Many Italian motoring companies have a torrid history. Some of the greatest manufacturers who were once world champions and household names have fallen into hard times and eventual bankruptcy due to problems that are typical to Italian motorcycle manufacturers. Despite the charming good looks of most products that come from Italy, the reliability, availability of spares, customer service and other crucial aspects have sometimes been lacking or altogether appalling. The most glaring however is the penchant for Italian firms to not listen to their customers and meet their demands, or their riders as in the case of Casey Stoner during his tenure at Ducati in the MotoGP championship. Several of these perennial problems often conspire to bring down a company, and the most recent firm to fall into the pit of bankruptcy is the illustrious motorcycle maker Benelli, or at least it seems so.
Benelli’s case of bankruptcy however is the case of a supposedly profitable company being declared bankrupt by the court. The ignition of this curious turn of events occurred when Benelli failed to pay WP Suspension who are owned by KTM, a sum of €120,000 for suspension parts. WP eventually took Benelli to court, despite the Italian company’s commitment to repay the debt.
An Italian court in Pesaro then declared Benelli bankrupt, and ordered the sum owed to be paid to WP. What’s more, some of Benelli’s completed motorcycles were seized by a trustee as collateral for payment. This resulted in Benelli’s Chinese owners, the Qianjiang Group, to release a statement after the court ruled that Benelli was bankrupt, saying that the Italian motorcycle maker had cash reserves to repay its debts which were rumoured to be as much €1 million. The Qianjiang Group also contended that Benelli had already begun repaying the debt. Benelli is not happy with the Pesaro court’s ruling, and will be appealing the ruling with the Court of Appeal of Ancona.
Benelli claimed a €800,000 loss in 2014 and a €5.7 million loss in 2015. However, some reports from Italy suggest that Benelli’s has been turning a profit the first six months of the year. More tellingly, the new line-up of motorcycles that were showcased at the 2015 EICMA show in Milan should result in more sales and therefore more revenue for Benelli as a result to take the brand further up. It can only be hoped that Benelli will not be added to the long list of Italian brands that have gone bust. Do check back, as we will definitely follow this story closely.