PH2: Audi buys Ducati

Audi has bought Italian motorcycle maker Ducati for a reported 860 million euros (£704m). The supervisory board of VW Group approved the purchased on Wednesday, according to an Audi statement.

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.

The Ingolstadt car firm also said it was looking to complete the purchase as soon as possible, bringing the bike maker - which has own 13 superbike championships since 1988 - into the VW fold as the company's 12th 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


P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (104) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Mr Noble 19 Apr 2012

    Good thing? Bad thing? I don't know. But it'll certainly add stability and keep Ducati going strong for many years to come. Lets just hope they keep the current designers on - the Panigale is stunning!! cloud9

  • ducnick 19 Apr 2012

    A new range of special edition "Ducati" VW Golf's by next year, or VW switch gear and Passat wing mirrors on the next gen superbike? Either way its got to be a bad thing.
    As far as I can tell there is only one "synergy", and that is a shared philosophy to make it understeer by nature.

    Edited by ducnick on Thursday 19th April 10:48

  • PaulMoor 19 Apr 2012

    ducnick said:
    A new range of special edition "Ducati" VW Golf's by next year, or VW switch gear and Passat wing mirrors on the next gen superbike? Either way its got to be a bad thing.
    They can't be any worse than the indicator mirrors they have at the moment.

    Personaly I think it can't be anything but a good thing. It's not like Lamborghini have suffered , except in the mind of those few who think they should have kepped making anachronistic impossible to drive hypercars.

    Hopefully they will build a viable BMW alternative, and also make BMW up there game a little. However I can't see what Audi have to gain from this, its not like anyone ever had the choice between an A4 and a 320tdi and said "I'll buy the 320 because I hear the K1300 is a realy good bike"

  • Craiglamuffin 19 Apr 2012

    Will this count toward their average emissions figure? Sort of like an Aston Martin Cygnet approach to getting the average down?

  • uncle tez 19 Apr 2012

    Does this mean that all ducatis from now on will all look the same ?

View all comments in the forums Make a comment