Wednesday, August 24, 2011

R.I.P. Claudio Castiglioni

I wish I had the time to write this last Wednesday when I first read of the death of Claudio Castiglioni aged 63. Who was Claudio Castiglioni? I will always remember him as the business man come motorcycle enthusiast who...
  • With his brother rescued the Aermacchi motorcycle brand from Harley-Davidson in 1978 re-branding the company as CAGIVA.
  • Saved Ducati from bankruptcy in 1985 nurturing from a basket-case it into a World Superbike Championship wining company with a proud line up of models and massive improvements in quality and reliability.
  • Built a successful 500cc GP team that competed with distinction winning many races and reaching third in the world championship in 1994.
  • Resurrected the legendary MV Agusta brand in the early 1990's. MV's first gift to the world (in 1997) was the fantastic MV F4 superbike.
  • Had to sell the Ducati brand in 1996 due to financial difficulties. But thanks to the Castiglioni Ducati went on to become one of the most iconic brands in motorcycling.
  • Due to more financial problems, was forced to sell MV Agusta in 2004 to a Malaysian investment company for €70 million.
  • In 2006 Castiglioni was able to find an Italian investor to buy back MV Agusta for just €1.
  • After some years of being unable to find enough outside investment to launch new models MV was again sold to Harley-Davidson in 2008 for €70 million.
  • Harley-Davidson invested serious money into the brand only to be smacked by the 2009 recession. Harley, desperate to get rid of any non-core cost centers sold the entire MV Agusta brand back to... you know who, for €3. Hey that's 3-times more than the Malaysians got!
Now the MV brand seems to have the reinvestment it needed, no debts (thanks Harley) and one of the sexiest new motorcycles I have ever seen (the new F3) due to be launched this year.

What a story, what a lifetime of achievement. What a wonderful legacy has been left in the younger hands of Claudio's son Giovanni Castiglioni.

The CAGIVA C595 took John Kocinski to third place in the 1994 500cc championship.

No comments:

Post a Comment