The rumors are true. Daimler has purchased a 25 percent stake in Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta through its AMG performance arm, putting it (a quarter) on par with Audi, which purchased its rivals at Ducati in 2012, and of course BMW which has had its own motorcycle brand since the 1920s.

Advertisement

Aside from keeping up with the German Joneses, AMG gets another enthusiast brand, and – the thinking goes – that the prestige of being tied to Mercedes' performance arm will boost sales of MV bikes, which haven't had the same sales success as VAG's Ducati.

MV Augusta's history has been fraught with turmoil over the past 15 years, owned by Malaysia's Proton, then part of BMW's Husqvarna, then a securities company, then Harley-Davidson, and finally sold back to the Castiglioni family in 2010. The partnership would bring some stability to MV, along with providing access to new technologies for the bikes and allow Daimler to get its paws on some sweet, high-performance three-cylinder engines.

Advertisement

The sale still has to go through regulatory approval, after which MV will get a representative from AMG to sit on its board, and Daimler gets another premium brand in its portfolio.