Acquisition to power growth for a new global Ricardo Motorcycles business

Acquisition to power growth for a new global Ricardo Motorcycles business
28 October 2014

Ricardo’s ambition to become the international partner of choice for the world’s motorcycle industries – from concept design to full product development, and embracing all aspects of vehicle and powertrain engineering support – was underscored today with the announcement that the company has acquired UK consultancy Vepro Ltd, and is forming a new global motorcycle-focused business.

The formation of the new Ricardo Motorcycles business of Ricardo plc combines the strengths of the company’s extensive existing in-house motorcycle engineering team, based at the company’s Schwäbisch Gmünd Technical Centre in southern Germany, together with UK based independent motorcycle, powersport and niche vehicle consultancy Vepro, the acquisition of which was also announced at today’s Ricardo plc AGM.

Motorcycle chassis dyno at Ricardo GermanyThis expansion of in-house capability also builds upon the collaboration with Exnovo Srl of Italy, formalised by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed earlier in 2014. It enables Ricardo to provide an unprecedented level of full product development capability – applicable to the demands of the rapidly growing urban mobility sector in all parts of the world, and ranging from concept design to niche manufacture – for motorcycles, scooters and other two, three and small four wheeler products.

Speaking at the Ricardo plc AGM today, the company’s CEO Dave Shemmans said: “From the luxury, high performance motorcycle brands of Europe, North America and Japan, to the much higher volume economy-focused commuter products of many Asian manufacturers, the global urban mobility sector is one in which Ricardo plc has a very significant role to play.”

“We have long been a leader in motorcycle powertrain engineering, but today’s announcement of the acquisition of Vepro and formation of the new Ricardo Motorcycles business – together with the MoU concluded earlier in the year with Exnovo – takes things to an entirely new level. We now have the comprehensive capability, the organizational footprint and the critical mass to deliver our vision of becoming the full vehicle engineering and design partner of choice for this rapidly expanding global industry.”

The combined specialist motorcycle and scooter design, development and engineering team of the new Ricardo Motorcycles business will comprise a staff of approximately 90, including 15 who will join Ricardo as a result of the acquisition. In addition, the new Ricardo Motorcycles business can draw upon the skills and resources of the wider global Ricardo organization – as well as those available through the Exnovo collaboration – in delivering class-leading motorcycle projects. 

Vepro Ltd: UK-based motorcycle, powersport and niche vehicle expertise
Neil WrightBased in Leicestershire, UK, Vepro has a long history of working with Ricardo on a range of motorcycle projects. Vepro brings specialist motorcycle chassis, powertrain integration and prototype build expertise to the new Ricardo Motorcycles business. It also brings deep and complementary customer relationships with key accounts in India and the United States.

“This is a very exciting time in the development of Vepro as part of the new Ricardo Motorcycles business,” commented Vepro founder and majority owner Neil Wright, who remains with Ricardo following the acquisition. “By becoming part of a much larger organization, we will be able to bring our skills to bear across a much wider customer base while also working as an integrated team within the new Ricardo Motorcycles business.”

Ricardo Motorcycles: a new standard in motorcycle design and engineering
The new Ricardo Motorcycles business creates an unprecedented critical mass of capability, expertise and global reach in independent motorcycle and scooter engineering. It will enjoy continued access to the resources and technologies of the wider Ricardo group, but will provide an unparalleled level of commitment from a large team of motorcycle specialists that can provide expertise across all aspects of product engineering and for vehicles of all types, sizes, markets and applications. The company’s extensive network of international technical centres and offices will also provide opportunities to bring the Ricardo Motorcycles business closer to its urban mobility customers in all parts of the world.

Paul Etheridge - Ricardo Motorcycles head of engineering“I believe that what we are creating is something very special for the motorcycle industry,” commented Ricardo Motorcycles head of engineering Paul Etheridge.  “Within a single organization and its collaborating partners we can co-ordinate any level of support activity required by motorcycle manufacturers anywhere in the world, from target and attribute specification and concept design to niche manufacture. We are extremely well equipped with specialist engineering software and test and development resources and we have the backing of the global Ricardo organization. Most of all we have a large and dedicated engineering team who are true motorcycle enthusiasts, with extensive experience of international design and product development within this industry.”

“From the toughest tasks of achieving the ultimate in design, performance, fuel efficiency, low emissions and exceptional customer value, to delivering the most demanding of full vehicle programmes for the world’s leading motorcycle brands, I believe that Ricardo Motorcycles is now more than equal to any challenge.”

Further details of the new Ricardo Motorcycle business will be available to delegates at the inaugural Ricardo Motorcycle Conference to be held in Milan on Monday 3 November 2014.


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