It would appear the wheels could be about to fall off the beautiful union between AMG and MV Agusta. The partnership began back in 2014 when the high performance division of Mercedes Benz bought a 25% stake in MV Agusta. Both marques apparently pitch at the same kind of customer, discerning above average spenders to whom performance matters as much as style. It mirrored the relationship that VAG and Ducati were having, one that is (in my opinion) based around motorcycle manufacturers having more experience of getting reliable and useable numbers out of small capacity (in car terms) engines. It meant we got to see Leon Camier in videos like the one at the bottom of the page, lovely AMG motors appeared on MV press launches and a few bikes made it onto the showroom floor at AMG dealerships. The relationship seems obvious to me.
Once AMG had acquired their stake, MV also secured a €15 million loan to help the brand develop international market share. As we’ve seen with the recent wave of new MV models such as the Brutale and Turismo Veloce, the Varese factory has made a marked step in the right direction. MV Agusta reported a 30 percent increase in revenues for 2015, with a 140% increase in year on year sales in the UK alone. Mightily impressive numbers and surely a sign of great things to come in 2016.
Things might not be as clear-cut and rosy as they appear though. When we spotted that Leon Camier’s WSB bike was missing the all important and, until now very prominent AMG logo, we wondered if it was an honest mistake, or a sign that the two companies might not quite be eye to eye on their future together.
We did some digging. Last month the news was that AMG were potentially looking at taking the majority share at MV Agusta, of which 75% belongs to the Castiglioni family. It looks like MV figurehead Giovanni Castiglioni is reluctant to give up control of MV to AMG. It also looks like AMG might be reluctant to continue their relationship with AMV as long as Castiglioni is in the hot seat. MV Agusta appear to have loans totaling €40 million. We made a few anonymous calls to dealers in the UK and Europe, it seems that motorcycle production at the MV factory has slowed massively over the last few months. If AMG decides to split with MV, production could continue to remain low while negotiations with a new partner take place.
In short, keep an eye out for MV news, something big is coming. We’ve really enjoyed a resurgence at MV Agusta and hope it has the fairytale ending the brand deserves, though something also tells me they could be heading for an almighty shitstorm. Time and superbike.co.uk will tell.
Words: Johnatsuperbike Images: MV and unknown race photographer.