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Tuesday 4 October 2022

News Briefs


According to an SEC Form 8K filed July 21, after 21 years of service, Bryan Niketh has left his role at H-D as Sr. VP of Product and Operations for a new opportunity. His former role is being split and moved under two new roles. His former design and engineering responsibilities will be assumed by Glen Koval, VP of Engineering, in the newly created role of VP Motorcycle Development. Additionally, a new position will be created to lead Motorcycle Operations, which includes Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Logistics. Pat Slaats, VP of Manufacturing, will lead this team on an interim basis until the new role is filled.

Describing itself as the "first all-electric, off-road powersports company," Austin, TX. based Volcon E-Powersports (of 'Grunt' fame - NASDAQ: VLCN) has implemented a "comprehensive program and manufacturing transition aimed at efforts to improve profitability and cash flow," closing its manufacturing operations in Round Rock, Texas, merging its logistics and storage operations into a single location and reducing storage and fulfillment costs. To improve product margins, the company has entered into a contract manufacturing agreement with GLV Ventures, who will now produce the Grunt and the Stag - the all-electric UTV launched by Volcon in July 2022.

Having written recently in AMD about the effects that mandatory deadlines will have in galvanizing the move toward EV adoption (in USA and elsewhere). California (CARB) has now announced that it aims to require all new cars, trucks and SUVs (and motorcycles no doubt) to run on electricity or hydrogen by 2035 under a policy approved in August that "seeks a dramatic cut in carbon emissions and an eventual end to gasoline-powered vehicles." The U.S. auto market gets 10% of its sales from California, the nation's most populous state. The radical transformation in what people drive will require at least 15 times more vehicle chargers statewide and a more robust energy grid. The move comes after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom told state regulators two years ago to adopt a ban on gas-powered cars by 2035 - cutting vehicle emissions in half by 2040. Expect the attorneys to get fat on this one for years to come!

It has been reported (via Reuters) that Honda is considering decoupling its supply chain from China. The report primarily affects Honda's automotive production, and 'only' for sales outside China, but nonetheless the very possibility that it is even under consideration at all is pretty significant. The report states that "Honda Motor Co Ltd is considering building a separate supply chain that would reduce its dependence on China." Nearly 40% of Honda's automobile production took place in China in the last financial year. Honda would continue to keep its supply chain in China for the domestic market in the world's second largest economy, while building a separate one for markets outside of China. A Honda spokesperson said that this is not something announced by the company, adding that it has been working on reviewing and risk-hedging its supply chain in general. Another Japanese automaker, former Ford subsidiary Mazda Motor Corp., has said that it would ask its parts suppliers to increase stockpiles in Japan and produce components outside China.

The Mission Volusia Half-Mile Finale (De Leon Springs, Florida, on October 15) has been added to the Progressive Triple Crown. "The Triple Crown is a unique multi-race challenge that rewards mastery over the sport's three oval disciplines by paying the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle rider who collects the most points at three designated event weekends a $25,000 prize. The move follows the rainstorm that caused the premier-class Main Event at the Progressive Black Hills Half-Mile to be called complete shortly after its start, with every rider who qualified for the race awarded a single point.

Ducati achieved an unprecedented thousandth podium finish in World Superbikes at the end of July when Alvaro Bautista took his Panigale V4 R to his seventh win of this 35th WSBK season in Race 1 of the Czech Round.

It was an eventful August for BRP. Almost simultaneous with what has been described as a "crippling" cyber attack, the aggressively expanding Canadian company announced further acquisitions. It has acquired an 80% majority stake in Denkendorf, Germany, gearbox technology specialist Pinion GmbH, and has taken 100% ownership of the Shawinigan, Quebec operations of Kongsberg Inc., "a leader in electronics and mechatronic components" and long-standing supplier of BRP. These follow BRP's acquisition from Chinese ownership of Great Wall Motor Austria GmbH (EV R&D). Other recent strategic plays have included confirmation of 2024 availability of a new line of Can-Am branded electric motorcycles and the opening of a European design studio on the Côte d'Azur (Nice work if you can get it!).

Cornelius, NC. based Huck Cycles has opened applications for dealers following the release of its updated 2022 electric PTW model line. Leading the charge is the Rebel, a retro-inspired street legal moped class bike that features a welded steel tube frame and hub drive motor. The 3,000 watt motor is powered by a 1,800 kwh lithium ion battery and a 150 amp controller. Range on a full charge is up to 50 miles and speeds as high as 40 mph. Brett McCoy, founder of Huck Cycles, said "we are proud of our Made in North Carolina tag line. All our frames, tanks (battery covers) and seats are manufactured within 50 miles of our facility."  Also new for 2022, the Overland is an all- aluminum bolt together bike "designed for riders who want a little more dirt under their tires. The Overland can be configured as a workhorse bike or a fun off-road adventure bike and can be built with dual batteries to increase the range and speed;

MIC reports that "sales results for the first half of the year remain strong despite inflation concerns, some predictions of a recession, and ongoing supply chain challenges." Compared to pre-Covid 2019 levels, sales are up in every category: Scooter: +18%; On-Highway: +3.8%; Dual: +63.7%; Off-Highway: +40.7%. Dual-purpose sales have continuous YOY growth since 2016 with Q2 2022 sales volume the highest quarter in the history of the MIC Retail Sales Reporting System for this segment. The off-highway category is also on a sales tear - YTD 2022 sales are the third highest since 2008 (with only 2020 and 2021 outperforming).

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,, Cycle World,