Mercedes Has No Plans of Taking Over MV Agusta
Mercedes-Benz’s recent acquisition of a 25-percent stake in Italian bike manufacturer MV Agusta will remain at that, so says Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche. Speaking at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, Zetsche shot down rumors that Mercedes was trying to acquire more of MV Agusta’s private stock. As far as the German automaker is concerned, what it bought for a reported €30 million back in October 2014 was enough to its liking.
According to Zetsche, Mercedes’ purchase of MV Agusta shares was done more to create a collaborative cross-branding strategy between AMG and the bike brand since the two seem to complement each other quite nicely. However, the Mercedes CEO indicated that Mercedes won’t meddle in the affairs of MV Agusta because, in his own words, “MV Agusta can do it better than us.”
The strategy is a far cry from what Audi did when it purchased Ducati for $1.1 billion (or was it Lamborghini that actually bought it?), something Zetsche was also quick to point out. It’s also important to remember that Mercedes previously had a similar cross-marketing partnership with Ducati but when the latter was acquired by Audi, that experiment ultimately ended.
Mercedes wanted to avoid a repeat scenario so instead of just tying up with a bike brand for marketing purposes, the acquisition of the MV Agusta shares could spook out another automaker who may want to jump in with MV Agusta.
Just don’t look for Mercedes to follow in Audi’s footsteps and buys MV Agusta altogether. In Zetsche’s eyes, the current set-up works because it gives Mercedes access to MV Agusta’s technology while also keeping its distance to let the bike brand breathe and live on its own.
Click past the jump to read more about Mercedes’ acquisition of MV Agusta.
Why it matters
There are two ways to look at Zetsche’s comments. On one hand, MV Agusta will continue to operate as a majority-owned Italian brand. Believe it or not, that’s a kind of thing that brand enthusiasts take really seriously. Sure, Mercedes has a stake in the company but ultimately, MV Agusta is still responsible for its own name. That’s a win for loyalists who want the company to stick to its own roots.
On the flip side, a complete turnover to Mercedes would’ve given MV Agusta the complete financial stability it still lacks, despite the German automaker’s stock purchase and the recent investments made by SACE and BPM. The bike brand still has a long way to go to establish itself as a mainstream brand, which is something that would’ve been made easier if it were part of the Daimler umbrella. But since the deal was struck the way it was, MV Agusta will have to work to prove itself to bring a better future for the company.
As far as Mercedes goes, it’s worth noting that the rumored price of the acquisition is a little dent to its own finances. It’s a good place to be in, especially if MV Agusta can rise up and become a major player in the bike industry. If it doesn’t pan out, Merc doesn’t stand to lose a whole lot in the big picture.
So the ball’s in your court, MV Agusta. Let’s see how you can handle it.