Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
MV Agusta has sealed a deal with Chinese bike brand Loncin that will see a range of four small-capacity MVs launched within the next two years.
The plan is to create a four-model family of MV Agustas using the Chinese firm’s mass-manufacturing expertise to give MV a foothold in the Asian market for smaller-capacity bikes. Although details of the new models have yet to be announced, it’s sure that at least one will be a naked ‘Brutale’ and another will be a small sports bike, taking its styling inspiration from the F3 and F4.
Loncin – which recently launched an upmarket brand called Voge to offer higher-spec, larger-capacity bikes – will also benefit from the deal. MV Agusta is to help the Chinese firm launch a range of 800cc models, presumably based around a derivative of the Italian firm’s F3 800 triple.
At the moment, Loncin has a couple of machines that could be used as the basis for new, mini-MVs. One is the GP300 sports bike, also offered as the Voge 300RR. Although its 292cc single is fractionally smaller than the planned 350cc minimum for the new MV range, a tweak to the bore and stroke could solve that problem to create a minature F-series (F1?) sports bike. There’s also a naked version, the Loncin CR6/Voge 300R, using the same chassis and engine – potentially a baby Brutale of the future. A neo-retro-styled version, the Voge 300AC, is also in the range, along with an adventure model, the Voge 300DS.
Stepping up a size, Voge also offers a selection of 471cc parallel twin bikes, all using an engine that’s effectively a clone of Honda’s CB500 unit. The naked Voge 500R and adventure-style 500DS could both conceivably be restyled to create MV-branded machines fairly easily.
Loncin’s President, Yong Gao, said: “The conclusion of the strategic agreement is conducive to Loncin’s and MV Agusta's joint response to the changes in global market demand and to the coordinated development of both sides. Loncin will use advanced manufacturing resources and Chinese market knowledge to help MV Agusta expand its product line and enhance product competitiveness. MV Agusta’s technology and advanced design experience of high performance motorcycles will support Loncin’s "VOGE" brand in becoming the market leader of premium motorcycles in China. I am looking forward to our strategic cooperation based on the principles of mutual benefit and success.”
Timur Sardarov, CEO of MV Agusta Motor, added: “This strategic alliance is an important step to consolidate our vision for the future of MV Agusta. Our target is to reaffirm our leadership in the production of upper-premium motorcycles, while also enlarging our customer base by offering a broader range of products without compromising our distinctive design and performance. We are looking forward to grow with the right partners and the right products, making sure that our clients enjoy the larger choice of models, all of which share the same DNA and MV Agusta pedigree.”
The new MV-Loncin deal is just the latest in a slew of similar arrangements that have seen Western firms joining forces with Asian or Indian brands to expand their model ranges. These include Triumph’s tie-in with India’s Bajaj (the same firm also builds KTMs), BMW’s links with TVS, Harley-Davidson’s venture with Chinese brand Qianjiang, the firm that already owns Benelli.
While some might not like the idea of a Chinese firm building MV Agustas, Loncin already has a strong track record of cooperation with European companies. It’s had connections with BMW since 2005, when it started building engines for the G650GS, and now manufacturers the entire BMW C400GT and C400X scooter range and the parallel twin engines for the F850GS and F750GS.