It’s official, luxury automaker Audi is buying Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati. While details of the sale haven’t officially been disclosed, Reuters is reporting that Audi paid some €860 million for the Italian brand.
Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen Group, will be keen to take advantage of Ducati’s extensive know-how in small-capacity lightweight motors. Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG Rupert Stadler said of Ducati, “It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction… (making) Ducati an excellent fit for Audi.”
Despite Stadler’s optimism, analysts have questioned the move, as many believe that Ducati doesn’t really have anything to offer to Audi or the VW Group in general. “I can’t think of a concrete reason for Audi to warrant a business case for buying Ducati,” told Reuters, Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach. “Ducati doesn’t enhance Audi’s business model in any way, it’s just a trophy in the wall cabinet,” he added.
Ducati was founded in Bologna, Italy in 1926 by Adriano and Marcello Ducati and initially built parts for radios before starting to manufacture motorcycles in 1949. Last year, Ducati sold around 42 000 motorcycles and generated revenue of some €480 million, employing around 1 100 people.
When the purchase is finalised, Ducati will become the 12th company in the Volkswagen Group’s portfolio, which now includes everything from supercars to full-size trucks.