UPDATE, March 9, 2022: Yamaha, BMW, and Polaris have also halted exports to Russia in the wake of the ongoing crisis. Polaris sells a significant number of snowmobiles in the region, and it’s unclear what effect this will have on its motorcycle division. Yamaha also sells outboard motors, and of course BMW also manufactures and sells cars in the region. Business regarding all the various branches of these companies is reportedly now halted in Russia.
UPDATE, March 3, 2022: MV Agusta has since released an official open letter from CEO Timur Sardarov, expounding further upon his thoughts on this matter. It reads,
I would like to address you in these difficult times as I’m sure you are aware that there is a war inflaming between Russia and Ukraine. For me as a Russian it is the biggest tragedy of my 40 years of existence. I have never thought that I would feel so betrayed by the action of my own country.
I have a lot of friends in Ukraine and a lot of friends and family in Russia. During my upbringing and the upbringing of my parents we always considered each other as closest brother nations.
We had free movement between our cities, we never considered each other different. We supported each other, we fell in love with each other – before these horrific atrocities were conducted by the Russian regime.
All my family is shocked, all the people that I know are shocked, angry, and feel betrayed.
The repercussions for Europe and the whole world are very unpredictable.
The rhetoric that is coming out from the Russian and Western media are so polarised that it is making me sick. I believe that most of Russians also feel the same. Russians are a very proud nation and in our history no one has ever betrayed us more than this regime led by Putin.
My thoughts and prayers are going to all the Ukrainian people and the poor Russian soldiers, young boys that have been thrown into this brother-killing conflict.
Sorry for emotions, but I don’t have many people to express them to and I consider all of you my family.
Original piece follows.
On March 1, 2022, MV Agusta CEO Timur Sardarov, who is a proud Russian man, made a strongly-worded post on his Instagram account regarding Russia’s February, 2022, invasion of Ukraine. In no uncertain terms, he said that he does not want this war and that he believes that it is not the wish of the Russian people in general. His statement is emotional, direct, and unambiguous about his feelings on the matter.
“I have never felt so bad in my life, feeling absolutely disgusted, ashamed and betrayed by this horrific, stupid and cruel act of war, by a small-minded, envious, cruel, vindictive and paranoid lier [sic], who hates his own people and thinks he can take over our neighbour, 44m people country with democratically elected government, once our biggest friends, meanwhile torturing them for 8 years!” Sardarov’s post begins.
“Russians have never been so betrayed by any ruler in our long, difficult, and proud history! He does not represent us and we will throw him to the dump of history!” the post concludes.
His is the first such statement made by the CEO of any motorcycle OEM, and commenters were quick to praise him for speaking up and not staying silent. Elsewhere in the motorcycle world, response to the invasion has been more muted.
On March 1, 2022, Harley-Davidson said that it was suspending both its business in and its shipment of motorcycles to Russia. It joins other automotive firms including Daimler, General Motors, and Ford in taking such action, but did not respond to any request for comment from the Reuters news agency about this decision. An analyst added that due to high demand for Harley’s motorcycles in Europe, diverting shipments to its other European dealers would be a fairly easy and sensible thing to do.
On March 2, 2022, Honda Motor officially announced that it would suspend exports of both its cars and its motorcycles to Russia in the wake of the invasion. Some suggest that this could be the start of more Japanese manufacturers similarly stopping exports, but Reuters also notes that thus far, Mazda is the only other firm to have announced such a measure.