July 14, 2008 Harley-Davidson has swooped in with around 70 million Euros to rescue the MV Agusta group from its finicial difficulties. Although Harley and MV might look like strange bedfellows, both are premium, no-expenses-spared brands with huge cultural significance. H-D expect to reap strong financial rewards when MV releases uber-designer Massimo Tamburini's next masterpiece - the 675cc inline triple MV Agusta F3 supersports bike.
MV Agusta's reputation for motorcycle building has never been questioned, the brand's sportsbikes consistently sitting right at the top of the performance pile, and being known arguably the most beautiful sportsbikes in the world today thanks to the work of legendary designer Massimo Tamburini. But the company's financial performance has been far less inspiring, to the point where cashflow issues and huge debts have left president Claudio Castiglioni arranging delayed payment plans with suppliers in order to keep the factory open in recent months.
Castiglioni has been openly seeking investment from outside groups - and has conceded that as a hopeless motorcycling romantic he's not the man to be managing the money and would greatly prefer to manage motorcycle development with a more financially-focused operator running the business side of things.
With Friday's announcement that Harley-Davidson would acquire 100% of MV Agusta group stock, MV now finds itself in the hands of an American lifestyle brand that has itself fought off the prospect of closing. Harley might not be known as a performance-oriented brand, but the company certainly knows how to turn a brand's mystique and devoted fanbase into serious sales figures.
H-D's acquisition comes at an exciting time for the MV Agusta brand. Tamburini is working on what could be his next masterpiece - a 675cc inline triple supersport bike to rival Triumph's massively successful 675 Daytona. Already known as the MV Agusta F3, the new bike should make considerably more top-end power than the Triumph due to MV's radial valve technology, and it's also expected to come out several kilograms lighter due to MV's extensive use of lightweight but expensive materials.
MV is also working on a single-cylinder F1 sportsbike around the 600cc capacity, and both the F1 and F3 platforms will be expanded to incorporate naked streetbike models in time.
More details and full press releases over at TheBikerGene.