Episode 70 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is our last recording from 2017, and the show is a good one, with a range of topics to suit all two-wheeled tastes.
Before we get too far into things, Quentin shares a story about riding in a Ferrari Testarossa, which turns into a conversation about the “character” of machines. It’s interesting food for thought, and surely to cause some comments.
We then transition into a talk and explanation about what is going on with the massive Brembo recall, which is affecting a number of superbikes with the Italian brand’s master cylinders.
Keeping things an Italian flavor, we also talk about MV Agusta re-acquiring its shares from Mercedes AMG, and what that means for the Varese-based company…hint: mostly good things.
With a few rabbit holes along the way, we then tackle a listener question about affordable motorcycles for the Western markets, which ties into our ongoing conversation on how to fix the motorcycle industry.
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A bit of a housekeeping item, but today it was announced that MV Holding has completed the acquisition of the shares that were previously held by Mercedes AMG, thus effectively removing the German brand from the Italian motorcycle company’s business operations.
This means that MV Agusta is now solely controlled by Giovanni Castiglioni and the Sardarov family, though today’s news is likely due to investments by the latter, into the struggling motorcycle brand.
For fans of the MV Agusta brand, this surely is the start of a new chapter for this mercurial motorcycle marque.
MV Agusta has finally closed a very important funding round, getting equity investment from ComSar Invest, which is backed by the Black Ocean Group, which in turn is owned by Russian billionaire Timur Sardarov.
The details of the ComSar deal however have not been disclosed, though we do know that the deal includes enough cash to finish MV Agusta’s recapitalization plan with its creditors and to begin its new, more focused, business plan for new models and motorcycle production.
News out of Italy is that MV Agusta is courting not one, but three potential investors that would takeover Mercedes-AMG’s stake in the two-wheeled company.
As we have covered extensively already, MV Agusta is in quite the precarious financial position, with cash flow issues compounding the unhappy marriage between the Italian motorcycle-maker and the German automobile manufacturer.
MV Agusta would like to divest Mercedes from its business, but that comes with complications involving the immediate payback of debts, should Mercedes-AMG’s position in MV Agusta drops below 20%.
In order to make that divesture, MV Agusta would need not only an investor who would bring sizable amounts of cash to the table to keep MV Agusta’s business running, but one who can also cover the €15 million debt whose payment would be triggered by Mercedes-AMG’s business departure.
If you believe the rumors coming out of Italy, Polaris is poised to
save acquire ailing motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta.
We have documented MV Agusta’s precarious financial troubles already in great detail, and how MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni is between a rock and a hard place with his main investor, Mercedes-AMG.
According to the Italian media, and those who repeat their words like parrots, Polaris represents an escape from MV Agusta’s difficult position with the German automobile-maker, though the reality is that nothing could be farther from the truth.
The story of MV Agusta continues with even more interesting developments, as the Italian motorcycle manufacturer seems intent on buying back its shares from Mercedes-AMG, and recapitalizing with new investors.
Talking this week to Italy’s Il Giorno, MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni said that he is “negotiating a buy-back of shares,” though that might be a task easier said than done for the Italian CEO
This is because MV Agusta’s current financial predicament is due primarily from the company’s massive debt accumulation, which now totals over €40 million.
Confirming much of what we already knew, MV Agusta’s spec sheet has the F4 RC making 212 hp with the race exhaust, or 202.5 hp in street trim, while peak torque is 84.8 lbs•ft in either configuration.
Thanks to carbon fiber fairings, titanium connecting bolts and exhaust, lithium-ion battery, forged aluminum wheels, and magnesium casings, the MV Agusta F4 RC is 33 lbs lighter than the RR model, with a 386 lbs dry weight.
As expected, the 2015 MV Agusta F4 RC is equipped with the MVICS 2.0 electronics system, which includes traction control, ABS, rear-wheel lift control, and quick-shifter.
We are still waiting for the 2015 MV Agusta F4 RC to break cover officially, but the top-of-the-line superbike from Varese continues to make itself sneakily available to the public.
First there were the leaked studio photos, which looked spot-on to the photos MV Agusta USA teased us with at its press launch earlier this year.
Now, we have more photos of the F4 RC leaking, though with some changes to the design — namely more prominent “AMG” badging, for MV Agusta’s newest minority partner.
MV Agusta USA recently invited a slew of journalists down to Fontana, California in order to talk about the company’s new business plan, and to ride its current lineup of motorcycles on the infield course.
This article is “Part 1” of that experience, as I wanted to separate my thoughts on MV Agusta, MV Agusta USA, and the general motorcycling climate into one story, and then have my “not-a-review” of the machines for another article. Got it? Ok, let’s go.
Italians are rejoicing over the news that Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche has made it clear that the German car manufacturer is not interested in acquiring more of MV Agusta’s private stock.
Talking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit though, Zetsche said “we had a past experience of cross-marketing with Ducati that was promising, but the company was acquired by Audi and the experiment ended.”
“We now have a new partnership with MV Agusta, a very prestigious brand,” the Mercedes CEO continued. “Again, we have established a cross-branding strategy between AMG and MV Agusta and we believe that the two brands are complementary. However, to avoid what happened with Ducati we point out that we have no intention to take over the business or produce motorcycles. MV Agusta can do it better than us.”
One of the worst-kept secrets in the motorcycle industry, Mercedes-AMG has now officially acquired a 25% stake in MV Agusta S.p.A. The news also sees Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta signing a long-term partnership agreement, as well as collaboration on future sales and marketing efforts.
Neither Mercedes-AMG, nor MV Agusta, are talking the price of the 25% investment, though rumors peg the cost of the deal around €30 million — a very good valuation compared to the €747 million Audi paid for Ducati Motor Holding just two years ago. Also as a part of the agreement, Mercedes-AMG will appoint one member to MV Agusta’s board of directors.