MV Agusta is putting those new cash investments to work, expanding its dealer network in the United States by 20 percent.
In January, I wrote about MV Agusta's double influx of cash, which came from investments from both Mercedes Benz and an Italian financial group. In February, MV Agusta hosted a group of journalists at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for a presentation about the company's plans for all that money and to demo a few of their bikes.
Throughout the presentation, MV Agusta USA's new CEO, Helen Vasilevski, spoke at length about plans to expand the business and grow annual sales to 20,000 motorcycles. (MV Agusta sold 3,650 in 2010 and 9,200 in 2014.) The United States, along with Brazil and Asia, is one of the main places they're looking to make that growth, and the plan is to do it by increasing the dealer network, improving the level and speed of technical and maintenance support, and improving the bikes' overall quality.
I didn't write about the event at the time because... well, because I'm lazy. More accurately, other things came up and it was a week or two before I had time to sit and write something that wasn't timely news or a bike review. That, and I didn't feel it was worth your time to read about a cool day I had where I didn't learn much, besides what a company "planned" to do, and where I rode some bikes just long enough to know I wanted to ride them more, or where I learned about the MV Agusta F4 RC — which I was then sworn to secrecy about. I had some ideas kicking around, and then Jensen over at Asphalt & Rubber wrote an incredible piece about the day and, while I normally don't like to shine a light on other sites, it's a great read and I knew I couldn't really add much.
Now, there's more follow-up on the promises made in February.
MV Agusta USA has announced that nine new dealerships have been added to their network in California, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Texas and Utah (see the full list of worldwide dealers here). My impression of Helen Vasilevski was that she seems really smart. With a background both in the powersports world and big business (she also worked for Proctor & Gamble and Diageo Liquor), she fully understands that simply increasing the numbers of dealerships with an MV Agusta in back wouldn't be enough.
Those dealers will also have to provide quality tech service and will need support from a reliable pipeline of parts. I can speak from experience when I say that the new MV Agusta dealer in my part of the country, Newport Italian, is a great dealer and the perfect guys to start carrying the brand.
Maintenance and tech support
During their presentation, MV claimed that their goal was to have a master tech at each MV Agusta dealer within 18 months. From the few friends I know with MVs, I've heard that parts support has gotten much better, and I know that's one of the main areas they were looking to improve. This latest press release claims further changes have been made as a part of their proactive effort to increase parts availability, though it isn't like we haven't heard that from brands before.
2015 MV Agusta motorcycle quality
While I didn't get nearly enough time on the bikes that day at Auto Club Speedway to give you any sort of real review (the event was held at a track because the units hadn't been registered yet, and we only rode two, street-speed laps on each unit), I can tell you that the bikes were miles ahead of what I expected. The Brutale 800 RR and 675 absolutely blew my mind with spot-on fueling, incredible powerbands, and near-perfect handling. Not nearly the issues I've heard of needing fuel re-mapping and suspension issues.
The real question
I went into that first presentation a skeptic and walked out a believer. I heard claims of how MV was an uber premium brand, competing with and at times topping the likes of Ducati and Aprilia, and I thought it was all bullshit until 300 yards into my first ride on an MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR. Many of these motorcycle companies remind me of working in education (I was a teacher in my past life), where the good ol' boys rise to the top and the entire industry ignores both common sense and the techniques proven in big business. I think Vasilevski is the right person to bring MV Agusta to life in the United States, and the only question now is will they be able to change public perception and convince people they can spend their hard earned money on a new MV Agusta before their money runs out.
The good news is that Vasilevski now tells me that press units should be available for evaluation shortly, which means we can finally get to the bottom of the Street Triple/Brutale 675 and Monster/Brutale 800 debate.