Benelli slashes production, faces uncertain future

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“The recent plan was to produce 5000 bikes this year, but we couldn’t achieve it,” says Benelli’s head of PR. The company has slashed 2009 production to somewhere below 1,000 units. Many of the company’s 100 staff are working part time, receiving government-subsidized salaries. Dealers around the world are stuck with stocks of unsold bikes. Benelli is facing a new financial crisis despite being purchased by giant Chinese scooter maker Qiang Jiang just four years ago. It’s possible that its owner could fold the brand or move production to China.
>
In March, Qiang Jiang invested a further $26 million in Benelli, but
that hasn’t paid off in short term sales results. The company offers a
range of three-cylinder superbikes, nakeds and even an adventure tourer
and has plans to introduce new parallel-twin bikes led by the Benelli
Due 756
.

“The Chinese owners understand the problems and there will be meetings soon to decide Benelli’s future.” We’ll keep you posted.

via Visordown

  • DoctorNine

    These are really great bikes, and I would highly recommend riding them to anyone considering a low-volume, unique machine. The problem is that, in the current economy, people who might move up-market from a Triumph or Ducati, are instead staying put, or actually moving down-market. I think if they can hang in there for another couple quarters, things are likely to get much better. He’s hoping that they can weather the storm…

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Agreed, they’re really neat bikes and that triple is a blast, wayyyyy more oomph than a triumph.

  • Aaron

    Maybe I’m an isolated case but I tried to buy one two years ago, couldn’t find a dealer on the Eastern seaboard with a single one in stock, no clear answers on how long it would take to order one or what the final price would be and no service and support network that I could find AT ALL in the US.

    So I bought a Buell and I’m very happy with it. Benelli may make fantastic bike but if barely anybody knows who you are and the people who do can’t buy your product you’re not going to last with so many other options out there.

    I know they are better known in Europe but America is a much more viable market for high-end bikes that people buy as toys rather than as transportation.

  • Ben(pi)

    If anybody is looking for a new 2005 Benelli Tornado 900, I know where one is available. This was the last year before the chinese ownership, which, in my opinion, is what has killed the company. Not so much the fact that it’s owned by the Chinese (they have the capital to try and keep them afloat), but it removes the Italian penache when people find out that the company is now Chinese. A shame really, as they’re a ton of fun, and pretty to look at.

  • meatspin

    sorry, but the bikes are ugly. What were Qiang Jiang thinking trying to do business with an italian company?

  • http://www.mc-addict.com HansPS

    American ownership didn’t take the Italian penache away from Ducati – why should Chinese ownership do so with Benelli? They’re just the money – not the soul afaic. Let’s hope they’ll stay in the loop.

    • Wardt1

      Do you mean Harley-Davidson purchasing MV Agusta? and yes, it did take away a little (but certainly not all) of their Italian penache.

      • http://www.mc-addict.com HansPS

        I was actually thinking of when Texas Pacific Group bought Ducati back in the ’90s. But Harley buying into MV Agusta is perhaps a better example of the same thing. Harley used to own another Italian brand, Aermacchi, in the ’70s. Didn’t fare too well though. Let’s hope this 2nd chance does it.

  • Anthro

    If the company had a program to work with owners fixing recalls and etc. while building dealer network I would be more easy about spending my earnings on a Benelli.

    The package is great, the looks is great to me and at least un-usual for everybody… but how can I buy a Tornado when a common under-warranty fix is engine replacement, then the electronics will get you bad…

    Anthro