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MBK’s winning strategy

23 Nov 2016 | Front page, Mobility, Investment

In the mobility sector, one scooter manufacturer stands out—and you’ll find them in Saint-Quentin, right here in Hauts-de-France. Innovative flair and market adaptability have made MBK Yamaha’s top factory in Europe.

MBK Industrie delivers success for Yamaha

MBK was founded near Paris almost a century ago. The company originally made motorcycles under the Motobécane brand, but soon began producing mopeds, including the first Mobylette.

In 1951, Motobécane outsourced production to Saint-Quentin in Hauts-de-France. Thirty years later, Japan’s Yamaha Motor Company invested in the company—now rebranded as MBK— and rapidly became its No. 1 shareholder.

In 2012, MBK took over production for Yamaha Motor Spain as well, and the Saint-Quentin site is now Yamaha’s biggest European factory. Last year the company manufactured 28,000 bikes and reported €230 million in sales.

MBK’s workforce has expanded steadily to keep pace with growth: it now has 600 employees, and earlier this year it began hiring again, with plans to add another 35 people to its payroll.

Shape-shifter: Responding to a changing society

The secret to MBK's longevity is clear: adaptability. The company constantly challenges itself—questioning its own assumptions, refocusing resources, and innovating to keep pace with consumer expectations. It’s a philosophy MBK continues to practice to this day. 

In 2013 the group pulled out of outboard motors to concentrate on manufacturing motorcycles and scooters—a €4 million reorganization that raised the product quality bar very high.

François Mazure, Executive Vice-President, explains: “We’re in transition. Our output of 50-cc scooters is declining slowly but surely, not only because young people are less interested, but also because parents have more security concerns.” In response, the company is moving up-market with maxi-scooters and medium-displacement motorcycles, and has plans to launch a new 700-cc motorcycle later this month.

Meanwhile, as two-stroke engines give way to greener four-stroke designs, MBK is already working to meet the next challenge. 

Source: Courrier Picard

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