Company report Benelli

Table of contents

Company report Benelli
Benelli

Company report Benelli

Company report Benelli

Company report Benelli

Company report Benelli

14th pictures

Company report Benelli
Benelli

1/14
Benelli has been part of the QJ Group since 2005.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Benelli also offers helmets.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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About ten years after the takeover, the first Benelli models rolled to Europe.

Company report Benelli
Volvo

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Li Shufu is in charge of Benelli’s parent company QJ. He is the founder and head of the car manufacturer Geely with around 80,000 employees worldwide.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Yan Haimei (Benelli Italy): “We want to achieve European production standards with QJ in China. It’s not that far yet, but the acquisition of Benelli has helped us a lot.”

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Originally, the six Benelli brothers had only founded one workshop with financial help from their mother. But soon they built their own engines, later motorcycles.

Company report Benelli
bilski-fotografie.de

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The Benelli Sei only came in 1975 as a 750, later also as a 900. She couldn’t save the brand.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Beautiful and classy, ​​but fragile: the three-cylinder from the noughties, here the debutante Tornado 900.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Benelli has a long history. The company was founded in Pesaro in 1911.

Company report Benelli
MATTIA TONUCCI

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Benelli 402 S..

Company report Benelli
MATTIA TONUCCI

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Benelli 752 S..

Company report Benelli
MATTIA TONUCCI

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Benelli Imperiale 400.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Benelli TRK 502 X.

Company report Benelli
Benelli

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Benelli Leoncino.

Sports & scene

Company report Benelli

Company report about Benelli
On the move

After years of slumber, Benelli is rolling again: under Chinese leadership and with completely different motorcycles than before. A colorful range of affordable machines suitable for everyday use should also fuel the new start in Europe – and make Chinaware socially acceptable.

Eva Breutel

07/01/2019

It was a real novelty in the motorcycle industry: At the end of 2005, the QJ Group took over the ailing Italian manufacturer Benelli. A large Chinese two-wheeler manufacturer that is buying into Europe – would it now bombard the old world with Chinese crackers of all stripes? But nothing happened at first. QJ, based in Wenling, around 400 km south of Shanghai, apparently first had to think about its new acquisition. And for a long time. Only now, over ten years later, are the machines developed under Chinese leadership rolling into Europe. Models like the Scrambler Leoncino or the street enduro TRK 502 X spark new interest in the brand. The fascinating classy three-cylinder with which Benelli that made a name for themselves in the noughties are history. The new company relies on sober row wins with around 50 hp. After all, more powerful engines are to follow soon.

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Record sales TRK 502 X

Technically, the fact that something is happening again is due to the diligent work of the Italian Benelli team in Pesaro with the managing director Yan Haimei and the technical director Stefano Michelotti. Production has long ceased at the headquarters, but research, development and, above all, the collaboration with Chinese colleagues is fine-tuned. The main aim is to introduce European standards and improve the components, almost all of which are manufactured by the QJ Group itself, from the fork to the brakes. Benelli does not yet produce top quality, but it does produce solid motorcycles with acceptable weaknesses, as various tests in MOTORRAD confirm.


Company report Benelli


Benelli

Benelli TRK 502 X.

The Chinese entrepreneur Li Shufu’s entry into QJ two years ago gave a real boost. The restructured, changed managers and tidied up the overly bureaucratic structures of the former state-owned company. Benelli suddenly took center stage and allowed himself to be carried away with imaginative marketing measures. Thanks to an agreement with the powerful Internet retailer Alibaba, the brand is the first motorcycle manufacturer to sell its products via this platform. The first 100 pieces of the new TRK 502 X went away within a sensational 15 seconds. An agreement was also reached with Shell China on an effective Shell Benelli motor oil. Foreign brand names are a magnet for Chinese customers anyway. That is why the more than 100-year history of Benelli comes to the fore at trade fairs and presentations – and according to reports, this is well received.

QJ does not publish sales figures

But you don’t know the exact details. As is customary in China, QJ does not publish any sales figures, but merely announces that they produce over a million units per year, from moped to quad. How much of that is attributable to the Benelli brand? No answer from Wenling. Yan Haimei, managing director in Pesaro and more familiar with the European thirst for numbers, can at least elicit that Benelli is considered a premium brand in China. And: “Our market share for motorcycles over 200 cm3 is 52 percent.” The road to get there was rocky, however. QJ’s declared goal of adopting European production methods and thus beating the competition on its home market was difficult to implement. At first the Chinese wanted to do everything themselves and acted according to the “trial and error” method. But all projects were abandoned. “Only when we started working with European suppliers did things move forward,” reports Yan Haimei. In this way, QJ is approaching European quality standards through Benelli. “It’s not that far yet,” Yan explains frankly. “But we have to go there.”


Company report Benelli


Volvo

Li Shufu is the boss at Benelli’s parent company QJ.

The current production range is designed for China and other growth markets in Asia and South America; there are no expensive high-tech motorcycles. But with its cheap everyday machines, Benelli is also celebrating successes in Europe, especially in Italy, where they each cost 500 euros less: There the TRK is in a remarkable fifth place with 1,671 new registrations in the first eight months of 2018, the Leoncino is also doing well. The German motorcyclists are still holding back. “But next year our 750cc engine will be coming with a good 80 hp,” says managing director Yan. “That could also be liked in Germany. Or?”

Volvo, Lotus and a bit of Daimler

One of the busiest entrepreneurs in China has been behind Benelli for two years: Li Shufu, 55. The billionaire from the southeast of the country (estimated fortune according to Forbes: over ten billion euros) made headlines in Germany in the spring when he bought just under ten percent of Daimler AG grew and thus became the largest single shareholder in Stuttgart. The mechanical engineer wants to expand his own car company Geely (Chinese for “happy”) vigorously – and is banking on expansion through acquisitions: he has already incorporated the brands Volvo, Proton and Lotus as well as the London taxis into the company.


Company report Benelli


Benelli

Benelli has a long history. The company was founded in Pesaro in 1911.

In 2016, his Geely Group also took over almost 30 percent of the Qjianjiang Group (QJ), Benelli’s parent company. Li Shufu is the largest partner and quickly initiated a restructuring. Two-wheelers are nothing new to him: he made part of his fortune with Geely scooters before he started car production in 1997, incidentally against the will of the Chinese government, which at the time wanted to organize car production exclusively by the state. Nevertheless, he managed to establish Geely as one of the largest car brands in China within ten years. So the man has plenty of assertiveness – and ideas too: with the US start-up Terrafugia, which he recently also took over, he wants to build a flying car in 2019.

The Benelli story: many brothers, many owners

Benelli was founded in Pesaro on the Italian Adriatic Sea in 1911 and was Moto Guzzi’s fiercest competitor for many years. But the second half of the company’s history turned out to be extremely eventful with many different owners. Even when the company was founded, it was not really a lucky star, because the Benelli family was just too big: six brothers and two sisters and their families wanted to live from the brand. Racing successes and good sales figures initially whitewashed the discrepancies. In 1948, Giuseppe Benelli, the great technician of the family, fell out with his siblings, founded MotoBi and made Benelli stiff competition. In the 1960s, when Giuseppe had now returned to the family, the brand experienced another great time when Kel Carruthers first won the TT on the Isle of Man and then the 250 World Cup.


Company report Benelli


Benelli

The brand was founded by the six Benelli brothers.

But at the end of 1971 the children and grandchildren of the company founders sold the plant to the Argentine Alejandro de Tomaso. He caused a stir with the 350/500 four-cylinder and the six-cylinder, but then partially merged Benelli and the Moto Guzzi brand, which he had also bought in the meantime. Moto Guzzi barely survived the forced marriage, Benelli did not. In 1989, Giancarlo Selci, an entrepreneur from Pesaro, tried to resurrect, but probably for sentimental reasons, as he had once completed his apprenticeship at Benelli. His roller production flopped. In 1995, the then 28-year-old Andrea Merloni, heir to a large washing machine manufacturer, took over. At first he also built scooters, but then fascinating motorcycles: in 1999 he presented the three-cylinder Tornado, other sporty and unusually styled models such as the TnT followed. But the three-cylinder suffered from too many teething troubles, and Merloni’s dream of shaking up the Superbike World Championship failed miserably. Benelli made more lousy every year and was finally sold to the Chinese QJ group in late 2005. After years of hesitation, their production is now gradually getting underway.

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