5 Questions With... Yan Haimei

Benelli’s Chinese CEO speaks out

Q: What is your role at Benelli?
A: I've managed Benelli since 2007. I've worked for QJ (Qianjiang, Benelli's parent company) since 1999, where I'm also head of Global Export Sales. I manage sales in 80 countries.

Q: How many motorcycles did QJ sell in 2010?
A: We sold 1.5 million units, with around 250,000 exported mostly to Europe and South America. About 80 percent were motorcycles and the rest scooters.

Q: What was the objective when QJ purchased Benelli in '05?
A: Benelli is well known in Europe, with a famous history and a good technical team we could learn from. We thought Benelli's Italian operations could be a place for QJ to develop high-quality products for Europe and other Western markets.

Q: What is the status of Benelli's three-cylinder Tre platform?
A: Things were bad in '09, when we only produced 600 three-cylinder bikes. In '10 we sold close to 1000 and in '11 we will reach 2000, so we celebrated our 100th birthday with confidence for the future.

Q: Benelli has recently developed prototypes of a single-cylinder Mono and a parallel-twin Due. What are QJ's plans for these designs?
A: The Mono was developed for racing, but that costs money and there's not much profit margin on singles, so a racing program is difficult to justify. Now we will consider adapting it for street use. We will present the final 750cc Due at the end of 2011. It will be built in Italy, with sales starting in China and then following in Europe and other markets.