In another twist to the Proton story, the Malaysian company has signed a letter of intent to form a new company with … MV Agusta!
The permanently cash strapped Italian manufacturer, who has had more “re-births” than Elvis, was due to be taken over by scooter giant Piaggio last year before the banks pulled the plug on the deal.
Now Proton has moved in and from the look of things, it is a serious offer. Well the letter was signed by the CEO of Proton as well as the Prime Minister of Malaysia anyway. Buried in the midst of the financial techno-gabble was the news that Proton was to take a 50 percent share in MV Agusta SpA which is trading, but only just, under Controlled Administration. Everything that MV Agusta does is tightly controlled by the Varese Court and Banca Intesa.
So what’s in it for Proton? Well first up MV Agusta owns Cagiva and Husqvarna, two already built brands with production facilities and an existing model range. Which is much easier than developing one yourself. The chances are that Proton is looking at making cheap, affordable bikes for the Asian market.
Proton also owns Lotus and MV’s Commercial Director Giovanni Castiglioni sees the potential of the two brands being sold together in specialised exclusive boutiques. Castiglioni even claimed, “MV Agusta will enter MotorGP racing soon”, but this is a bit pie in the sky.
It seems Proton has spotted an easy way to tool up for mass producing bikes with a ready built factory and model range.