Audi in driving seat to buy Ducati

Luxury German car brand could snap up exotic Italian motorcycle manufacturer

Posted: 12 March 2012
by Visordown News

Audi to buy Ducati?

AUDI is considering the acquisiton of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati and is expected to make a decision by the end of April.

Audi, who are owned by Volkswagen AG, have laid their beach towel out on the sunlounger of Ducati and have the right of first refusal. They are considering the total price of 850 million Euros (£715m), which would include around 800 million Euros worth of liabilities (£670m). The firm are thought to be carrying out due diligence, a sign they are serious about the deal.

This could be a dream buy for Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who tried to buy Ducati in 2008 but lost out to current owners Investindustrial. Car magazine have reported that the deal would be part of Project Eagle, Piech's plan to buy luxury car brands, such as Lamborghini, Porsche and Bugatti and also add a motorcycle manufacturer to the group.

Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India have also expressed an interested in Ducati, however Hero would only get a chance to bid if Audi decided to pull out.

Mercedes, who with AMG have recently entered a contra-deal with Ducati would likely be sidelined if the Audi deal were to go ahead.

What is strange about the supposed deal is that it wouldn't be Audi buying Ducati, as they're wholly owned by VW with VW supplying the money and VW making the decision, which makes it a VW purchase. We can't see why it's being dressed up as an Audi purchase but those are the rumours flying around the automotive and investment industries.

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Discuss this story

Good for Audi. For once, a purchase of this caliber is something I'd look forward to. I'd not been so confident with some of the other potential buyers.

Perhaps it would permanently remedy ballooning Ducati fuel tanks, perpetually horrible throttle response under 4k, and sorting out some recent issues like cracking rims (!!)

If Audi are in it for a long haul, not merely a way to sidestep EPA regs, good on 'em, just share the quality control.

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 01:42

Speculating, but maybe it's because, for the average person on the street, the Audi brand is viewed as a luxury and aligns itself better with keeping Ducati's brand and price levels up (or at least no worse than it currently is)? The VW brand afterall is for the masses. It's only journos investigating and the people who bother looking into the knowledge who recognise VAG as the parent company. Either way, good thing if it happens (in my books anyway).

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 01:53

*cough* Suzuki.........*cough*.............

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 08:23

Suzukis out the picture, messy messy divorce in progress.

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 08:55

The VW brand afterall is for the masses - I agree with you, but I still never get this, i've always looked at New VWs and thought 'How much? for that? really?'. I can't fathom why people buy them, they seem REALLY boring.

Anyway, I think this is a brand excercise for Audi/VW - BMW have a succesful bike business, so they want one as well, it looks nice and for what Ducati is, the money is buttons really. For what is essentially known as an upmarket brand that's worldwide, it's not so bad. Saying that, Tata paid just over double that for Jaguar Land Rover so it's not stupid amounts of money.

It'd be nice to see Audi inject some of their knowledge into production facilites, this should bring their costs down and more than likely make a better product. I'd think they'd also be able to contribute a lot in terms of engine design, aerodynamics and electronics. I hope they stay out of the Chassis parts though (in detailed design) because Car designers just cant get bikes, but if they're working on better machining technologies and improving the components of the design, then I dont think it'd be a bad thing.

Not sure where this would leave the AMG badge on the front of the GP Duke though? And I can see some German Due dilligence chap going whos this V Rossi and why the f'ck are we paying him so much?

Anyway, as it stands, I think it could be a good thing.

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 09:53

Exercising their reich to buy, no doubt. They might also be in with a krautside chance, etc, etc

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 11:48

Y'know MF, I've never come across a brat wurst than you.

I don't buy into the current Ducati stuff though. Why take a twin, oversquare it and make it feel like a four? Why not build a four for people who need a squillion bhp and then build a twin that still feels like a twin for people who like that?

But there again I am 96 years old with only one leg and a mostly defunct brain.

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 12:46

Isn't it time for your afternoon nap. Jimlin?

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 13:28

Hey, the VW empire also produces Skoda, and what's wrong with them ?
Who knows maybe we could see Ducati products having less character, more reliability, and value for money ?

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 17:36

You are certainly right about less character. I'm German, but I think this would be the worst that could happen to Ducati. VW would rip their soul out, and replace it with some generic parts from the VW/Audi/Skoda assembly line. German car manufacturers are highly efficient money making machines, whose greed is only surpassed by their ruthfulness.
Look how their "partnership" played out for Suzuki (which I'm sure is what Pagik meant).

When you dance with the Devil, the Devil doesn't change. The Devil changes you.

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 19:37

I've owned VW & Audis, and concur with you. I've now come to the conclusion owning anything in the VW group will be a Very Wary experience, it's not a question of 'if', but rather when I get reamed. If this deal go ahead, I'll be swapping my Monster for a BMW.

Posted: 13/03/2012 at 21:17

Don't Audi (and therefore VAG) own Lamborghini now? And whilst the lambos have lost a bit of their outlandishness, they seem to be better cars (from what I've read).

Could be a good thing, probably won't.....

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 09:01

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