Italy is facing crisis. In the news almost daily, the dire economic situation of the world's 8th largest economy is crushing the country. There is talk of default, of exiting the Euro and the government of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi survives by a thread with political instability the new normal. Violent riots in Rome, the collapse of consumer financing options and a domestic scooter market in free fall add to the malaise, making selling exotic motorcycles seem like an anathema. Almost symbolically, Italy's great motorcycle racing hero Valentino Rossi now riding for Ducati, has failed spectacularly to fulfill the collective dream of winning a Grand Prix world championship on an Italian bike. It is not all bad news, though.

With EICMA, Italy's famous international motorcycle industry event less than a month away, everyone in the powered two wheel sector is anxiously preparing for the future. As the leading trade show in the business, brands, marketeers, engineers and distributors will be looking for novelty, confidence and opportunities among the world's leading OEMs. Of all the companies that turn out in Milan each year to present their wares, none are more anticipated than the local Italian brands. In the motorcycle universe, names like Aprilia, BimotaMV Agusta, Moto-Guzzi, and Vespa have come to mean all that is desirable to a western public largely attracted by the motorcycle's promise of escapism. Each year, they come and put on a show filled with exotic machinery, bold promises, motorcycle celebrities and beautiful models designed to wow the industry and public alike, assuage investors and excite motorcyclists everywhere. Italy is, after all, long established in the minds of many in the world as the epicentre of design and fashion, and the leader in motorized exotica on both two and four wheels.

Italy has achieved this prestigious position of global importance in the motorcycle industry as a result of careful cultivation by a number of brands, not least of which is brand Italy itself. The country, through its many privately run luxury brands in every industry from fashion to exotic cars and exotic foods, to public efforts to elevate Italy as the last word in elegance, craftsmanship and personal experience have largely succeeded. Today, even amid great uncertainty and with an economy facing the abyss, brand Italy wears the rare glow of desirability so sought by industries around the world.

For today's motorcycle industry, Italy presents a tantalizing opportunity. Filled with top shelf manufacturers and suppliers and a workforce with decades of specialty experience seeking sales and work, companies at all levels of interest in the motorcycle sector are finding that made in Italy can bring outstanding value as well as prestige, quality and growth potential. The following is a special report by Amarok Consultants on the state of the industry in Italy, from an industrial history including past growth and success factors, to a present day analysis of working conditions, key players, recent government and private activity and sales and output data. Italy: The world's favourite motorcycle brand.

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