Just yesterday did I upchuck a thought about my Aprilia for the 2004 Shoot-out - and today this. Get Bush to pay the measely 147mil needed. Oh, wait, I forgot, US politicians (Arnie excluded) prefer to drive over rather than with motorcyclists...
I agree with Sean in that it is more likely that somebody will take over Aprilia (and it's assets: Ducati is showing interest in Moto Guzzi). This may well come from a non-motorcycle company (automotive?), just like MV Agusta recently.
On the other hand, if production stops my bike will be like a Norton in a couple of years, a collectors item ($$$). Ok, a couple of decades...
The Japanese use their cruiser sales to underwrite the sportbike lines as well I'd betcha. If the cruiser sales ever tank then expect to see the racing efforts reduced, sportbike prices rise and far fewer sportbike redesigns.
I had a couple more years of saving to do for my Tuono. Will the Brutale be around when I have the cash together? Anybody know financially how sound MV is? There go my hopes for a Laverda Jota revival. BTW, how are U.S. scooter sales doing now that gas is the price of milk?
Why would anyone get upset about a demise of a brand name? If a particularly good model gets axed (say, Valkyrie) thats bad news or would be if there wasnt a large second hand market where they are still available. Keen on brands? Go buy a Gucci handbag.
Re: again the HD faithfull refuse to admit that change is possible
Joey Bagadoghnuts would love that ST4! If I sold the ZX9, I might just pick up that ST from ya. In the meantime, I'm amusing myself with V-Boost and bad handling. At least I have a Ducati dealer 3 blocks from my house for parts.
Is this a real surprise? Beggio was spending money he didn't have faster than the U.S. government! With R&D, acquisitions, a run at Moto GP (when they should have focused on their competitve superbike) and a host of other frivolous practices, the well was sure to run dry sooner rather than later.
According to the Italian magazine Motocliclismo (see http://www.motociclismo.it/edisport...F3EE02AE8C12C719C1256E83003344B6?OpenDocument for those who read my mother tongue), 650 employees (+ 260 in Mandello) are in "cassa integrazione (a purely Italian custom: Workers at home at some fraction of their salary paid by the Government), Beggio has already resigned, while, as hinted in several posts above, the Aprilia group is likely to be split: Ducati would like to acquire Moto Guzzi (at a discount wrt their 2000 offer, when they were outbid by Beggio), Rotax-Bombardier are interested in the motorcycle sector, Piaggio (perhaps, who knows?) in the scooter sector (as they already provide some 4-stroke engines for scooters) , while the BMW people seem interested only in the production of the 2006 650 in Noale, but not on any acquisition of capital assetts. That's what I could find out in the Italian press.
Aprilia's future uncertain as bond coupon date draws near (Aprilia, tempi stretti per cercare liquidita)
Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy; Apr 27, 2004
The plight of Aprilia, the troubled Italian producer of motor scooters and motorcycles, was raised with the Italian government yesterday by trade union FIM-CISL, which requested a ministerial roundtable on the problem. Trade union representative Michele Zanocco said yesterday that the company is highly exposed but is not in a desperate position, with 220m euros of debt as compared with a 580m-euro turnover. The group has a well-known brand and operates in a market that is growing by 16 to 17 per cent per year, he said.
Production has stopped at Aprilia's plants because of lack of funds to pay suppliers, and the group is due to repay a 7.5m-euro coupon on a 100m-euro bond on May 3, but risks default due to its poor liquidity. The group has asked a group of seven banks to re-open a 14m-euro credit line which was recently closed, and to provide an additional 30m-euro bridge loan. The banks have given little response so far, but they are expected to hold talks with the company tomorrow. Rival Italian motor scooter group Piaggio has expressed interest in Aprilia after its chief executive, Ivano Beggio, said he would be willing to take on new partners, but Piaggio would like to first see a business plan. Meanwhile, motorcycle maker Ducati has expressed interest in buying Aprilia's motorcycle subsidiary Moto Guzzi, but the timescale of such plans will not resolve the Aprilia's present cash crisis.
So much then for the RSV450. Maaaan, that would have been one helluva sweet ride. Small like a 250 at 300lbs, with a thumping new v-twin putting down about 70-80hp. Now what am I going to lust after while I save my pennies? I hadn't been so excited about a rumored bike since, since, well sheeyit man, I just don't know. Don't get me wrong, the 600s and liter bikes of the world sure are sweet, but at the moment they're just too much bike for my skill level. Damn. The RSV450 would have been just perfect. Life sucks.
Need I remind everyone that manufacturing is a tough to often a nearly impossible way to make money. Why do you think manufacturing has shed 3 million jobs in the US the last 4 years, which is kind of an exclaimation point on a 40 year trend? It is incredibly difficult to make a good product. It so much easier to make huge money by purely financial means that the best people all over the first world have abondoned manufacturing.
These things come to a head every time because of debt. The day comes when some sort of default happens, and that's that.
The amount of debt in every sector of the world economy including manufacturing is staggering. Ford is for all practial purposes bankrupt. They have $22 in debt for every dollar in real equity.
Anyone taking over Aprilla or parts of it will add more debt. I suppose there are willing takers since there always seem to be, for now. Someday, perhaps soon, the money will run out. Take a good look at Aprilla people because it just another canary in the mine shaft.
Ducati to make offer for Moto Guzzi (Ducati punta a Moto Guzzi)
Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy; Apr 23, 2004
Italian motorcycle producer Ducati announced yesterday that it was interested in buying fellow Italian producer Moto Guzzi from its cash-strapped owner, Italian motor scooter and motorcycle group Aprilia. Ducati said that it will make a formal offer in the next few weeks, then proceed with due diligence. Ducati's share price closed at 1.318 euros yesterday, down by 0.23 per cent.
Aprilia, which originally bought Moto Guzzi for 132bn euros, registered sales of 538m euros in 2003, with a break-even result before one-time charges, and net debt of 220m euros on shareholders' equity of 76.5m. The group, which has stopped production due to lack of supplies, has applied to seven Italian creditor banks for a bridge loan, and yesterday appealed to the Italian government to intervene in the matter. Trade union sources say that the group needs about 30m euros in order to resume production.
I'm always sorry to see a brand go down. Unfortunately, Aprilia tried to climb too far, too fast. Indian built copies of Harleys. Aprilia tried to copy Ducati. Trying to copy someone else doesn't work unless you've got the expertise to do it better. I rode one of the early 1000s. My response was, "not bad, but no better than what the Japanese are producing." Did I think it could rival a Ducati in handling? In a word, no. Maybe the newer bikes are better, as I know Sean is in love with the Tuono. I trust his judgment. It's probably a great machine. But their first forays into the market were with non distinct bikes. I could not imagine spending the dollars required to mount an RSV when for a little more I could get a 996. Plus their dealer relations often sucked. Triumph has built very distinct triples, plus they have had the sense to reach back into their past and put out a true retro bike. Triumph did it right. Aprilia and Indian did it wrong. Guzzi will likely survive. They are truly unique bikes with a very loyal customer base and a unique feel. Still, I'm sad to see them go.