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Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta Sign Contract Concerning Long-Term Partnership

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It is now official. Mercedes-AMG, a subsidiary of Daimler AG has signed a contract with MV Agusta that will include the acquisition of a 25% interest in MV Agusta, as well as a “long-term partnership” related to marketing and sales. Here is the press release received this morning by MD:

  • Cooperation agreement signed on long-term partnership
  • Mercedes-AMG to acquire 25% interest in MV Agusta
  • Cooperation in area of marketing and sales

Affalterbach, Germany / Varese, Italy – The sports-car and performance brand Mercedes-AMG of the Daimler AG and the motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta have signed a cooperation agreement on a long-term partnership. Cooperation between the two high-end brands with long traditions and histories will include the area of marketing and sales. At the same time, Mercedes-AMG GmbH will acquire a 25% interest in MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. No details have been disclosed of the price to be paid for the stake in MV Agusta Motor. Mercedes-AMG will appoint one member of MV Agusta’s board of directors. The partnership is still subject to the approval of the relevant authorities, which is expected to be granted in late November.

Tobias Moers, Chief Executive of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “In MV Agusta, we have found the perfect two-wheel partner for Mercedes-AMG. This manufacturer with a long tradition and Mercedes-AMG are connected not only by a long and successful racing history, but also by shared values and goals for the future – allowing the experience of utmost perfection, optimal performance and motorsport technology for the road. The cooperation with MV Agusta also underscores the importance of AMG as the sports-car and high-performance brand of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The partnership provides us with an entry into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts.”

Giovanni Castiglioni, President and CEO of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A., commented: “MV Agusta and Mercedes-AMG are a perfect brand fit: Two complementary companies that stand for design, high performance and excellence. Mercedes-AMG will help MV Agusta to further expand globally and to accelerate our growth. The uniqueness of MV Agusta will further enhance Mercedes-AMG’s leadership in the high-performance segment.”

Strategy and Planning: “The positioning of Mercedes-AMG as the performance brand in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio will be further strengthened through the strategic partnership with MV Agusta. The strategic cooperation with MV Agusta will allow us to address high-performance enthusiasts with automobiles and with motorcycles. Through the cooperation in the area of marketing and sales, we will be able to attract new target groups for both companies all over the world.”

As a 100% subsidiary of Daimler AG, Mercedes-AMG GmbH is the sports-car and performance brand of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The company was founded in 1967 by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, and built its reputation on the basis of great success in motorsport and a unique product portfolio. At present, the Affalterbach-based company employs approximately 1,200 people, of whom 700 are active in the area of development engineering. This reflects the company’s high technological standards and self-image: Mercedes-AMG automobiles are today renowned worldwide for high performance, perfection and precision, and are the benchmark in many areas. The company’s motorsport DNA is tangible in every model, and especially in the two sports cars completely developed in Affalterbach, the SLS and the recently unveiled Mercedes-AMG GT, which will further enhance the profile of the performance brand. In 2013, Mercedes-AMG achieved unit sales of 32,000 cars; by the middle of this year, a total of 23,000 AMG automobiles had been sold.

In the AMG engine factory in Affalterbach, highly qualified engine mechanics build the engines by hand according to the highest quality standards and the principle of “one man, one engine” – as witnessed by the AMG engine plate bearing the signature of the responsible mechanic. This exclusive craftsmanship fits exactly with the MV Agusta philosophy of raising the development and manufacturing of motorcycles to another level: “motorcycle art.”

MV Agusta Motor S.p.A., headquartered in Varese/Italy, was originally founded in 1945 by Domenico Agusta. The North Italian manufacturer attained international renown for its advanced technology and high performance, which helped to make it one of the most successful brands in the world of motorcycle racing. MV Agusta motorcycles represent dedication to the perfect balance of high performance and breathtaking Italian design. The company currently employs a workforce of approximately 260 employees at its headquarters located on the shore of Lago di Varese in Northern Italy, of whom 90 work in the area of research and development. MV Agusta’s product portfolio is based on two main platforms, comprising three- and four-cylinder models ranging from 675 to 1100 cubic centimeters engine displacement and occupying the supersport, superbike, sports-naked and crossover segments. MV Agusta Motor S.p.A.  is also the owner of Cagiva, a further renowned Italian historical motorcycle brand.

Through the sales-and-marketing partnership with Mercedes-AMG, the producer of high-performance motorcycles should further accelerate its growth, which has been at a double-digit rate for the past five years. The continuing extension of its motorcycle range will be announced at the forthcoming EICMA international motorcycle fair in Milan. MV Agusta will present new models in the sports-naked segment embodying the maximum expression of design and power – the Brutale 800 RR and the Dragster 800 RR. With the all new Stradale 800 and the all new Turismo Veloce 800 models, MV Agusta will continue its expansion by entering the touring market segment for the first time.

47 Comments

  1. Tori Zimbalas says:

    I’m sure someone at the three pointed star(correctly) came upon the realization that for a relatively small amount of money…they can stake a claim in the small displacement/hyper sport game….shoulder to shoulder with the other German competitors …

    MV is great cred for chump change….forget the notion of some sort of adaptability of the motorcycle engines for any derived Benz product….I doubt Benz would be interested in closing its exhaust valves (in any of its current fleet) as late as any MV engine does….

    That aside… no doubt Claudio Castiglioni is cracking a wry smile somewhere up there

    Its different now but..long ago Ducati couldnt hold MV’s jockstrap

  2. Gronde says:

    If each Mercedes dealership sold just one MV a month, it would probably exceed what MV sells currently. Only problem is that the one MV mechanic in the sole MV service bay at each dealership would be as lonely as a Maytag repairman!

  3. Patrick McDonald says:

    At the Paris Motor Show VW recently showed a prototype hybrid car (VW XL sport) powered by an 1199 cc twin Ducati engine. The car is a sleek sports car with scissor doors etc. VW claims a 0 to 60 time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 168 MPH. It has a lot of carbon fiber and weighs 1,962 pounds. They are building 500 for sale. The price was not quoted, but you could save money swapping the engine back and forth with your SuperLeggera. Who would have thought that a motorcycle engine would find an application in a performance car.

    Remember when Ford tried to buy Ferrari? Ferrari wouldn’t sell, so Ford built the GT 40 and beat Ferrari at LeMans.

    So when is Hyundai putting in an offer for Harley? Kia will have to buy Aprilia or Triumph.

    • mickey says:

      Wow, that is an awesome looking car, but why wouldn’t VW engineers design their own engine or just buy engines from Ducati?

      That question relates directly to the MV deal mentioned..ie: why wouldn’t Mercedes engineers design their own motors, or why wouldn’t they just buy motors from MV. What is the benefit to buying a portion of the company you are sourcing motors or motor technology from?

      • Lenz says:

        Two things are unique to a particular business entity involved in product development – the company “Brand” (how their products are loosely perceived / image) and the company “Intellectual Property” (specific processes, knowledge base and devices)

        Tapping into those unique properties is achieved by acquisition of the target company shares and all sorts of deeply threatening / lawyers with big sticks agreements. Encroaching on discrete IP after the “divorce” also provides the legal fraternity with healthy profit margins.

        • Norm G. says:

          ok, but were talking about Mercedes and MV, aren’t we…?

          • Lenz says:

            “What is the benefit to buying a portion of the company you are sourcing motors or motor technology from?” – My post refers to this question from MICKEY

  4. Patrick McDonald says:

    VW recently showed a prototype hybrid car (VW XL sport) powered by an 1199 cc twin Ducati engine. The car is a sleek sports car with scissor doors etc. Although this is a show car, VW claims a 0 to 60 time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 168 MPH. It has a lot of carbon fiber and weighs 1,962 pounds. They are building 500 for sale. The price was not quoted. Who would have thought that a motorcycle engine would find an application in a performance car.

    Remember when F

  5. Michael H says:

    Everyone wants to be Honda.

    • Norm G. says:

      “Everyone wants to be Honda.”

      BMW… #11 on Forbes list of most valuable brands.

      #1 Apple
      #3 Coca Cola
      #7 GE
      #14 Toyota
      #16 Mercedes
      #17 Walmart

      #20…? Honda.

    • Chris says:

      If they “wanted to be Honda”, they’d make their own motorcycles rather than buy into a small but established (?) motorcycle company like MV.

      • -D says:

        Not every German car company can be like BMW. As a matter of fact, in that respect, BMW stands in a class all their own in Germany.
        Now, every major German car company has a direct involvement in the motorcycle industry. Don’t get me wrong, I think its AWESOME for the motorcycle industry as a whole, but if you sit back and analyze it…
        …BMW was the first one, then Audi wanted to get in on the fun, now Mercedes in the newest kid on the German block. Personally, I love it. It shows the world that the Germans have a true passion for motorsports, in particular, the two wheeled kind. 😀

  6. Don Fraser says:

    Don’t know what difference this makes to the average guy. Kawasaki seems to have figured out how to light the fire, but time will tell if it leads to more sales and healthier dealers. While visiting Austin for the motoGP this year, visited AF 1 and Ducati Austin and was impressed with both dealerships. Think that the dealership makes all the difference, and they are lucky to be in a town that is so alive.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “visited AF 1 and Ducati Austin and was impressed with both dealerships.”

      re: “Think that the dealership makes all the difference”

      ooh, you’re so close “smokin’ don fraser” albeit one step removed. continue back further with your “contact tracing” and you’ll find the TRUE source of the outbreak.

      the correct answer is “monkey”… err… money. MONEY is what makes all the difference.

      re: “they are lucky to be in a town that is so alive”

      where they are lucky to be is Texas. 3 words… Eagle Ford Shale. Spindletop (circa 1901) was just the beginning.

  7. Tim says:

    Unless and until MV strengthens their dealer network and improves their parts availability, they won’t reach their full potential. I suspect the dealer issue could be resolved if the parts distribution issue was adequately addressed. Dealers don’t want the headache.

  8. Lenz says:

    Obviously there is something about the MV Agusta brand or their IP that appeals to Merc-AMG.

    I can understand HD having acquired the controlling interest of MV as a broadening of the HD scope of interest – the subsequent return of the MV brand to Castiglioni control was a windfall benefit for the family interests at HD’s expense. Now which automobile manufacturer acquired a major interest in Ducati recently ? Lots of “paddling” going on beneath the surface perhaps …..

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Now which automobile manufacturer acquired a major interest in Ducati recently ?”

      and there it is. it’s exactly what I shared a few years ago when that all went down. only now do we see more clearly. America has it’s BIG 3 auto makers competing with each other, and so does Deutschland with it’s 3 luxury brands (only a perception btw). Schwabians to the north, Bavarians to the south. fwiw VW/Audi/Porsche are also Schwabes/Saxons. the Saxon proximity/historical tie-in accounts for much of the popularity of the “peoples car” in the UK.

      with that out, the difference however is BMW (Bey Oom Vey) has always had a “durable competitive advantage” partly aiding their ascent to top o’ the food chain the past 80 years. ask Buffet what this means (no not Jimmy… Warren).

      though one could say Merc and VW both diversified into trucks…? let’s face it, not a lot of “romance” between consumers and lorries like there is between consumers and car world/bike world. emission standards aside, ultimately this is about cultivating brand loyalty and the end game of moving ever more (and MORE) of that high volume/high margin cash cow known as… “DAS AUTO”.

      if there wasn’t the chance it could result in selling 1 additional car…? NONE of them would give a rats about motorbikes.

  9. adaleb says:

    Weird deal. Strange deal. Won’t work. Waste of money. But then again, the superior folks at M-B are swimming in it, so they might as well blow it on something (money).

  10. Hot Dog says:

    Thank God we don’t have to have a Mercedes with a pushrod V-twin, sausage pipes and Ape hangers! It’s a good thing that Harley got rid of this albatross.

  11. skybullet says:

    Ducati is a perfect example of what can happen with cash infusion. I have always considered MV one of the best looking bikes out there. Now they can develop products that will appeal to dealers as well as a a larger customer base.

  12. al says:

    Looks like Papa Castiglioni has been a good teacher….:-)

    • HS1-RD-CX100-VFR says:

      I can’t think of one manufacturer of motorcycles, sports cars or luxury cars that has survived without some sugar daddies propping up their venture. At least Papa C’s willingly donated. The German companies survived at times with military and government contracts (and likely some Jewish asset seizures) that are less than something to be proud of. BMW has had its periods of being propped up by other Quandt family ventures. Some of the Japanese companies are subsidiaries that have had red ink covered. The Japanese government teamed with all of their domestic companies with public financing schemes, protective measures, and high taxes on home consumers to raise revenue. Every British company has a history of intervention and loss. Harley went through AMF ownership and tariff assistance. No one’s favorite make appears to above reproach or being mocked in this regard.

  13. Blackcayman says:

    they didn’t want to be the only German mark without a motorcycle division?

    The AMG MV ASAP, coming soon

  14. Mike says:

    Maybe MV will develop 3 cylinder engines for MB’s A & B class cars, as well as the Smart Cars.

  15. mickey says:

    Will make ZERO difference here in the US, unless they start selling/ servicing MV’s in US Mercedes dealerships. Even then the dealerships would be few and far between.

    An MV touring bike? That should be interesting.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      There was a time not all that long ago when people said that about Ducati, too, though they had much better brand recognition on their side when they started to turn things around.

      • mickey says:

        Ducati has always had a fairly strong presence in the US, although there dealer network is still lacking. I think Ducati got their big boost from all the motorcycle rags from the last 6 or 7 years telling everyone how great Ducatis were to the point some of the rags ( particularly Motorcyclist) were getting accused of being shills for Ducati.

        When I start seeing MV’s on the cover of the major motorcycle mags and mag writers singing their praises, then I will think there may be some change coming. Other than at a Biker Night at the local Quaker Steak and Lube, I have never seen an MV on the road. I see lots of Ducati’s…mostly Monsters.

        • Jim says:

          I don’t have proof, but I do have a theory and half an ass which is enough for me to chime in on this topic!

          My city had one Duc dealer through the 80s and 90s and it sucked. If you wanted a Duc, you had to go to these guys and they were terrible.

          Late 90s, a tiny shop in the burbs approached Duc and said they wanted to build a huge facility and Duc backed them in a big way. Boom, huge dealership and a ton of Ducs ripping up the city.

          That’s where I bought my monster, and I love the guys at the shop – friendly, professional, knowledgable. Ducati did this, and they’ve put thousands of bikes into the area. That’s what I call strategic expansion.

      • mickey says:

        Btw I think the MV Agusta F4 in red and silver is one of the most stunning motorcycles on the planet.

  16. allworld says:

    I hope this is good news. MV is a terrific motorcycle brand so if MB’s AMG can give at much as it takes then, perhaps we will see some incredible bikes in the near future.

    • HS1-RD-CX100-VFR says:

      I don’t get why so many people in the blogosphere (worse in other sites where I don’t post, so I’m venting a bit here) seem to be rooting for MV Agusta to fail. The points of criticism seem so frivolous. Most recent road test articles report precise throttle response. Even Yamaha, who is so consistent with bringing well sorted out models to market, has whiffed in this area. The corporate style was penned by probably the greatest designer in motorcycling history, and it still looks very contemporary.

      Then there are those pointing out the various ownerships involved in the revived company. In reality, Claudio Castiglioni is one of the greatest patron saints of motorcycle brands in history. Putting together a somewhat feasible start and then attracting investors, merger partners, or venture capitalists is how most companies now have to enter complex manufacturing and marketing segments. Even billionaire Elon Musk has IPO’ed Tesla after having investments from other automakers. Imagine Harley Davidson failing at managing a “foreign” company that only makes types of motorycles that most of their management and customer base disdains. That has never happend before.

      Also, imagine a small upstart/restart Italian company going through a phase of having a limited dealer network that has trouble readily getting parts. It’s especially puzzling to see Ducati fans criticizing this. I’m betting that MV actually gets past this faster than Ducati did, if we consider the clock starting for MV at 1997.

      Why not just root for the successful returns of one of the most storied companies in motorcycle history? An entrepreneur started the company immediately in the bombed out ruins of Mussolini’s failed fascist/socialist disaster to employ people in his village. The company became center in so many great rivalries and stories. As so many of us are aware, but apparently some aren’t, these included: MV Agusta verse Moto Guzzi, Italy verse Great Britain, Agostini and Hailwood, Agostini verse Hailwood, Europe verse Honda and ultimately Japan.

      I get frustration with Honda as they are a giant that was once much greater, and now seem to care more about appealing to people who have never purchased a motorcycle than to those who have been purchasing so many of their motorcycle over the years as to make them the biggest manufacturer. I don’t get the bashing on MV who appears to trying hard, with some tangible results, to have an upward trajectory.

  17. TwoWheelsForever says:

    How can Mercedes possibly benefit from this? I would bet 99% of their customers have never heard of MV Agusta. And, even if MV Agusta were to grow 1000% from Mercedes involvement, the resulting profit would be lost in the rounding on Mercedes financials.

    Regardless, I hope this boosts MV’s dealer network. Their bikes are the sexiest on the planet!!

    • dino says:

      I also hope this may boost their network (at least for ordering parts to a dealer / distributor)..

      If Mercedes customers have never heard of MV Agusta, then maybe they will. Maybe they will be a little more interested in two wheels, a little more tolerant of riders, etc… More exposure is a good thing!

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “If Mercedes customers have never heard of MV Agusta, then maybe they will. Maybe they will be a little more interested in two wheels”

        sorry, but you’ve got the sequence backwards. gotta understand, these thoughts originate from us motorcyclists thinking we’re MORE IMPORTANT and special than we actually are. in the picture above, what you’re seeing is a MERCEDES “carrot” being dangled in front the MV “horse”.

        think about it, how many broke people do you know with MV’s…?

        exactly, they (Daimler) are creating a conduit for intercept, conquest sales… no not that old Mitsubishi heap.

        re: “a little more tolerant of riders”

        warning, spittle exiting windows will be no less copious.

        re: “More exposure is a good thing!”

        hey that’s what Stuttgart said! 🙂

    • iliketoeat says:

      Mercedes is buying MV Agusta not because they want to sell motorcycles, but because they want access to small, relatively high-powered engines and the associated technology and know-how. I’m sure Mercedes is working on a small hybrid car, and a small 3-cylinder gasoline engine would be perfect for that.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: ” they want access to small, relatively high-powered engines and the associated technology and know-how.”

        looks good on paper but no, even MV’s best design would be considered “a quaint antique” to the company whose 2 different engine configurations (one normally aspirated, one forcibly inducted) have taken the laurels in F1.

      • Mugwump says:

        Ferrari engine technology?

      • MGNorge says:

        Engines for cars, even small ones, tend to be far from the shrieking, high rpm lumps placed in modern sport bikes. Would a firm like MV and its engineers really bring much to the table that Mercedes engineers couldn’t themselves? Might it be simpler, and cheaper, to add some small engine specialist engineers to their ranks if needed?
        Not that Mercedes wouldn’t draw from accumulated talent but I think it’s more about image and style. Mercedes does not quite have the appeal of the younger set as do BMW and Audi, to name a couple of main contenders. Even though they stack up very well, especially in AMG livery, their image seems more staid than the others. Like everyone else, they’re finding their way to appeal to new emerging consumers with different tastes than their father’s.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Like everyone else, they’re finding their way to appeal to new emerging consumers with different tastes than their father’s.”

          PETRONAS/Mercedes Benz driver Lewis “youngling” Hamilton overtakes his teammate (again) further extending his F1 points lead on his way to winning the USGP in Austin this afternoon… his 5th straight.

          http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/29874487

          i’d say they’re working on it…?

      • Ralph says:

        iliketoeat,

        I don’t think MB needs any help designing small, high powered engines and associated technology. MB is slaying F-1 with their new engine design:

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2032167-mercedes-advantage-in-2014-a-simple-explanation-of-revolutionary-f1-engine