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Tuesday 11 July 2023

News Briefs

In an all-new partnership, Cleveland, Ohio based Lincoln Electric has been named Official Welder of Progressive AFT. "With nearly 130 years of history behind it, Lincoln Electric stands today as the global leader in arc welding and cutting." 

The NHRA has added Pine Valley Raceway in Lufkin, Texas to the NHRA Member Track Network. Originally built in 2004, the track reopened in 2023 under the leadership of Buck and Austin Hayward, also joining the NHRA Member Track Network for the first time. The family has already made several improvements to the NHRA Division 4 facility with the goal of "making it a top-notch racing facility in East Texas and to bring sanctioned NHRA events to the track." Buck Hayward, who served as the NHRA Electronics Director for 30 years said that "in 50 years of supporting drag racing manufacturing timing systems, installing timing systems to building tracks I never thought I would ever find myself as a track operator." Pine Valley becomes one of the 120 NHRA Member Tracks - eligible to offer racers in the area a variety of NHRA racing opportunities in the future. 

The latest Market Report from SEMA shows the automotive aftermarket continuing to grow, surpassing $51bn in sales in 2022 - growth of +2% over 2021. This is described as continuing a decade of growth for the industry. That said, the growth rate is lower than the 4% to 5% usually seen, with SEMA estimating that sales growth will "remain fairly flat in 2023. "Pickup accessories remain the biggest segment for the industry at over $15bn in sales. Over 80% of companies expect their sales to stay the same or grow in 2023. 

Verge Motorcycles, the electric superbike pioneer, has formed an Advisory Board comprising top industry leaders to support its plans for global conquest. "The esteemed experts provide motor sports and technology know-how that will be vital for the company's international expansion. Verge is already enjoying strong growth, and the company is now recruiting top talent for its new Innovation Office in London." New advisors so far include Mark Wilson, former CFO of Aston Martin Lagonda PLC and McLaren Automotive, and F1 legend Mika Häkkinen. Verge is recruiting for its Innovation Offices in Tallinn, San Francisco and London.

The 20 nation eurozone bloc fell into recession this winter, with is economy contracting by -0.1% between January and March 2023, after also shrinking in the final three months of 2022. Household spending fell by -0.3% in the first three months of 2023, and by -1.0% in the previous quarter. Germany said it had fallen into recession at the start of the year after its economy contracted by -0.5% in the final quarter of 2022, and a further -0.3% between January and March. In recent months, the European Central Bank has responded by raising interest rates by +3.75%. Ireland's economy shrank by -4.6% in the first three months of 2023 compared with the previous three months. Lithuania's economy was hit hardest compared with last year - its economy shrunk by 3.7%. 

BMW Motorrad posted a new all-time high in Q1 of its centenary year, delivering a total of 47,935 motorcycles and scooters - more vehicles in a first quarter than ever before (2022: 47,403 units; +1.1%). Revenues climbed to € 933m (2022: € 799m/+16.8%). Segment EBIT was up 42.6% to € 154m (2022: € 108m) and the EBIT margin increased to 16.5% (2022: 13.5%/+3%-points). In other news, the board of BMW AG has approved a further share buy-back programme in a volume of up to € 2bn, which is scheduled to start upon conclusion of the first buy-back programme. The latter was started in July 2022 and is expected to be completed in mid-2023. An authorisation to repurchase up to 10% of the share capital within five years was granted by the Annual General Meeting of BMW AG in May 2022.

Following a record year in 2022, Ducati started 2023 with a new record for Q1 deliveries of 14,725 total units delivered. Of its major markets, Italy was +7.0% (2,717 units), USA (1,677) and Germany + 21.0 % (1,666). Multistrada V4 popularity keeps growing (2,668 units sold in Q1); the company sold 2,005 'Monsters', with DesertX becoming the third most popular model in the range (1,442 units sold). Ducati says it is now selling in 90 countries with more than 800 dealers worldwide, with 55 more slated to open in 2023, including the first Audi Ducati Retail integration dealership for Switzerland that opened in Volketswil (Zurich) in March.

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