On June 5th, 2008 I posted on the acquisition of all Italian MV Agusta Group shares by Harley-Davidson for a total consideration of approximately 70 million Euros (about $110 million). At the time, all speculations were made about the way Harley-Davidson was going to exploit this acquisition. Officially, we only knew that Harley-Davidson, Inc. intended to continue to operate MV Agusta Group from its headquarters based in Varese, Italy and that the acquisition was to expand Harley-Davidson presence and footprint in Europe, complementing the Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle families. Since then, total silence.
Then, this week James Ziemer, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson Inc., showed up in Italy and visited for the first time the MV Agusta and Cagiva Headquarters and a few selected dealers. A lot of speeches are made on the register of “we have the best for the rider”, and “together we are going to achieve greater success”, but still nothing concrete about this new alliance marketing, products or dealers strategy. It’s difficult for me to believe that Harley-Davidson doesn’t have a planned strategy. But which one? Using only MV Agusta has a source of revenue? Mixing American & Italian bikes on the show floor just to increase distribution? I doubt on both. Building a new Harley branded high-performance sport motorcycles using MV Agusta technology? It’s where I lean and what I hope. But Harley should act fast not waiting that generation X get hooked to other brands and proposing a product in the very low 10’s. And now, what’s going to happen to Buell? Any idea? (left to right: Chairman Claudio Castiglioni, CEO & President Jim Ziemer, Managing Director Matt Levatich).