Wednesday 29 October 2014

Ricardo revs up its motorcycle business

Ricardo plc is forming a new motorcycle-focused business following the acquisition of Leicester-based UK consultancy Vepro Ltd in a bid to make it a global activity.

The formation of the new motorcycles business aims to build on 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.

This expansion of in-house capability also combines the collaboration with Exnovo Srl of Italy, formalised by a Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier in 2014.

It should enable Ricardo to provide a high 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.

Dave Shemmans, Ricardo chief executive officer, noted: “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 and 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,” he added.

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 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 customer relationships with key accounts in India and the US.

“This is an 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.”

The move should bring an element of securoty for both the future and the employees of the Vepro business as well as widen Ricardo's consultancy business still further, especially in India and the US, to name but two.

“I believe that what we are creating is something 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, 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.”

It is known that BMW is among Ricardo’s clients.

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