Why Mercedes-AMG Needs to Buy MV-Agusta

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago and Mercedes-AMG GT-S 1 photo
Photo: Image edited by autoevolution
It all started on Halloween, in 2014, when Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta proudly announced a somewhat surprising cooperation that first resulted in AMG acquiring a 25 percent stake in MV Agusta Motor S.p.A.
The timing was almost perfect, since the announcement came just months after the Mercedes-AMG GT sports cars had been unveiled and a couple of years after Audi snatched Ducati through its Lamborghini subsidiary.

As most of you remember, Ducati was part of AMG's first motorcycle love story, their partnership even resulting in a monstrous-looking special edition of the Diavel bruiser cruiser. In fact, if the VAG Group hadn't offered over $1 billion for Ducati, the motorcycle maker would've still been a Mercedes-AMG partner. Maybe.

For some reason, Mercedes' tuning arm didn't pack up and leave Italy, instead forging the partnership mentioned above with MV Agusta.

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,” said Tobias Moers, the CEO of Mercedes-AMG after buying the 25 percent stake and appointing one member in MV Agusta's board of directors.

The funny thing is that the modern version of MV Agusta is currently under the very protective wing of Giovanni Castiglioni. Exactly, Claudio is the son of the late Claudio Castiglioni, who was in charge of resurrecting both Ducati and MV Agusta during the 1990s.

It is probably safe to say that the young Giovanni isn't exactly willing to sell his remaining shares in the family business to a huge carmaker that isn't Ferrari or something similar. In fact, in a recent interview, he even said that he sees Ducati as the Porsche of the motorcycle world, while MV Agusta is the equivalent of Ferrari.

On the other hand, selling or at least letting Mercedes-AMG increase its stake in MV Agusta is probably the best thing he could do apart from applying for bankruptcy.

In case you weren't yet aware, the motorcycle maker in Varese is currently in debt, with around 40 million euros (approx. $45,3 million) being owed to an Italian bank and suppliers. If the suppliers can be postponed if MV Agusta keeps selling motorcycles, the bank… well, not so much. Oh, and the suppliers need to be paid eventually also, especially if motorcycles have to be built and sold - and they do.

As it happens, the Italian bank that gave MV Agusta money to stay afloat a couple of years ago only did it because Mercedes-AMG had jumped on board. A clause in the contract specifies that if AMG drops its stake in the motorcycle company to under 20 percent, then the bank can ask for all the money to be returned at once.

Giovanni Castiglioni's Italian loafers are probably not the best shoes to be in right now, particularly as it's been rumored that he would do anything to keep MV Agusta at least partly Italian and under his control. That would probably not happen if the board of directors votes for an alliance and Mercedes-AMG makes the move that everyone was expecting after that small step in 2014.

On the other hand, if AMG not only refuses to buy controlling shares but decides to walk away from the ailing motorcycle maker completely, it would most definitely spell disaster/bankruptcy for MV Agusta.

BMW has been making motorcycles for almost 100 years, while Audi is a motorcycle company owner through its Lamborghini arm, so Mercedes-Benz would profit from a deeper association with “the Ferrari of the motorcycle world,” as Giovanni puts it.

Not to mention that, since buying that 25 percent stake in MV Agusta, AMG sales have almost doubled, and its model range now has something for everyone.

Recent rumors also suggest that Mercedes' sports division could be expanding so much that we could see dedicated Mercedes-AMG dealerships and concept stores soon. A lot of AMG owners are also motorcycle enthusiasts, so it wouldn't hurt to be able to buy a Mercedes-AMG bruiser and its two-wheel equivalent like a Brutale 800 RR Dragster from the same shop, would it?

There are a lot of “ifs” and “maybes” for the Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta deal to go ahead, but I'm pretty sure that everyone would walk away happy from it, including and especially the customers. Worst case scenario, Giovanni would have the freedom and money to concentrate more on Cagiva and leave MV Agusta to play more with AMG and grow faster at the same time. Come on, Giovanni, let Tobias put a ring on it!
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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