On the credit side, Harley picks up both the MV Agusta and Cagiva brands. The American motorcycling giant said the acquisition would allow it to expand in Europe, where Harley-Davidson sales last year climbed 15%. MV Agusta is owned by the Castiglioni family and Claudio Castiglioni will remain as company chairman. ''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. "We take enormous pride in MV Agusta and Cagiva motorcycles,'' said Castiglioni. ''Our riders seek an uncompromising experience in premium performance motorcycles. And with Harley David- son's deep understanding of the emotional as well as the business side of motorcycling, I have great confidence that our motorcycles will excite customers for generations to come,'' he added.
According to Ziemer, the acquisition is primarily intended to expand Harley-Davidson presence in Europe. MV Agusta Group has two families of motorcycles: a line of exclusive, premium, high-performance sport motorcycles sold under the MV Agusta brand, and a line of lightweight motorcycles sold under the Cagiva brand. MV Agusta's F4-R motorcycle, powered by a 1078cc in-line four-cylinder liquid cooled engine, is rated at 190hp. The company sells its products through about 500 dealers worldwide, the vast majority of them in Europe. In 2007, MVAG shipped 5,819 motorcycles.
During 2008 MVAG has significantly slowed production due to financial difficulties. Harley-Davidson, Inc. plans to continue to operate MV Agusta Group from its headquarters based in Varese, Italy. Following closing, the first priority will be to appoint a leadership team to include a new Managing Director and to resume the manufacture of current models. In its statement, Harley-Davidson said the acquisition was expected to take in several weeks. 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 Agusta becoming the main brand. MV Agusta produces a line of exclusive, premium, high-performance sport motorcycles while Cagiva makes lightweight motorcycles.