Daimler may end up buying a stake in Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta in an attempt to rival BMW and Audi with their respective Motorrad and Ducati bike divisions. At the same time, MV Agusta is said to be looking for a partner to help grow its sales in new markets.
Some readers may recall that Daimler’s performance unit Mercedes-AMG was working closely with Ducati at one point, but eventually cut its ties in 2012 when Ducati was sold to Audi. Now it appears Daimler is courting MV Agusta.
German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung first reported that Daimler is seeking to buy 25 percent of MV Agusta through Mercedes-AMG for 30 million euros (approximately $39 million), with an option to increase the stake for further investments. An insider has since confirmed to Reuters that talks between the two firms are taking place but that no deal has been reached yet.
Not only would a stake in MV Agusta allow Daimler to expand into a new segment, it would provide the German auto giant with access to the Italian firm’s potent three-cylinder engines. The VW Group has already taken advantage of Ducati’s engine know-how, using one of its V-twin engines to power its XL Sport concept car.
Once a leading team in MotoGP, MV Agusta fell into obscurity in the ’70s and ‘80s before being bought by Italian entrepreneur Claudio Castiglioni. It’s changed hands a number of times since then, with Harley-Davidson and Proton taking turns at running it. Castiglioni repurchased the brand in 2010 and currently it is run by his son.