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Tuesday 19 September 2023

News Briefs

Following Honda's inclusion of level 3 Autonomy features into a road-going car (in Japan), Mercedes is rolling out driverless SAE level 3 technologies in Germany and the U.S. IDTechEx's new report, "Autonomous Cars, Robotaxis and Sensors 2024-2044," suggests that it won't be long before the trickle becomes a flood. Mercedes' S-Class flagship luxury sedan (often a tech trailblazer) has level 3 certification in Germany, and the U.S., meaning that for the first time, drivers in these regions will be able to take their hands off the wheel, feet off the pedals, and mind off the driving. Tesla, GM and Ford can all offer hands-free driving on highways in the U.S., but none of these systems are certified for level 3. This distinction means that the driver always needs to pay attention to what the vehicle is doing. Moreover, the driver is always responsible for the vehicle, and if there is an accident, then blaming it on the car's driving will likely not hold up in court. However, now that Mercedes has a certified level 3 vehicle, others are expected to respond quickly.

The MIC reports a significant win in its ongoing battle to secure and safeguard land access. The OHV community secured a major court victory keeping California's Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area open for OHV enthusiasts. The San Luis Obispo County Superior Court ruled that the California Coastal Commission did not have the authority to close the SVRA.

Varese, Italy based MV Agusta has said that the first six months of its partnership with KTM owner PIERER Mobility AG has already resulted in the addition of 100 dealers that are new to the brand, en route to an end of 2023 target of 180 new outlets. "MV Agusta dealerships are being appointed worldwide among the best already existing MV dealerships, the best selected PIERER Mobility AG retailers and business partners coming from the premium automotive industry". The company has also added enhanced customer care with a 4-year warranty on all model year 2023 bikes in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain and UK (more countries to follow), with service activated lifetime 24/7 roadside assistance included in the purchase of any MV Agusta motorcycle. The company has also launched a new exclusive limited edition for its North American market - the Dragster RR SCS America edition marking the 50th anniversary of the launch of the 750 S.  

Russian motorcycle brand Ural has unveiled new engine and powertrain updates for 2023, including a new engine case, can, roller tappets, a new rubber rocker cover gasket to replace the old, time honored cork design in 2019 and up engines, and a new CV sidecar driveshaft to replace the old U-joint shaft. Excepting for the new gasket, the upgrades are all reverse compatible with all 750 cc air-cooled horizontally opposed flat-twin Ural Engines. Founded in 1941 to provide transport for Russian troops in WWII, the war between Russia and Ukraine forced Ural to relocate assembly from its spiritual home at Irbit in Russia to Petropavlovsk in Kazakhstan. Urals are sold through an international dealer network in over 40 countries across five continents. The company is led by a small team in Redmond, WA that coordinates worldwide distribution and works directly with the factory "to develop and refine the best adventure ready sidecar motorcycles."

The world's oldest surviving national newspaper has printed its final edition. Austria's Wiener Zeitung has published its final print edition almost 320 years after the first. A law change in Austria ended a legal requirement in that country for companies to publish public announcements in the print edition of the newspaper, terminating Wiener Zeitung's role as an official gazette. The change resulted in an immediate loss of an estimated € 18m loss of annual income and has forced the paper to cut 63 jobs, reduce the editorial staff from 55 to 20 and close its print edition. The paper is owned by the Austrian government but is editorially independent and outlasted 12 presidents, 10 kaisers and two republics. The oldest surviving print newspaper is now thought to be Germany's Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung, which started in 1705.

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has marked its recent 10th anniversary as a publicly traded company by reporting record first quarter revenues of CAN$2,429m (+34%), EBITDA of $377m (+39%) and +3% North American Powersports retail sales growth. EPS of $2.38 marked an increase of $0.72 per share or +43%. The owner of Rotax in Austria, BRP recently commissioned its new European R&D campus on the Cote d'Azur and announced the return of the Can-Am brand to the motorcycle market with a range of electric models planned for showrooms in 2015. 

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