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For those who don't know, I am a dealer for MV Agusta, as well as Ducati and Husqvarna in California. I am writing this to hopefully put at ease all the worry-bugs, nay-sayers, and drama-queens. :stickpoke

I will kill some wrong rumors, present facts and give you my opinion of MV Agusta's condition. I just returned from Europe where i rode a Brutale for 2 weeks and I visited the factory and had lunch and a long conversation with MV's director of sales Umberto Uccio that afternoon.

Fact 1: MV Agusta USA is operational and it has never seized to operate. MV Agusta USA is no longer run by Ferracci i.e Larry Ferracci and Matt Stutzman. Ferracci's contract wth the factory expired in June and the factory chose not to renew the contract with Ferracci. Instead they hired Rob Keith to run MV Agusta USA. Rob Keith has worked for Husqvarna for many years. He in fact was the general manager for Husqvarna in the US when Ferracci distributed that brand also before it was sold to BMW. Prior to Husqvarna, Rob Keith worked for Ducati.
Why the change, you ask? According to Uccio, it was a fiscal decision. Ferracci charged the factory what they felt was too much money to run the distribution. Going with Rob Keith apparently saves the factory millions of dollars. This will free up funds to do other thing in the US such as increased marketing and for the factory to hopefully run a profitable US operation, which apparently it hadn't been in the past. "We had to stop the bleeding" as Uccio put it.

Fact 2: The parts system has undergone a re-structuring. In the past we ordered parts from the US warehouse. We only had visibility of inventory in the US and availability was limited. If parts weren't available in ythe US. The distributor had to order them from the factory, getting them shipped, inventory it into the US warehouse, pull the order and then ship it to the dealer.
With the new system we are are ordering parts directly from the factory in Italy. We know have access and visibility to factory parts inventory. This tremendously improves availability. Ducati did the same a few years back and it has been working very well.
However, during the transition to the new systemsome hick-ups and delays have to be expected. As of last week we are receiving parts with this new system. Some small issues still need to be ironed out but within a couple months it'll be smooth sailing.

Fact 3: The F3 is the most beautiful bike to be produced in a long time. Pictures of it are great but seeing it in person is almost incomprehensible. I really really tried to find any flaws but I couldn't. From every possible angle it is jaw-droppingly georgeous!!! It is worth every minute you have to wait for it! I saw the Oro version and it looks incredibly rich with all the magnesium and carbon parts. I did not see the standard version. Pricing for the US is not yet determined and the bike should be available in the US next spring. The delay for US deliveries is usually due to the US homologation agencies (EPA, DOT, CARB) taking their sweet time with the approval process.

I also got a sneek peek of the B3 Brutale but I am not at liberty to disclose anything about it. But it does exist albeit in definite pre-production form.

State of MV Agusta: Compared to the last time I was there a few years ago, the mood at the factory is upbeat and excited. The feeling of uncertainty that was there is gone. That was true with everyone I talked to. The company is in better financial condition than it has been in a long time. According to Uccio, MV Agusta currently has zero debt. What struck me was that while they are as passionate about their bikes as ever, there is the constant sense of fiscal responsibility. They seem very caucious about where and when to spend money and there expectations and projections seem very reasonable and achievable. This puts me very much at ease as past management spent money as if they had a printing press in the back of the building.

The US market: The biggest challenge is the extremely competitive environment in the US. Bikes sell in the US for less than anywhere else in the world. To even stand a chance, the bikes must be priced accordingly. This makes it very difficult for a small volume manufacturer to turn a profit. In addition, the US market is much more conservative than the European market for example and for exotic brands it takes more marketing efforts to sell the same volume in the US. To put this into perspective, last year MV retailed in the US, a country with a population of roughly 300 million people, about 100 motorcycles. In Switzerland, a 8 million people country, they sold about 300 bikes!! Going with the new, less costly US distributor will hopefully free up some funds for better marketing of the MV Agusta brand that is so desperately needed.

After meeting with the MV folks, I truly feel that while MV is experiencing some temporary interruptions and issues, they are putting all the right pieces in place to ensure the survival and growth of the company in the future. The line up of new models, some of which Uccio hinted to me about but didn't tell me what it was, and their previously absent fiscal responsibility are just the main indicators among others that MV Agusta is indeed on the way up.
 

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It is glad to hear something good! I know every company goes through transitions and tough times, but all the MV bashing on here was starting to get a little annoying.
Can't wait to see a F3 in person!
 

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That is very good to hear, excellent! Some things from my other post are now clear, thank you Balz. Let's hope they will stay out of(financial) trouble now and produce some fine bikes.
 

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Thanks for sharing Balz :)

Sounds very positive. Very similar to what our Troop experienced while there.

MV financial backers would like this kind of talk :smoking:

Makes me want to be a part of their success story, in a way :popcorn:
 

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Hi Crash2much,

Good to read that, as a colleague-dealer, you get the same impression from MV as we do. We haven't had the possibility to visit the factory quite as recently as you have, but we were there on a dealer meeting earlier this spring and came back with the same impression. They are optimistic and very happy with the current and future model range but also very down to earth and realistic as to their financial situation. It felt really reassuring and motivating. In Holland and Belgium, we've been receiving parts directly for a few years now, and it works just fine!

Overall we're happy to be part of the club that is evolving in the right direction.
:f4:
 

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Thanks for the update.
Nothing like a fact-based opinion on the matter.
Glad to know things are moving forward with MV.
Daniel
 

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Thanks for taking the time to post that detailed feedback. If you type as slowly as me that must have taken about half an hour.....
Your time and input is much appreciated.
 

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The US market: The biggest challenge is the extremely competitive environment in the US. Bikes sell in the US for less than anywhere else in the world. To even stand a chance, the bikes must be priced accordingly. This makes it very difficult for a small volume manufacturer to turn a profit. In addition, the US market is much more conservative than the European market for example and for exotic brands it takes more marketing efforts to sell the same volume in the US. To put this into perspective, last year MV retailed in the US, a country with a population of roughly 300 million people, about 100 motorcycles. In Switzerland, a 8 million people country, they sold about 300 bikes!! Going with the new, less costly US distributor will hopefully free up some funds for better marketing of the MV Agusta brand that is so desperately needed.
Well....Marketing might be one of the things the US market needs...but I would argue, the whole marketing in the world cannot make the biggest issue with MV in America disappear: The missing dealer network. If you look at the dealer distribution, I would argue that nearly 80% of the dealers are concentrated on a very small part of the overall USA. Granted, some of these places are where the crowds live and thus provide you with many buyers.

However, you cannot reach the said 300 million with that. While it is hard for a small production company to establish a dealer network over such a big country - especially given the competitive pricing - it is the path to success. Most people cannot justify driving 5+ hours to get work done on their motorcycle. As I will repeat myself here...the closest dealer for me is 6 hours away (at least since I last checked the website) which is simply impractical to say the least.

Since I do love the F3 quite a lot, I am currently thinking of not only buying the bike, but also a new car plus trailer so that I can actually trailer it to the dealer. I know that not everybody is in the same situation but it shows that I am willing to go way out in order to ride a bike....others may simply call me stupid for doing it as each time I need service, it will actually be a 2-day affair for me.

And that's for a city that is the 17th largest in the whole country in 2010....

Marketing helps with selling bikes.....but dealerships are the ones that keep them running....and that's 99.9% of the overall lifetime of a motorcycle.
 

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Great info...thanks, Balz!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Andreas,

The dealer network or lack thereof is on of the very points Umberto Uccio adressed. He is painfully aware that this is one of the very issues they are looking to tackle pretty quickly with the new US distributor.
At the same time MV's brand awareness needs to be improved and it's image of a super-exclusive unaffordable manufacturer. You'd be surprised how many people (even Ducati people) that come thru my store haven't got a clue what a MV Agusta is. And of the ones who do, a large portion are under the impression that every MV Agusta costs $50k or more. There is a LOT of misconception about MV Agusta out there. And in retail as in most industries, perception equals reality.

It was much to my surprise hearing Uccio mention that the factory did not know nearly enough about what was going on in the US market. With the new distributor who is working directly for the factory, communication will be constant and the US market and its issues or challenges will be much more transparent to the factory.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to post that detailed feedback. If you type as slowly as me that must have taken about half an hour.....
Your time and input is much appreciated.
U kiddin' ???? More like 2 hours...!!!!
I can ride a motorcycle okay but my typing skills are sensationally bad!!:)
 

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I knew the contract with Larry Ferraci had expired; you have answered the questions I had of who would take over.

Very good report. I look forward to the expanded dealer network and increased marketing and sales in the US....

Thanks for clearing everything up.
 

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good to hear about what mv is finally doing.

you can't really blame a lot of us that are "not in the know" because well dealers closing up, no emails or calls from mv usa being returned, etc how can you not think the worst at best?

i do like what i hear from you about mv finally trying to figure out what to do. with any luck they will be as successfull as ducati in marketing their brand.

you are right very few really know what mv is at all, but you mention ducati to a lot of lay people they know that its italian and probably expensive. basically mv is where ducati used to be about 10-15 years ago, thought of as nothing but uber expensive superbikes that nobody but the rich could afford. well that is what mv is thought of if even people know about it.

hope mv takes a page out of the ducati book and tries to market their bikes better by putting them in movies and such so that the name gets out there and such, and they come up with a more affordable entry bike for them so that they can finally compete with the other brands, the flagship models will always be there, but they really need to find something to hook people onto the brand to begin with and the flagship models will still move.
 

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Excellent report!! Thank you!!
 
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