Currently reading: Audi-Ducati buyout – update
Mercedes says its formal tie-up with Ducati is still in place
Autocar
News
2 mins read
12 March 2012

Mercedes says its formal tie-up with Ducati is still in place and will remain valid unless the Italian bike company is sold.

Yesterday Audi was linked with a buyout of Ducati, even though the motorcycle firm has an existing marketing cooperation agreement with Merc offshoot AMG. That deal, established in 2010, was seen by many as a precursor to Mercedes purchasing Ducati.

But with Audi emerging as the favourite to to buy the firm – and take on its considerable debts – from parent company Ducati Motor Holding, a Mercedes spokesman said: "We have an agreement [with Ducati] and until such time that any purchase of Ducati is confirmed, either by Audi or anyone else, we will continue this agreement along the lines we have set out."

Volkswagen Group chiefs have remained similarly tight-lipped about the prospect of Audi buying the motorcycle brand. VW's chief executive Martin Winterkorn would not confirm or deny the rumour during yesterday morning’s VW Group profits press conference in Germany.

Ducati sells around 35,000 motorcycles per year. VW top brass have long been keen to add a motorcycle brand to their group’s portfolio, which includes Volkswagen cars, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen commercial vehicles and truck companies Scania and MAN.

A number of car makers, including Mini, Smart, Renault and Nissan, have moved towards offering two-wheelers or scooter-derived vehicles. BMW's Motorrad division has built motorcycles since the 1920s.

The trend is seen as a way of capturing both younger people who are unlikely to buy a new car until they are in their early 40s and offering branded and premium two-wheel mobility in the booming ‘megacities’ of developing nations.

The NSU name – once a major motorcycle brand – is also part of Audi, and there is said to be an outside chance that Audi may revive the badge for a new range of urban commuting vehicles.

Aside from the financial implications, a takeover by a major corporation such as VW would make sense for Ducati due to the huge advantages in terms of investment and access to new technology.

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Mikey D 16 March 2012

Re: VW tight-lipped on Audi-Ducati talk

+1...suppose Fiats and Alfa`a are still rust buckets as well..!!

Maxycat 15 March 2012

Re: VW tight-lipped on Audi-Ducati talk

toptidy wrote:
I just wish Ducati had made a proper modern sportsbike with a 4 cylinder engine
They did that a few years ago with the desmosedici.
toptidy wrote:
If they cannot find a backer maybe with their antiquated product line they should just follow BAS, Triumph, Norton and countless others..
The new Triumph company has proved to be very successful in terms of sales and journalists reviews. Ducati's current lineup is anything but outdated. Their Multistrada 1200 is one of the worlds best all round bikes and the just gone on sale 1199 Panigale is one of the fastest bikes available for between £15k and £24k.
toptidy wrote:
Over-rated, over-priced, over-strung - actually would suit Audi quite well on reflection.
Ducati make some very reasonably priced models as well as top spec race replicas and the idea that they are highly strung and fragile is a very dated view of Ducati.

toptidy 15 March 2012

Re: VW tight-lipped on Audi-Ducati talk

I liked the Alfa idea - at the end of the day all Ducatis are all twins and Fiat (owners of Alfa) have a new-ish Twinair in their range.

I just wish Ducati had made a proper modern sportsbike with a 4 cylinder engine so that the rules of Supertbikes did not have to be written to give them competitiveness.

They seem to have the revered status in competition on two wheels that Ferarri has on four wheels.

If they cannot find a backer maybe with their antiquated product line they should just follow BAS, Triumph, Norton and countless others...............

Over-rated, over-priced, over-strung - actually would suit Audi quite well on reflection.