Whatever Happened To... Voxan?

French Maker Finally Says Au Revoir

By Alan Cathcart, Photography by Voxan

France's Voxan, after surviving several visits to the Last Chance Saloon, has now definitively fallen on its sword after teetering on the verge of liquidation for many months. The Issoire-based company was founded in 1995 by medical appliance tycoon Jacques Gardette. The marque initially produced a range of 996cc, eight-valve, 72-degree V-twins using a modular chassis created by ex-Grand Prix designer Alain Chevallier. A national-istic desire to keep the bikes as French as possible worked against them, however, due to the failure of local suppliers to deliver key components on time and/or of the necessary quality. The bikes attracted many orders, but Voxan was unable to deliver enough bikes to generate much-needed income.

This resulting cash-flow crisis forced Gardette to put Voxan into Chapter 11 in 2001. The following year the company was liquidated, only to be bought out of bankruptcy by French industrial property developer Didier Cazeaux. He re-launched production in June '03, introducing the Street Scrambler and the Black Magic retro café racer. But in spite of various capital injections aimed at re-structuring the company, Voxan had a hard time competing against the better established Japanese and Italian manufacturers.

The VX-10 adventure-tourer appeared in '08, but in September of last year Voxan filed for bankruptcy. Despite various attempts to refloat it-including a rescue attempt mounted by engine supplier Sodemo-Voxan was finally shut down in March. Its disappearance leaves Europe's third-largest powered two-wheeler market without a motorcycle manufacturer of its own.

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