"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.