Harley-Davidson Buys MV Agusta

By: On: July 12th, 20080 Comments »Updated: October 14, 2012

MV Augusta BrutaleHarley Davidson motorcycles is purchasing 95% of Italy’s MV Agusta motorcycle company, and Cagiva, from the Castiglioni family for 70 million euros according to Thomson Financial.  This may be a strange sounding deal to some, but while America is seeing a big surge in sales of motorcycles and scooters due to high gasoline prices, Harley Davidson is not.  In fact, Harley’s motorcycle sales are down and they are not attracting new younger riders.

The lack of young new Harley riders is most likely due to their older looking, classic designs and lack of sporty machines that younger people tend to like.  The Harley Davidson V-Rod attempted to bring a modern, sportier looking motorcycle to perhaps younger buyers; however, the V-Rod never really took off in sales though, and obviously required a lot of development work to create it.Harley Davidson VROD

MV Agusta’s history is pretty intersting.   Meccanica Verghera (MV) company started around 1945 in Varese, Italy by Domenico Agusta. Domenico’s father, Giovanni Agusta owned an aircraft manufacturing complex there in Varese, but after he died in 1927, his wife and son Domenico had a tough time trying to sell aircraft.  Motorcycles and scooters were becoming popular in Italy at that time, so they used some of their industrial resources there to start making a little two-stroke bike until WWII took over.  So, at the end of the war, MV was formed and motorcycle production began.

Between 1956 and 1975, 37 factory racing titles were won by MV. Their last was August 1976 at the Nurburgring in Germany.

2008 MV Agusta F4Tough times hit MV when Domenico Agusta died in the early 1970’s. They had to get some financial help and EFIM stepped in to help with that, but MV was forced by them to get out of the motorcycle production business; although they did sell some more motorcycles during the early 1980’s.

When Cagiva’s Castiglioni family took over MV in 1992, things looked promising since the Ducati and Husqvarna motorcycles had been revived by them already and maybe they could do the same with MV.  Massimo Tamburini, formerly of Bimota, helped bring the MV F4 (F4 as in Ferarri) on the scene in 1998 and into racing at Monza in April 1999.  MV Agusta was revived and began to do well again.  The MV Agusta Brutale model is a great example of the turn-around that the company has done.

It is good news to read that Claudio Castiglioni will remain as Chairman, and designer Massimo Tamburini will continue directing their racing projects under Harley Davidson’s new ownership.  Let’s hope Harley Davidson and MV Augusta can work together to bring something new and exciting to the world of motorcycles and to racing.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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