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It is that tough to be a profitable motorcycle manufacturer. You need someone with a sharp pencil, an eye on the bottom line, and the ability to realistically appraise what your brand name is worth in the real world. Triumph and Ducati are successful because they have these traits. BMW also knows how to run a business and continues to produce relevant bikes for the real world. In recent years, they have survived off the welfare checks from the car division, but that has changed. Their recent turn around was a result of their finally putting some spice into their enginering and adding models that will compete in real world terms, not just because they are BMWs.

Generally the Italians have trouble because they are poor managers. The MV Agusta range of bikes is excellent, but has anyone asked who will buy them? Cagiva makes some fine machines, but they can't really compete with Ducati, probably because when Cagiva owned Ducati, it was a money losing venture. Cagiva apparently has a poor management team, whereas the crowd at Ducati, headed by Federico Minoli, knows how to run a business, as well as how to build motorcycles. (I'm not saying Ducati is perfect, but anyone considering the purchase of a sport tourer really needs to go test ride an ST3, it kicks ass, and isn't even that expensive.)

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