ needs in real time.
      Is There a Correlation Between Gas Prices and Vehicle Miles Driven?
      Various reports and studies have highlighted a discernible link between gasoline prices and the distance traveled by drivers. However, a broader analysis of economic data reveals a more complex scenario. Despite the intuitive connection between fuel costs and driving behavior, the practical demands of daily life in America—such as commuting to work, school and other essential activities—often render the inclination to reduce driving due to higher gas prices moot. (See Chart 3 which integrates information from the preceding two charts.)
      link hidden, please login to viewChart 3 While there’s a connection between gas prices and VMT, it’s relatively weak as indicated by the low correlation coefficient and the even smaller predictive regression score not presented, indicating the presence of other influential factors. For accurate market predictions, we must consider additional variables like geopolitical issues affecting oil supply, policy changes and shifts in oil demand, which can abruptly alter gas prices.
      Similarly, VMT is influenced by factors such as public transportation availability, urban versus rural living patterns and societal shifts toward remote work or “walkable” cities. Changes in consumer preferences, such as a growing interest in environmentally friendly transportation options or online shopping, can also play a crucial role.
      Therefore, automotive aftermarket professionals should consider integrating advanced analytics and diverse data sources into their decision-making processes. This could involve investing in resources that help analyze social, economic and political trends, alongside traditional market data. Engaging with experts in related fields, from energy economics to urban planning, can also enrich their strategic outlook. In summary, a proactive understanding of the diverse drivers behind market changes is essential to navigate the industry’s complexities, capitalize on opportunities and ensure lasting success in a constantly evolving market.
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