VARESE, Italy – Since Harley-Davidson closed the deal on the MV Agusta purchase, company leadership has worked to polish the Italian organization in three major areas: the restart of production, development of a broader model range, and growing its dealer base.
“Our initial focus has been on the production line, and we’re doing very nicely getting to our planned daily production rates,” Matt Levatich told Dealernews at the MV Agusta factory Thursday. Levatich, after having served in a variety of roles for H-D in the United States and Europe, was tapped to serve as president and managing director of MV Agusta Motor SpA. Only two employees came to work at MV Agusta from the Harley-Davidson operation in the United States. Levatich is one of them; the other is Gene Gazzetti, who’s running the manufacturing and the supply chains.
Matt Levatich, president & managing director, MV Agusta, is working closely with Claudio Castiglioni, the Godfather of MV Agusta.
Levatich says MV is in a similar rebirth position to what H-D was in the early 1990s following the employee takeover. He says MV employees worked through August and September to restart production and fulfill orders that had been coming in from throughout the world. The first bikes under H-D ownership rolled off the line Sept. 29. Now, the company is producing about 30 bikes per day.
“Product development is a second major project area,” Levatich said. “We’re putting a pretty significant emphasis on product development.”
How will MV Agusta and Cagiva jive with the Buell brand? “They’re a very different product, yet absolutely complimentary,” Levatich says. “We don’t want to be chasing the same customers. Buell has established itself in a unique position in the streetfighter arena, and there’s segmentation based on price.”
As for the Cagiva brand, which produces only two 125cc models – the Mito and Raptor – Levatich says the brand’s options are unlimited. “Do we develop a line of small displacement models? Off-road bikes? Cagiva could be a lot of things. Still, our immediate plan is to focus on MV. Thereafter, we’ll see what we want to do with Cagiva. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the business.”
The third immediate target for MV is dealer development and the fine-tuning of the distribution system, which, according to Levatich, “also is among the most important ingredients to the new operation.” (Continued)