is part of the Cagiva Group (along with Husqvarna motorcycles),
controlled by Claudio Castiglioni, the man who helped bring Ducati
from the brink of extinction before selling off his interests
to Texas Pacific Group. Castiglioni had nearly cemented a deal
with scooter manufacturer Piaggio that would have brought in some
much needed capital, but the merger fell apart last year, sending
Cagiva, MV and Husky into a tailspin.
Castiglioni signed a deal with Banca Intesa earlier this year
(which held most of the company's considerable debt, thought to
be in the neighborhood of $75 million) that infuses the company
with nearly $25 million and freezes existing debts for up to two
years, giving the company time to resume production of back-ordered
bikes. Court-appointed officials will oversee operations for the
next three years.
The target for this year is to produce 24,000 motorcycles divided
between the three brands. Castiglioni says that this figure won’t
be difficult to achieve due to the introduction of new models
for each of the three brands. Production of 2-stroke Huskys began
in January, followed by the much-heralded twin-cam 4-strokes that
had been delayed. A total of 15,000 Huskys are scheduled to cross
the production lines this year.
of the long-awaited MV Agusta Brutale is finally underway, and
the factory is scheduled to deliver 1700 of the streetfighters.
At the same time, the 148-hp MV F4 SPR and the exclusive MV F4
Ago commemorative models are being built. It is expected that
3800 MVs will roll off assembly lines by the end of the year.
In addition, Castiglioni expects to sell nearly 5000 Cagiva Raptors
and Navigators, both powered by versions of Suzuki's 650cc and
I'll save you the math and tell you that adds up to 24,000 units
total for the Cagiva Group, which will be outstanding if the relatively
small Italian workforce can pull it off. Castiglioni has said
the company has firm orders for the bikes and that they are effectively
pre-sold. Castiglioni also expects 2004 production to "increase
substantially" with the company's plan to hire more workers.
This year is important for the Cagiva Group in more ways than
just the resumption of production. It is also the 100th anniversary
of Husqvarna and the 25th anniversary of Cagiva. As such, Husky
will produce 1000 "Centenario" enduro models that will
be tricked out with magnesium engine cases and carbon fiber bodywork.
Engineered by Ducati Monster designer Miguel Galluzzi, the Centenarios
will be fitted with Husky's 510cc 4-stroke engine and should be
available in September.
Even more radical are the plans for Cagiva's 25th birthday. Castiglioni
has said Cagiva will construct 25 exact replicas its last 500cc
Grand Prix bike! To be built by the same workers who built the
bike in 1994, they will be identical in every way to the bikes
that John Kocinski and Doug Chandler raced, the former coming
in third in that year's world championship. It was the only European
bike to ever beat Japanese bikes in 500cc GP competition, and
production is expected to begin in September for those with really
Also, look for the MV F4 "Mille" to debut at the Milan
show this fall. Powered by a 1000cc (hence the name, Italian for
one thousand) four-cylinder engine, the new MV is scheduled to
enter production in late-2003. Castiglioni has said the Mille
won't look much different than the 750cc version, but it will
crank out 180 crankshaft horsepower in street-legal trim, revving
to nearly 14,000 rpm!