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Mercedes on the Verge of Acquiring Stake in MV Agusta?

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According to a report published by Reuters yesterday, Mercedes’ parent Daimler may announce as early as next week acquisition of a significant ownership interest in family-owned MV Agusta, together with an option to invest additional funds and acquire more shares (the initial stake is rumored to be approximately 25%). Although the tie to Mercedes (reported elsewhere as intending to bring MV into its AMG division), would offer both engineering and financial resources to MV, Reuters interestingly notes a possible interest by Mercedes in sharing the lightweight 3-cylinder, high performance engines developed by MV for use by Mercedes in future fuel-efficient (including Hybrid) automobiles.

Mercedes would be following German rival Audi’s acquisition of an interest in Ducati a couple of years ago.

31 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    MB bought 25% today

  2. HS1-RD-CX100-VFR says:

    I think this is very good news for MV Agusta and motorcycling in general. There is obviously great creativity being held back by the financing it takes to get a motorcycle company over the hump in today’s global economy. MB is is interested in small niche, enthusiast market segments. They are interested in winning at the highest level of motor sports. If the MV’s racing and road bike legacy wasn’t important to them, they could just as easily start their own AMG motorcycle brand. MB also knows service and distribution in virtually every market in the world.

    I think it is nearly impossible for a motorcycle company with MV’s current volume to design brand unique bikes and grow distribution and manufacturing volume to sustainable levels, without a committed financial partner. Few attempts made it when the world was much simpler. MV surviving and maybe even getting to the level to challenge in Moto GP helps to raise the bar across the industry. More rational choices isn’t a bad thing either.

  3. Bobby says:

    So Mv Gusta = Chrysler?

  4. PN says:

    I love the Brutale but there are nowhere near enough US dealers.

    • Gary says:

      I think most would agree with this. In PA there are only two dealers- both out in the eastern part of the State- far eastern part. So if you want a MV in the western region, you either have to travel for a day or forget it. Most will forget it. These smaller manufacturers while I realize that want larger quality dealers, may need to loosen their requirement some and take a chance on smaller dealers to get their product out there. Otherwise, their share of the market will remain small, and will always be dogged by financial problems more than likely. JMHO

  5. Tom K says:

    Hopefully MB can lower production efficiency and cost and keep the high quality components as well as broader dealer network…

    • Tom K says:

      I meant to say increase production efficiency and lower cost…

      • Gronde says:

        Unfortunately, if they lower the cost they lose exclusivity and the biking elite its will scoff at such bargain machines. No, they have to continue selling bikes that few can afford to remain a recognized, top-shelf brand. Distancing MV from the Asian brands is key to their success in the eyes of their demographic. Not pretty, but that’s how it is.

  6. Jlewis50 says:

    Funny how things go full cycle. Harley acquired MV and paid off all its debt than lost Interest and gave it away, for basically nothing, back to the founder. What a sweet deal for MV.
    Their bikes don’t sell and again they are in trouble. Go figure.

  7. jimmihaffa says:

    I really think this is a win/win for both brands. MVA for reasons already stated, plus potentially the opportunity to scale up production and introduce more automation/robotics etc. MB perhaps for interest in advancement of small engine technologies in alternative to conventional 4 wheel transportation. As an aside, depending on how the new Kawasaki H2 is received with its supercharger technology, I wonder if MB’s vast experience with Kompressor technology can be scaled to motorcycle application in a new MB blown sportbike?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “MB perhaps for interest in advancement of small engine technologies in alternative to conventional 4 wheel transportation”

      done, and more than 4 years ago. Daimler already know from 800cc triples. this one powers their Smart CDI. behold, the world’s smallest production turbo-diesel. specs: 50hp (pronounced “fitty”) and 90lbft, Bosch common rail DI (you were expecting somebody else?), 1.2in compressor spinning at 280,000 rpm. weight 190lbs (about the same as Ducati’s original 4V Desmo). but i’m afraid you guys can’t handle this, you’re not ready…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI9HGgKbon4

      yes before you ask, it’s also been nearly as long in a bike. again, some of you aren’t ready. avert your eyes…!!!

      http://tinyurl.com/otc79mj

      re: “I wonder if MB’s vast experience with Kompressor technology can be scaled to motorcycle application in a new MB blown sportbike?”

      not that it’ll happen…? but wonder no more. the experience is vaster still. supercharger-gas, turbo-gas, TDI, etc. it’s not a coincidence that in this new era of F1 the Italians and the Frenchies are being given “what fer”.

      Daimler has their lorry division in Europe and unbeknownst are the parent company for the giants Freightliner and Detroit Diesel in the states. 🙂 that’s right.

  8. skybullet says:

    MV is a boutique brand that is probably in a continuing financial crisis. The choice is: take a chance on a big bucks investor with deep technical resources or wait until they run out of financing. I can only see a brighter future for them with this deal.

    • xlayn says:

      “MV is a boutique brand”
      Indeed it is

      “that is probably in a continuing financial crisis”
      given that it is a boutique brand… sure not selling gazillions of 125cc machines but neither is Apri or Duc; how is it that they come to the point of being in crisis in your opinion?

      • Craig Jackman says:

        No but Ducati has branched out beyond hard edged sport bikes into sport-touring, adventure, and power cruisers. Aprillia does sell smaller bikes in Europe and is under the Piaggio umbrella which does sell a gazillion 125’s, scooters, and mopeds. If you are just going to sell sport bikes, you have to price them high or have a limited dealer network … see also Motus, Buell/EBR, Fisher etc etc

        • xlayn says:

          Apri is under Piaggio umbrella and as you say sold smaller machines, I missed that one (heck and is all you see on Paris by the way (where the mp3 is actually popular)).
          So Ducati is maybe the better one on managing that kind of boutique/expensive/performance machines.
          Thanks for the info!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I can only see a brighter future for them”

      step #1, do whatever Norm instructs.

      step #2, DEALER NETWORK.

      step #3, see step #1.

  9. Starmag says:

    Ah yes, a nice sauerbraten lasagna washed down with a grappabrau. Yuck.

  10. Cyclemotorist says:

    If I was a fan of MV Agusta I would not welcome Mercedes buying an interest in the company. Look how Husqvarna lost their autonomy when purchased by BMW. These big corporations could give a shit about feelings or history.

    • Hot Dog says:

      Sorta Harleyish,eh?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “These big corporations could give a shit about feelings or history.”

      fairplay. however, K. Benz was no mug. Daimler are one of the few companies on the planet that can AFFORD “to give a shit” and that goes a long way at begetting ethical/responsible corporate behaviour (see entry for “papered up”). not that 25% is controlling interest, that’s far less than what Hero has in EBR.

      (consider)

      Merc are only the gents whose F1 powerplant is currently handing multi-champs Ferrari and Renault THEIR ASSES wrapped in a bow for a second time. that’s SCHWABISCH history. not even the Bavarians can lay claim to this.

    • xlayn says:

      “These big corporations could give a shit about feelings or history”
      sure they don’t; the primary mission is to make money for stake holders, for sure you have feel the “don’t ask for money” 4th quarter…
      with that said, no no-making money company can stay in business, they need the money and AMG has it, how would you tell they can get money without losing “feelings or history” if that’s on the path of profitability?

    • SmokinRZ says:

      I think Husqvarna lost their autonomy when they were purchased by Cagiva. Husky had greater volume and brand recognition than KTM prior to their Italian purchase, at least in the US. KTM remained independent and fended off some near bankruptcies, but now look where KTM is today and what Husky could have been. Of course there were a lot more unknown variables, but it’s fun to think about.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        I’ll do you one better and claim Husqy lost practical autonomy even earlier. Which is why they were bought by Cagiva in the first place. It was at the end of the ability of the small, Scandinavian countries to keep up, as motoring developments got costlier and costlier. Volvo and Saab went from leading edge relevant to ever declining catch up around the same time.

        More and more roads were paved, with popular Motorsports interest following suit. Working against the Scandies’ traditional strength in logging road rallying and enduro. While the added traction of sealed surfaces, made everything from brakes to engines to chassis an order of magnitude more expensive to develop and build, concentrating development in more populated areas further south. Unfortunately leaving the once proud Scandinavian motoring culture, to attempt retaining some pride by pretending to be greenies instead…..

  11. joe b says:

    History has it, after WWII, many small Japanese motorcycle companies were bought up by larger ones, simply because they had a clever design, or construction. The mention AMG would be interested in motorcycle design for lightweight engines, buying what they need, or want, to allow them to use it in future designs of similar engines for efficient cars, makes sense. Isn’t that what business is all about?

  12. Gary says:

    I don’t get it.

    • Norm G. says:

      just go with it.

      • Gary says:

        Nah. I’ve seen enough of mergers (from the inside and outside) to know the odds are stacked against ’em. It is tempting for MB … an easy way for Mercedes to get a slice of two-wheeled business with a ready-made brand. But I can almost guarantee it won’t work. Mercedes looks at it as an inexpensive gamble. I look at it as throwing money away.