China’s Keeway Acquires Italian Motorcycle Brand Morbidelli

The historic Italian motorcycle brand has not produced a motorcycle for over 40 years, but now that’s likely to change after being acquired by the Chinese group Keeway.

By car&bike Team


1 mins read


Published on April 22, 2024

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  • Morbidelli is a historic Italian motorcycle brand
  • Keeway is part of China's Qianjiang Group
  • Morbidelli MBP will have a design and R&D centre in Bologna

Historic Italian motorcycle brand Morbidelli has been acquired by China’s Keeway, part of the Chine giant Qianjiang Group, which also owns Benelli and QJMotor. Keeway has acquired Morbidelli through MBP Moto, which is “Moto Bologna Passioni” that made its debut at the 2022 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. As a result of the acquisition, MBP Moto will now be renamed Morbidelli MBP.  MBP Moto had presented several bikes at the 2022 EICMA, ranging from 125 cc single-cylinder models to 1,000 cc v-twin motorcycles. Although being part of the Qianjiang Group, the MBP models showcased at EICMA 2022 were not borrowed from Qianjiang’s existing platforms but were sourced from several other Chinese suppliers. In fact, MBP had also showcased two models at the 2023 Auto Expo in India, the C1002V cruiser, and the M502N roadster.


Also Read: MBP Showcases Two Models At Auto Expo 2023


The acquisition of the Morbidelli name is something which has been brewing since the end of 2022. Logos and names for Morbidelli MBP and Morbidelli MBP Pesaro were registered in Hong Kong by Powerlink, a company linked to the Qianjiang Group. With Keeway now essentially owning the brand, it’s a case of another Italian brand now being under Chinese ownership. A range of motorcycle models between 125 cc and 1,000 cc will be introduced, with Morbidelli MBP targeting US, European and Chinese markets to begin with. India's Adishwar Auto Ride International, which is behind the Benelli and Keeway brands' India presence, has plans to introduce MBP in India as well. 


MBP Auto Expo 2023

India's Adishwar Auto Ride International (AARI) showcased two models from the MBP brand at the 2023 Auto Expo.


Also Read: Benelli, Keeway Drop Prices Of Select Models By Upto Rs. 61,000


Dante Bustos, CMO of Keeway Group, said, “This acquisition is a testament to MBP Moto's aspiration for excellence in the motorcycle industry. We are thrilled to welcome a historic premium brand like Morbidelli into our family. It will allow us to blend the legacy of racing and Made in Italy craftsmanship with our vision of the future of motorcycling. Our passion for innovation, combined with Morbidelli's rich heritage, will lead to the creation of motorcycles with an unrivalled blend of performance, design and history."


The original Morbidelli brand was created by Giancarlo Morbidelli in Pesaro, although the new Morbidelli MBP, as the name suggests, will be based out of Bologna. There, the Centro Stile Morbidelli and a new Research and Development Center will be built “to explore new technologies and materials, improving design, performance and bringing the excellence of Italian motorcycling to the world, in the name of Giancarlo Morbidelli’s heritage and passion,” says Morbidelli MBP.


Giancarlo Morbidelli and the Morbidelli V8 m1

Giancalo Morbidelli with the Morbidelli V8


The original Morbidelli brand name was famous for racing, going beyond the number of bikes it actually made. Morbidelli was quite successful in the 1970s in GP championships from 50 cc to 250 cc.  In all, the brand won four titles, between 1975 and 1977, with three in the 125 cc class and one, in 1977, in the 250 cc class. Morbidelli’s racing activities ceased in 1982, but one famous Morbidelli racer from the late ‘70s was Graziano Rossi, the father of Valentino Rossi. In the 1990s, Morbidelli made headlines with plans to make a radical 850 cc V8 touring bike, but only four prototypes were made. Its $60,000 price tag, and rather quirky design didn’t find too many fans.

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