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Benelli planning new Benelli Imperiale model | Manufacture News | News

Benelli has applied for trademark rights on the name Benelli Imperiale, suggesting it’s got a new model in the pipeline that could carry the title.

The Imperiale name has a convoluted history with the brand. It first appeared in 1957, but on a MotoBi, not a Benelli. MotoBi had been set up in 1949 by Giuseppe Benelli, one of the six brothers that founded Benelli with their mother, Teresa, in 1911.

Giuseppe had fallen out with the family and created MotoBi, also based in the Italian town of Pesaro, as a result. After his death, also in 1957, Benelli and MotoBi merged, and some models were sold under both brand names for a while.

Now Benelli is owned by Chinese giant QianJiang. The resulting Benelli QJ brand has filed the new trademark application for the name Imperiale.

It’s not clear what bike the name will be used on. The original Imperiale was a 125cc single-cylinder machine, but that’s no guarantee that the new model using the name will be in the same vein. Remember, the original Leoncino was also a 125cc single, but the new Benelli Leoncino is a 500cc twin.

Benelli QJ also used to own the rights to the MotoBi brand, but cancelled its registration last year after a battle over the trademark. Now rights to the MotoBi brand are owned by German firm Demharter GmbH, which sells scooters under the old marque’s name.           

By Ben Purvis