For our visitors who found their way into this discussion area directly, here is the latest press release from Superbike Racing Inc. that was posted on our main page. For a little historical perspective please visit our main page at: www.benelliforum.com
PRESS RELEASE September 18th 2003
On September 10, 2003, management representatives from Benelli, Spa and Superbike Inc. met in Federal Court. The purpose of the hearing was to determine if the injunction excluding Benelli motorcycles from U.S. shores should be removed. The hearing lasted from 9:30 AM to about 3:30 PM with 2 15-minutes breaks.
Mr. Andrea Merloni’s testimony on the stand proved most interesting. A number of points were brought out during his replies:
1) Merloni said that all of the Benelli importers are losing money.
2) According to Merloni, the “Tornado Tre” motorcycle does NOT have any problems. And that it is Superbike, Inc. who is spreading false rumors about the bike.
3) Merloni’s sole motivation in owning and running Benelli was to make money.
4) Merloni feels that it is importer’s responsibility to warehouse and sell the motorcycles. Benelli’s responsibility for their product ends after it is paid for and delivered.
5) The press release Superbike Inc. issued recently has hurt his business.
6)Merloni is unaware of what was going on in his company.
7)Merloni fired Sandro Caparelli; one reason was because Mr. Caparelli did not know how to pick good importers to represent Benelli.
8) Merloni refused to do business with Superbike Inc. under any circumstances. He stated he would not honor the distribution agreement he has signed.
9) Merloni stated that there were no differences between U.S. specification motorcycles and European specification motorcycles.
10) If other people lose money while doing business with Benelli, it is not his problem.
11) Merloni was concerned that Superbike Inc. was going to sabotage the test bike so it wouldn’t pass the U.S. EPA test.
12) Merloni said the “Tornado Tre” passed the U.S. EPA test on Dec. 3rd, 2002; the test in fact the “Tornado Tre” passed U.S. EPA testing in the first week of April, 2003 after extensive work by Superbike Racing, Inc. and other companies.
13) Merloni stated that Superbike Inc. had done a great deal of damage to Benelli’s image; he estimated the resulting financial loss at about $10 million, but was unable to produce documents to substantiate this.
14) Merloni said that his father (Mr. Vittorio Merloni) is 70 years of age and doesn’t have any interest in Benelli’s operations. Vittorio Merloni’s personal secretary was contacted and stated that Benelli was now a part of the Merloni Group and as such Vittorio was in charge of directing Benelli’s operations.
15) Merloni was asked if he would pay expenses, loss of profits and damages that Superbike Racing, Inc. had sustained as the result of the cancelled distribution agreement. He said he would pay whatever arbitration (currently under way in Italy) awards Superbike Inc.
16) When asked in court why he had not paid Superbike back the money he had taken from them, He said he was keeping it SAFE. The Merloni family is one of the richest in Italy.
Mr. Sandro Caparelli has engaged an attorney to represent him in Italy as Benelli has yet to pay him the severance package required by Italian Labor Law. Benelli said they would pay Sandro if he signed a document stating that he was to blame for all the mistakes that were made by Benelli. He refused. Mr. Caparelli was terminated from Benelli on June 03.
Benelli has invoiced the Swiss importer Technopolymer for re payment of 17.000.00 Euro’s to be paid back to them because he failed to achieve his sales target this year. Or purchase 17 more bikes that he cannot sell during the winter period of October to March. The importer states that the bikes were five months late and when they did arrive the bikes suffered with many problems. Causing the importer great difficulty in selling product and achieving his target.
Superbike, Inc. was recently contacted by D.O.T compliance authorities regarding the compliance labels. Since Benelli, Spa did not produce the required labels and affix them to their vehicles, the 19 test and demonstration motorcycles and scooter Superbike, Inc. has in their possession are in violation. The violation fine is $15,000.00 for the first vehicle and $5,000.00 fine per day/per vehicle for each day the non compliant vehicle remains in the U.S. ($95,000). Therefore, the first two days of violation will amount to $200,000.00 in fines. Superbike, Inc. is attempting to return the test and demo vehicles back to Benelli, Spa to avoid these severe financial penalties. So far Benelli has ignored the correspondence sent to them by Superbike, Inc.
Arbitration between Benelli, Spa and Superbike Inc. began in Italy on September 9th, 2003 and is expected to continue until April, 2004. Superbike Inc. has not received a refund of the deposit it gave Benelli, Spa for the first shipment of motorcycles and scooters it contracted for; payment of $250,000 was tendered to Benelli some 10,11 and 17 months ago.
Superbike Inc. sustained massive cash outlays of nearly $900.000.00 during Benelli’s introduction in the U.S. and has also had to bear the ongoing cost of litigation in Italy and the U.S.. It is doubtful that Superbike Inc. will remain viable until some sort of financial settlement is finally received from Benelli, SPA. On Benelli’s past history and track record of paying we wonder if this will ever happen However, the founders of Superbike Inc. have vowed to continue litigation in the U.S. and in Italy until justice is served.
President of Superbike Inc.