Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Even in Australia an interest in the Italian Scooter Market.

Cool article I found that just got posted online on the situation in Italy. As of today there is no news from the factory. MRP continues to buy parts, the parts export manager Silvia has reported to us that plenty of parts for the Malaguti lineup is still available and the new "Parts Only" company seems to be taking shape.

Ducati seems to be asleep at the wheel without any interest in buying the Italian brand. From what my friends at Ducati tell me they rather buy or manufacture a less expensive scooter model in Thailand or Malaysia and sell it in those markets only, simply giving up on the European scooter market.

As I reported yesterday the Spanish government is taking steps to prevent the last Spanish factory that assembles scooters from closing. There are a few dirtbike, enduro, and motard makers such as Reiju and MH, but none on the large sub-125cc scooter segment. The last factory is the Derbi factory which has been scheduled for closure next month.

Italian scooter industry dwindling
Apart from the Piaggio Group, only Malaguti Moto still makes scooters in Italy, but is facing tough times ahead...

Italy used to be a bastion of scooter design and production, but we're seeing more Chinese companies investing in manufacturing plants and being licensed to build European scooters to save costs. Apart from the Piaggio Group and Malaguti Moto, few Italian scooters are actually built in Italy anymore.
While Piaggio is not in danger of collapse, with strong brands such as Vespa, Piaggio, Gillera, and Aprilia under its umbrella, Malaguti Moto is looking precarious.
While we don't see many Malaguti scooters in Australia, and few are sold outside of Europe, the company has resisted moving its manufacturing plants to China, where Benelli, Italjet and other brands are currently produced.
Malaguti is bleeding money however, and is currently looking for partners to invest in its operation, and rumour has it that interest is coming from both Italy and North America. But the Italian scooter maker is unlikely to find any suitors to bail it out if two of the family owners, brothers Marco and Antonino Malaguti, insist on charging a potential new management team to rent their land, upon which the Malaguti Moto factory is located.
The stipulations that are being put on any merger or bailout package deal for Malaguti Moto appear to be turning off many investors, and news reports from inside Italy suggest that the company is seeking around $30 million, one third of which is reportedly to go directly to the owner brothers.
Several Italian motorcycle companies have gone belly up or sold off in recent times and industry has seen more prosperous times, but the fall of Malaguti will have ramifications for not only the Bolognese motorcycle industry (it is located not far from Ducati's headquarters) but also parts suppliers in the region.
There were rumours that Ducati might buy the company, because Malaguti has the exclusive contract to build Ducati-branded scooters for the MotoGP paddock, and Ducati has in the past expressed interest in promoting scooters. However the company has denied any interest in Malaguti, which may struggle to find a way out of its financial turmoil.


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