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Zetsche sees significant AMG-MV Agusta synergies

Daimler will launch cross-marketing activities between its Mercedes-AMG performance division and motorcycle maker MV Agusta, CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

The marketing tie-up between Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta will replace a similar relationship Daimler had with Ducati, an Italian motorcycle company acquired by Volkswagen Group’s Audi division.

Zetsche sees great potential for cross-marketing with MV Agusta, a legendary name in motorcycle racing after winning at least 75 world championship rider and constructor titles.

The profiles of customers who buy AMG’s high-performance cars and MV Agusta’s superbikes are very similar, Zetsche said on the sidelines of the launch of the new Smart ForFour and ForTwo cars here.

Daimler said on Oct. 31 that it would buy a 25 percent stake in MV Agusta via its AMG unit and take a seat on the motorcycle company’s board.

Zetsche said Daimler’s link with MV Agusta has the same potential for cross-marketing the company had with Ducati before that tie-up ended abruptly in July 2012 when Audi acquired Ducati for  €860 million. He said Mercedes won’t become a motorcycle manufacturer, nor will it decide which engines MV Agusta bikes will use.

Daimler has not disclosed the financial terms of the MV Agusta stake acquisition. It also has not given details of planned sales and marketing synergies.

MV Agusta motorcycles likely will soon be sold in selected AMG performance centers, sources told ANE. AMG has 260 performance centers around the world.

MV Agusta has a product portfolio of three- and four-cylinder motorcycles with engines sizes from 675cc to 1100cc, priced from €7,000  to  €18,000 in Italy.

The company was founded in 1945 as Meccanica Verghera Agusta. It nearly disappeared in the 1970s because of financial problems and has had several owners including Harley-Davidson and Malaysia’s state-owned carmaker Proton.

Motorcycle entrepreneur Claudio Castiglioni, who revived the company in 1992 with renowned designer Massimo Tamburini, bought it back in 2010 shortly before he died. It is now run by his son, Giovanni Castiglioni.

The company employs 260 people at its headquarters in Samarate, northwest of Milan.