Mercedes-AMG buys 25% of bike firm MV Agusta

Published: 31 October 2014

Daimler’s AMG go-faster division today announced it’s bought a 25% stake in Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta, giving it access to technical know-how behind lightweight three-cylinder engines and more besides.

No price has been put on the deal, but the long-term partnership puts a Daimler director on MV Agusta’s board and the two companies will include collaboration on sales and marketing among other projects.

AMG chief Tobias Moers said: ‘In MV Agusta, we have found the perfect two-wheel partner for Mercedes-AMG. This manufacturer with a long tradition and Mercedes-AMG are connected not only by a long and successful racing history, but also by shared values and goals for the future – allowing the experience of utmost perfection, optimal performance and motorsport technology for the road.

‘The cooperation with MV Agusta also underscores the importance of AMG as the sports-car and high-performance brand of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The partnership provides us with an entry into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts.’

People who like fast bikes will, presumably, also like fast cars…

Who are MV Agusta?

The company is based in Varese, Italy and was founded by the eponymous Domenico Agusta as WW2 ended in 1945.

It employs 260 staff in Italy, 90 of whom work in R&D - believed to be the main reason Merc has bought into MV Agusta. The company has two main platforms for its performance bikes: three- and four-cylinder models, stretching from 675cc to 1100cc.

Its current range stretches from supersport to super bike, sports-naked to crossovers. MV Agusta also owns Cagiva, an historical Italian brand.

MV Agusta is no stranger to racing success: it has won more than 75 world championships on two wheels.

Why are car makers busy snapping up bike firms?

Good point. Audi bought fellow Italian sports car bike Ducati for €860 million in 2012, too, don’t forget. And naturally, Japanese giants such as Honda and Suzuki have long benefited from operations on two and four wheels, as have BMW, Peugeot and more.

All car makers are looking forward to a world where mobility systems are merging. People are considering new types of transport, maybe using a scooter in town, a car for the weekly shop and new solutions - three-wheeled pods, whatever - for urban crawls. Bikes are a melting pot for lightweight, cheap and efficient transport.

And don’t underestimate the usefulness of having access to small, lightweight technologies. BMW has developed its own three-cylinder engines for the Mini and BMW i3 and i8 models. VW showed the XL Sport at the Paris motor show, powered by a Ducati twin engine.

At a stroke, AMG and Mercedes now find themselves with access to a new range of high-revving, efficient, lightweight three- and four-cylinder motors. Clever, eh?

The Motorcycle News verdict

Andy Downes, senior reporter at sister newspaper MCN, told CAR: ‘Daimler, under the guise of Mercedes-Benz and performance brand AMG, had a brief flirtation with Ducati which started in 2011, gave rise to a couple of special editions before Ducati was bought from under their noses by arch car company Audi.

‘The tie-up between the tiny but desirable MV Agusta brand and a giant like Daimler makes perfect sense for the famous Italian brand which needs a cash injection to take any future steps towards expansion. It’s unable to expand beyond current production levels without making the Varese factory significantly bigger and that is going to need the kind of cash reserves a company like Daimler has access to.’

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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