PH2: AUDI BUYS DUCATI
Sale rumours have been going around for a while; now Audi emerges as the new owner
It has been common news in recent months that Investindustrial Group, who owned Ducati, were looking at off-loading the company and Audi has stepped in to snap up the legendary brand.
One of the obvious reasons for Audi getting hold of Ducati is that it now has a bike brand to take on the bikes made by key rival BMW, but experts have questioned the logic of such a move, suggesting that the acquisition of Ducati is tantamount to a vanity purchase.
"I can't think of a concrete reason for Audi to warrant a business case for buying Ducati," Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach, told Reuters news agency. "Ducati doesn't enhance Audi's business model in any way, it's just a trophy in the wall cabinet."
Buying Ducati also comes with a price - the bike maker, which builds 40,000 vehicles a year, carries with it 200 million euros (£164m) of debt. Still, with pockets as deep as Audi's and the VW Group's, that's little more than loose change...
Audi obviously see the value of Ducati, too. "Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles," said Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. "It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world's most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi."
Additional reporting by PH2's own Jon Urry