Harley-Davidson On Its Recent MV Agusta Takeover

Interview: Five Questions

Harley-Davidson officially announced the purchase of European manufacturer MV Agusta July 11, over a month after news of their discussions leaked out. Once all the formalities and regulatory approvals are completed, MV Agusta, and its subsidiary Cagiva, will join Harley-Davidson’s stable which already includes the Buell brand of sportbikes.

Motorcycle.com’s freelance correspondent Tor Sagen interviewed MV Agusta President Claudio Castiglioni shortly after the acquisition was announced. For the Motor Company’s perspective on the deal, Sagen spoke briefly with Bob Klein, Director of Corporate Communication, at Harley-Davidson.

What is the general feeling in Harley-Davidson over the acquisition of MV Agusta?

Bob Klein: Harley-Davidson is delighted to have reached a definitive agreement to purchase the MV Agusta Group and we look forward to a long, mutually-beneficial relationship with the MV Agusta and Cagiva family of customers and employees. Harley-Davidson, Inc. CEO Jim Ziemer captured this well in the press release, when he said: “Motorcycles are the heart, soul and passion of Harley-Davidson, Buell and MV Agusta. All three have great products and close connections with incredibly devoted customers. The MV Agusta and Cagiva brands are ‘well-known’ and highly regarded in Europe. They are synonymous with beautiful, premium, Italian performance motorcycles.”

Q: For how long have you been in talks with Mr. Castiglioni?

BK: We had been in discussions with MV Agusta Group and Mr. Castiglioni since earlier in the year.

Q: Where does Buell fit in all of this?

BK: Harley-Davidson, Inc. views the opportunities created by the acquisition of MV Agusta and Cagiva as incremental in nature, expanding our footprint in Europe and complementing the Harley-Davidson and Buell brands. Buell and MV Agusta are both premium performance motorcycles but have many product differences and distinguishing features, and we believe they will be complementary in the marketplace. They are at different price points, and we believe they can be complementary in the marketplace. MV Agusta is positioned well above other European premium brands on the basis of price and profile, while Buell is more at parity with brands like Triumph, Aprilia and BMW.

Q: Will there be any Harley-Davidson re-branding in the future like it has with past acquisitions?

BK: MV Agusta is a strong, well-recognized brand, and our focus will be to grow the MV Agusta brand in Europe.

Q: Please tell us as much as possible about which steps will be the first in the new ownership to be?

BK: Harley-Davidson, Inc. looks forward to finalizing the purchase in the near future. We plan to continue to operate MVAG from MV Agusta’s headquarters in Varese, Italy.

Looking ahead, HDI priorities upon closing the transaction will be to:

1) Reassure the riding community, dealers and employees that MVAG has a long-term strategic partner and is financially secure;
2) Appoint a leadership team to include a new Managing Director; and
3) Resume production of current models.

Related Reading:
Claudio Castiglioni Interview
H-D announces purchase of MV Agusta
H-D to buy out MV Agusta

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