Industry

Has Kawasaki just bought Bimota?

Kawasaki is set to announce it has bought iconic - but flagging - Italian marque Bimota; Visordown considers the reasons why...

Kawasaki is preparing to announce it has purchased iconic motorcycle marque Bimota, according to reports in Italy.

Rumours have circulated in recent weeks that Kawasaki has expressed an interest in the troubled but still highly regarded Bimota brand in a move that would expand its global portfolio into Europe having maintained a largely Japanese-centric operation over the years across its dozens of sub-divisions.

According to GPOne, who in turn quotes Yesterbike – which it says is a reputed source for Bimota inside knowledge over the years – an agreement has supposedly been seen and could be announced in imminently, while forums are also buzzing with anticipation too. 

As for when, the Tokyo Motor Show starts on 23 October 2019 and before the industry looks over to Italy for EICMA straight afterwards…

Why would Kawasaki buy Bimota?

While we can only thus far speculate on the finer details of what a collaboration could mean – or how far it goes – we can perhaps draw some inspiration from two other recent announcements involving two of Kawasaki’s rivals. 

First, we had MV Agusta and Chinese giants Loncin announce a platform sharing deal that will give the Italian marque some much-needed volume and resource, whilst lending its engineering expertise and positive image to Loncin’s burgeoning premium spin-off, Voge.

More recently, KTM and Indian firm Bajaj upped their partnership to develop a range of new electric sportsbikes by 2021. 

A similar method to the latter could well prove an interesting way for Kawasaki to dabble in electric motorcycles without committing to a zero emissions volume model, one that would surely be priced out of Kawasaki’s range. On a lower volume Bimota though, that would be a different story… but then is there a market for an electric Bimota?

What Kawasaki can bring to Bimota

Whilst the reason for Kawasaki buying out Bimota isn’t entirely clear, there is certainly an attractiveness associated with Kawasaki dipping its toe into a more premier category with an already established brand that gravitates in similar circles without stepping on each other’s rubbered toes.

Broad, versatile and well-engineered, the household Kawasaki name evokes many positive brand values globally, but at the upper end of the scale – such as with the Ninja, RR and H2 ranges - it has focused more on the rawer side of premium rather than rely on thoroughbred soul, like Ducati for instance.

That’s no critique, we like our Kawasaki motorcycles exactly that way and – judging by the sales charts – so do you. 

Moreover, despite the mismanagement and troubled fluctuations in its investments, owners and output over the most recent decade, Bimota is still a fondly regarded marque with a certain amount of gravitas globally.

So, this new deal – if indeed correct - is exciting news.

After all, Kawasaki is no faceless conglomerate of suits hoping to make a quick buck on Bimota whilst it’s going cheap (as in recent years). This is one of the world’s largest automotive companies with an intimate knowledge of the industry, armed with excellent resources and a recognition of the brand, history and potential the Bimota brand represents.

Indeed, Italian marques – such as Ducati, MV Agusta and Aprilia – are endowed with an upper-class identity when viewed on the global stage. It is a strand of DNA Bimota certainly shares but hasn’t had the know-how or finance to back it up… until now, potentially.

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