The Italian Almanac

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MV Agusta

Harley Davidson Buys MV Agusta

Harley-Davidson announced that it had agreed to buy the Italian motorcycling company MV Agusta for some 70 million euros. The American motorcycling giant said the acquisition would allow it to expand in Europe, where Harley-Davidson sales last year climbed 15%. MV Agusta, which also produces motorbikes under the Cagiva marque, is owned by the Castiglioni family and Claudio Castiglioni will remain as company chairman. Harley-Davidson has agreed to pay him an additional contingent bonus if certain financial targets are met by 2016. Harley-Davidson said it planned to continue to operate MV Agusta Group from its headquarters in Varese, northern Italy, and that head designer Massimo Tamburini would also stay on.

''Motorcycles are the heart, soul and passion of Harley-Davidson and MV Agusta,'' said Harley-Davidson CEO Jim Ziemer. ''Both 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''.

MV Agusta was founded in 1945 as an offshoot of the Agusta aviation company. Despite its success in Grand Prix racing, sales declined in the 1970s and the company stopped production in 1980. Cagiva bought the MV Agusta marque in 1991 and in 1997 introduced a new line of models. In 1999 the Cagiva group was restructured with MV Agustabecoming the main brand. MV Agusta produces a line of exclusive, premium, high-performance sport motorcycles while Cagiva makes lightweight motorcycles.