Trouble Brewing for the MV Agusta F3?

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All is not well regarding the new MV Agusta F3, several sources have now told Asphalt & Rubber. Teasing the F3 motorcycle for almost two years now, the three-cylinder supersport has been on the radar of two-wheeled enthusiasts since well before its 2010 debut at the EICMA show. While the latest creation from Varese is undisputedly a stunner, and promises some more than peppy performance and features, eyebrows within the industry were raised with its very pre-mature debut in Milan, and its accompanying lack of any real concrete technical specifications.

With products traditionally launched at the November EICMA show going on sale immediately the next model year, MV Agusta made a shocking announcement in 2010 that the F3 would be a 2012 model. Obviously launched with the intention of generating immediate buzz about the newly re-acquired MV Agusta brand, and its goal of becoming a larger volume producer (and actually a profitable company for a change), the F3 and its progeny like the MV Agusta Brutale B3 are supposed to usher in a new era for the Italian brand.

Apparently teased early to help prove demand for MV’s new product offering, this new ethos unfortunately has apparently done little to sway creditors and investors on the viabiliy of the brand, especially since the names associated with driving MV Agusta into the ground are still associted with the decidedly not-so-new regime. Though the Castiglionis were able to negotiate a stellar deal with Harley-Davidson regarding the purchase of MV Agusta (they bought the company for one euro, and got an operating cash flow of 20 million in the bank), according to our sources that are close to MV, the Italian company has had a hard time raising additional working capital, and has also found negotiations with parts suppliers to be difficult, with the outside firms demanding to be paid up-front for their wares.

With our sources saying that MV Agusta will now be unable (or will continue to be unable if you count the pre-Harley days) to purchase many of its parts in bulk from its suppliers, it does surprise us to see that the first F3 motorcycle to come out of Varese will be the ultra-expensive MV Agusta F3 Series Oro. Having to pay a premium price for the motorcycle’s components, the Italian company has little choice other than to put out a product that justifies the higher price tag that comes from a lack of economies of scale. Over double the price of the base F3, the Serie Oro is easily the most expensive supersport class motorcycle on the market, and pays homage to the business strategy that helped put MV Agusta in the red not so long ago.

The inability to purchase in bulk and with credit from its suppliers, is rumored to be the primary reason for the F3’s delay to market, and slowly escalated price tag (remember when Castiglioni said the bike would cost €9,000?). With the project virtually completed under the company’s Harley-Davidson ownership, very little of the F3 project has come during MV Agusta’s return to Italian ownership, thus making financing the production and supply chain MV’s only real roadblocks and steps to bringing the F3 to market.

Despite these supply chain and finance setbacks, MV Agusta has been adamant about the F3 Series Oro being available this later this year, while the base model MV Agusta F3 will allegedly be in dealer showrooms by April of 2012. Unless something has recently changed in the company’s purchasing power, it will be very difficult for the F3 to come to market in its base model form at the price being banded, and still make a profit for the Italian company. How the next few months will play out will be very interesting for MV Agusta, because while the company has been forthcoming about its future products and roadmap, those plans are entirely contingent on the present. Perhaps that’s not a coincidence.

Source: Bothan Spies