Three generations and the baton passed twice. Passion for motorbikes and passion for the company are the watchwords of the Malossi family.
MALOSSI the brand – 82 years of history.
Our story begins in 1930 when Armando Malossi founded Malossi Cycles and Motorcycles in Bologna, a company dedicated to the construction of bicycles and the repair of motorcycles. Even though they were very difficult years, not even the earthquake, a metre of snow and the economic crisis of 1929 managed to dampen his enthusiasm. That was the year he married Laura Casoni, soon followed by the birth of his first child, Ugo. The historical context was certainly not the best – the Spanish Civil War, the African war, sanctions and then in 1940 the beginning of World War II and the bombing that shortly after began to hit the city of Bologna. In 1943, a bomb destroyed Armando’s workshop and made the house uninhabitable. Far from being discouraged, Armando picked up the equipment that survived the destruction and moved his business to small premises outside the city. The general situation was becoming ever more critical and Armando’s business was having to deal with a world shaken by war. There were only a few bicycles in circulation, spare parts were unavailable, tyres could only be bought on the black market, all the cars and motorbikes still in operation had been requisitioned by the army, and as if that were not enough, there was no fuel any more.
In the spring of 1945, a month before the end of the war, Sandro, the second child, was born. Reconstruction gave new life and new ideas to Armando’s business. Life began to slowly return to normal. At that point everything was being repaired, new bicycles and even some mopeds were being built, and military motorbikes left over from the war and old motorbikes that escaped requisition because they were hidden in cellars and barns were being restored. The motorcycle industry slowly restarted and the first auxiliary motors for bicycles made their appearance. Among the many marques at the time, how can we forget the Garelli Mosquito and the Ducati Cucciolo? Not to mention Moto Guzzi, Gilera and Benelli, historic Italian marques, and all the other major European marques that were reappearing everywhere. In that period of economic hardship unimaginable for those who live in the prosperity of our own times, the prices of these motorcycles were beyond the reach of ordinary people. This led Armando, guided by passion and initiative, to buy two Moto Guzzi 500s and a scooter to rent out.
How we got this far
Ugo Malossi – President
Ugo Malossi, the architect of the transformation that made Malossi the company that it is today, left school when still very young to support his father in the business. Filled with a passion for engines that he had harboured since childhood, Ugo insisted to his father, when the first scooters began to appear, that they abandon all other activities to devote themselves exclusively to motorcycles. Armando did not object although he had concerns about the success of the operation. Giving free rein to the creativity and initiative that marked him out, and stimulated by the manufacturing fervour that pervaded the city of Bologna, where dozens and dozens of manufacturers of mopeds and light motorcycles were springing up, in a period when Italy was being filled with Vespa and Lambrettas, Ugo built a light 75 cc bike for a friend and a 125 cc for himself. Both were complete prototypes from the frame up. In 1957 Ugo purchased Mar Srl, a company that serviced Dell’Orto carburettors , and turned it into Casa del Carburatore which dovetailed with his real passion – the preparation of two- and four-stroke engines. In those years, Ugo began to produce a line of fuel systems for tuned and racing motorcycles, designed for mopeds, light motorbikes and scooters, and a series of head-piston-cylinder sets for the most important European and Japanese superbikes. These were systems built with Dell’Orto carburettors, complete with inlet ports, air intakes, controls and everything needed for installation, designed and calibrated specifically for each bike. His passion resulted in a huge amount of work, so much so that the setups developed, still present in the archives of Malossi, exceeded a thousand, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of components created to assemble the units for two-, three-, four- and six-cylinder superbikes. Some of these systems had been used in endurance races that were held all over the world and a hundred were specifically designed for a standard 4-cylinder MV model transformed directly by the technicians of the Racing department of MV Agusta. In 1959 Ugo tuned a standard Ducati 125 cc with which the newcomer Piero Cava finished second in the Bologna San Luca uphill race, just a few moments behind the winner and in front of the rest of the official Ducati team. In the meantime, economic conditions in Italy and Europe had changed significantly. This was the time of the Economic Miracle, activity was raging in every field and the privations of the war were now behind us. The way in which the population of Europe viewed transport had changed too. Interest in motorbikes had declined in favour of the car that suddenly became the most desirable mode of transport, so much so that small cars had invaded our country. Ugo knew that the time had come to rethink his business and he expanded the activities of Casa del Carburatore to the car as well, offering sales and service of all makes of carburettors. When Dell’Orto created carburettors for Alfa Romeo and Lancia cars, Casa del Carburatore did not miss the opportunity to market and produce special equipment, complete with air intakes and manifolds, for tuned and racing cars and nor did they neglect industrial carburettors. In 1962 Ugo married Maria Bolognini and within a few years his first child Andrea arrived in 1965, and then Alessandra in 1968. We will talk about the new Malossi generation later as we continue the discussion of our history. In 1969, the country’s economy was still growing but there were problems too. Pollution from exhaust emissions of cars had reached levels that were too high and measures were being considered to bring them back within acceptable limits. New regulations on road traffic and new rules for workshops that were in town centres and in their vicinity were about to be launched. Ugo anticipated where things were going and created a new company. This was the birth of the CDC project. Land was acquired on which to build a small factory for special parts for carburettors and an ultra-modern service facility for car carburettors to which to transfer the new equipment for the diagnosis of engines and the calibration of carburettors.
SANDRO MALOSSI – Head of Marketing and Sports Events
In 1969, the brother of Ugo, Sandro, having completed his studies, joined the company’s management and assumed the role of Sales Manager and control of IT development in the company. In 1974 Sandro married Dina Covotta who in 1983 gave him their first child, Riccardo. Meanwhile Casa del Carburatore was growing, increasing the number of staff and moving to new larger and more modern premises in Bologna at Via Zanardi no. 29, acquiring a significant number of new foreign customers and significantly increasing its volume of business. In accordance with the project of industrial decentralisation, in its new headquarters in Calderara di Reno, CDC started production of parts for carburettors and moulds designed by its new technicians. In 1978 CDC made the first conversion kit for engines for box mounting. This was a kit dedicated to the Japanese Yamaha TY 50 cc moped, consisting of head-piston-cylinder set, fuel system, exhaust system and installation instructions. It was a success! In the first year of production, sales amounted to some 8,500 units! The change of direction was accomplished! The success of the first conversion kit suggested to Ugo the possibility of launching a new line of production. Market demand increased. Dozens of kits for French, Japanese and Italian mopeds then followed those for the Vespas and Japanese and Italian 125 cc bikes. The models produced now exceeded one hundred. Turnover increased and the volume of goods shipped became much greater, so much so that it was impossible to delay the next leap forward. It was necessary to acquire new space, giving the businesses a more industrial structure, leaving CDC to its machining and transforming the commercial and maintenance activity of Casa del Carburatore into a proper production company with a strong brand. In 1983 Casa del Carburatore bought a two thousand sq.m. factory in Calderara di Reno and moved there. It changed its name to MALOSSI SRL and incorporated the technical and experimental departments as well as the engine testing area.
Andrea Malossi-Head of Research and Development
Andrea, the eldest child of Ugo, was then co-opted onto the Board of Directors and joined his father in Technical and Experimental Management. Malossi SRL chose the path that marked all its future activity and gave up car and motorbike carburettor maintenance and the sale of kits and carburettors for cars. Only motorbike carburettor systems were to be maintained thereafter, mainly those related to the conversion kits. Meanwhile the sporting side of Malossi was taking shape, naturally dictated by the type of product involved. After the first kit for the Yamaha 50 cc, an innovative moped both aesthetically and technically, it was the turn of those designed for automatic Peugeot and MBK mopeds which had disputed for several years in Italy, but especially in France, true free single-marque Trophies. Then it was the turn of complete competition engines for Peugeot and MBK mopeds, and finally a complete 50 cc moped tuned according to a specific economic formula called MVR, MALOSSI in its entirety. Then it was the turn of the 13/13 carburettor for the Piaggio Ciao moped, handmade by Malossi and then mass-produced by Dell’Orto. The carburettor was followed by the cylinder and then, one after the other, the crankshaft, the crankcase and, last but not least, the Malossi engine to fit the Piaggio, Ciao, Bravo, Boxer, Si, etc. mopeds. Before we get to the automatic scooters that currently dominate the competition scene, there have been races for Vespas, naturally the Special, and the ET3 125 cc oversized and equipped with the Malossi kits. How can we forget the great challenges and successes of the Malossi on the kart tracks and at the Bologna Motor Show, with the patented CVF cylinders still in production today and constantly updated? In 1988 he considered the entire Piaggio range from the 50 cc models to the Vespa 200 cc PX and started production of the innovative reed valve fuel system integral to the cylinder up to the 125 cc, and to the crankcase for all Vespas from 50 cc up to 200 cc. At the same time we began to invest resources to support events for mopeds and scooters that used special Malossi brand components, both in Italy and in France. These were Trophy races organised and managed directly by the company, in the person of Sandro Malossi. Over time the geographical area widened and Trophy races were organised in Greece, England, Spain and Germany with the new automatic scooters that dominated the international scene. In Italy, meanwhile, with 50 cc scooters oversized to 70 cc, a real GP took place on the racing circuits, a GP which is nowadays more alive than ever, the national Scooters Trophy, born as an open Trophy competition and dominated for years by Malossi, then transformed into a Malossi single-marque competition.
ALESSANDRA MALOSSI – Commercial Manager
Alessandra is now the Commercial Manager of the family business.
She took her first steps in the company when, as a teenager, she was working in the warehouse during the summer holidays to get familiar with Malossi products and the order fulfilment lines. After that, with a degree in Economics and Commerce and all the enthusiasm that distinguishes her, she began to work in the company full-time, dealing with the marketing of the family product line in Italy and in the world. From the beginning, Alessandra wanted to give a feminine touch to a product that, for the most part, is handled by men who just like children are absorbed by mechanical toys.
Convinced that a quality product must be cared for in every respect, and not just the mechanical, over the years Alessandra has been busy perfecting those aspects that, to the superficial eye, might seem superfluous. There is always much to organise in the company, following the product from the choice of raw materials to its design and manufacture, ensuring satisfaction for the customer who should receive the Malossi product in the shortest possible time, in suitable packaging together with all the necessary technical and commercial information.
To achieve this, the entire distribution chain has been computerised, from orders that can be issued online not only by the official sales network of agents and customers but also by individuals on the different dedicated sites – malossicommercesystem for the sales network and malossistore for individuals. With these systems the order arrives in the company in real time and is immediately forwarded for picking in a warehouse that uses the most advanced systems of order fulfilment based on the automatic reading of barcodes.
In the Malossi family, Alessandra is the person who tries to convey to the public worldwide the complex work that lies behind every single product, focusing on the graphics and advertising that accompany the distribution of the full Malossi range. A range which includes, in addition to the famous sunny colours brand, MHR Racing products, RS24 shock absorbers, 7.1. lubricants, Malossi Label clothing and gadgets, as well as the latest product, Malossi helmets.
Not even the commitment of being the mother of twins, Francesca and Martino, has managed to keep Alessandra away from this environment and her mission – to make the Malossi brand ever more appealing so that it may continue to unite everyone who, with a shared passion in any part of the world, knows the euphoria of tuning engines. This passion knows no borders, as evidenced by the fact that in recent years foreign markets have reached peaks of 60% of the total turnover of the company. Users of Malossi products are distributed across the Asian and American regions but are most concentrated in Europe. What has changed in the world is not the fame of the brand but the type of vehicle on which Malossi products are installed.
RICCARDO MALOSSI – Malossi Trophies Communications Manager
Riccardo Malossi joined Race Service, the company which runs Malossi Trophies, with the specific role of managing Malossi image promotion in sporting events..
Unlike the occasional amateurish appearances in the beginning, dating back to the 1950s, Malossi can nowadays boast an organisation that is unmatched in the industry worldwide! For over thirty years continuously, it has covered the entire national territory with five single-marque Malossi Trophy races for scooters from 50 cc to 600 cc, along with the Yamaha R125 Cup Trophy for 125/180 cc motorbikes where Malossi, as official technical sponsor, provides the full kit required for participation. For over five years, a French single-marque Malossi 80 cc Trophy race and a 125 cc Yamaha Trophy race have been disputed. For five years too, in parallel with the continuous activity in the speed competitions, Malossi has created and managed an open Cross scooter Trophy, dominating it literally. In this speciality too, Malossi engineers have proved their unsurpassed ability for technical setups on the limit.
Nel 2000 la C.D.C. acquista a Calderara di Reno un capannone di oltre 3.000 mq, e, dopo averlo completamente ristrutturato, vi si trasferisce con un piano preciso: cambiare la ragione sociale in Malossi Engineering Srl e mettere in atto tutti i cambiamenti necessari per diventare una moderna azienda di produzione, dotata di un laboratorio metrologico e di uno metallografico, di tre sale prova, di un reparto di sperimentazione, di un ufficio tecnico, di un’attrezzatura all’avanguardia dagli stampi alle quattro isole robotizzate per la produzione dei variatori, dai centri di lavoro orizzontale ai torni da barra a tre torrette e alla fresa Hermle per attrezzeria. E’ un balzo in avanti di entità epocale: una crescita esponenziale che porta la metratura da 350 a 3.200 mq, un’attrezzatura nuova fiammante e una tecnologia all’avanguardia per coronare un’esperienza aziendale di oltre 50 anni.
Nel 2005 la Malossi Srl diventa Spa e lascia la sede di via Bastia per trasferirsi nel nuovissimo capannone di via Roma 118/I, costruito in ossequio alle più avanzate norme per la sicurezza e il risparmio energetico. Lo spazio a disposizione è notevole e gestito in modo logisticamente ineccepibile, le merci sono movimentate in modo programmato, il magazzino è dotato di scaffalature per lo stivaggio pesante alte 13 metri, di carrelli speciali per lo stoccaggio e il ripristino del picking, di armadi a piani traslanti per la gestione dei prodotti in confezione singola, di carrelli commissionatori per l’evasione degli ordini, di linee di confezionamento semiautomatiche e robotizzate, il tutto gestito e controllato da un sistema informatico che sovrintende la commessa con un sistema a doppio controllo, a partire dall’ordine del cliente fino alla spedizione della merce.
Nel 2010 sul nuovo stabilimento appena ultimato è stato installato un impianto fotovoltaico di 3.500 kw in grado di fornire una copertura del 76% del fabbisogno totale delle due aziende. Il 30 giugno 2012 la Malossi Spa incorpora per fusione la Malossi Engineering Srl. La nuova azienda si trova, quindi, a racchiudere in sé tutte le potenzialità sviluppate in 50 anni di lavoro ininterrotto, dalla progettazione e produzione interna certificata, a un’organizzazione commerciale che, non solo esporta in sessanta nazioni, ma è anche dotata di un sistema di e-commerce di proprietà in grado di operare in tutti i continenti.
Nel 2008, in previsione dell’incorporazione dell’Engineering, nei 28.000 mq di terreno su cui sorge lo stabilimento di Via Roma 118/I, è stato costruito un ulteriore stabilimento di 4.500 mq con annessa una palazzina per gli uffici e un locale di 2.000 mq dedicati al carico e scarico delle merci. E’ previsto un ulteriore ampliamento per il trasferimento in toto delle attività della ex Engineering.
In questo breve excursus abbiamo delineato i punti salienti del percorso compiuto da una famiglia che fa impresa da ottantaquattro anni, superando difficoltà di ogni genere, e che oggi è pienamente consapevole che non tutti si potranno salvare dal cataclisma che sta sconvolgendo l’intero sistema economico mondiale. La direzione Malossi, come sempre, è determinata più che mai ed è pronta alla sfida con il futuro. Uno staff giovane e ben preparato, dotato di sistemi informatici d’avanguardia ai massimi livelli, una strategia votata all’innovazione e al perfezionamento e una fede incrollabile nell’alta qualità di un prodotto calibrato per il mercato globalizzato che guarda oltre l’Europa, sono gli assi nella manica di quest’azienda che ha fatto del made in Italy e della qualità la sua bandiera.