Ducati isn’t worried about Chinese copycats

Ducati’s vice president of global sales is nonplussed about brazen ‘clones’ of the company’s products

Ducati Supersport 950 S vs Ducasu DK400

Most major motorcycle brands have had their wares less than elegantly copied by companies from China, but Ducati seems to be a particularly prominent target. The results of such homework-copying exercises are often some of the most egregious of the ‘clone’ bikes, too. 

Only recently we were looking at the ‘Ducasu DK400, which didn’t just shamelessly rip off the Supersport 950, but also went one step further by having a logo that borrowed rather heavily from Ducati’s, too. Curious to see what the real company’s top brass think of such bikes, we asked Francesca Milicia, Ducati’s vice president of global sales, if he’s concerned. 

Speaking to Visordown at EICMA just after the reveal of the Panigale V4 SP2 916 (below), Milicia likened the situation to what happens in the fashion industry. This happens when “your brand is strong,” Milicia said. 

“We don’t see this as a risk,” he added. Why? Because the bikes simply aren’t comparable. “In the end, if you want to have a product with the science of a Ducati and the form of a Ducati, you buy a Ducati,” Milicia explained. Given that the Ducasu puts out a measly 25bhp from a 400cc parallel twin and that most of these imitations aren’t exactly the most polished-looking bikes, we can see his point.

In the most recent quarter, Ducati’s sales figures in China plunged by 46 per cent, although that’s more down to general market complexities than home-grown, poorly-made facsimiles. China’s economy is rebounding strongly from its slump, so Milicia is confident of a reversal. 

“The Chinese market is not only very important for Ducati, but is one of the countries in the world where the brand is much appreciated,” he said, adding, “They love the red on two wheels, and there are a lot of collectors, there are a lot of actives we do there.

“I am sure that in the medium-long term, China will not just shine again but will become one of the top three markets in the world.”