Yan Haimei, CEO of Benelli has announced that the Chinese-owned motorcycle brand will return to the United States before the end of the year. The formerly Italian marque has had a tumultuous history over the last few decades, with multiple attempts to revive the historic brand ending with less than successful results.
The Qjian Jiang group purchased Benelli in 2005 but it hasn’t been until the last few years that the company has progressed to the level of tempting western interests. Benelli has had a presence in both the United Kingdom and Australia for a number of years now where it’s main focus has been on small to mid-capacity machines, although it does offer larger bikes under the TNT badge which haven’t been updated for a number of years.
In an interview with Bruno dePrato, Yan Haimei revealed that not only will Benelli return to the United States before the start of 2016, but that the company is working on a new range of three cylinder engines. Haimei didn’t elaborate on how Benelli’s return to the USA will take place, though as it has done in Australia and the UK it will probably be by way of a licensed importer.
In the last few months, Benelli has released the BN 302 naked learner bike and the BN 600GT – the latter of which has been getting some excellent reviews. As you’d expect from a Chinese made machine, price is a huge selling point. The BN 302 sells for $5,590 AUD (US $4900) which is over $400 AUD less than the Honda CBF300F and Kawasaki Z300, but comes with more sophisticated suspension and front forks.