After weeks of rumors, Audi AG has finally announced their acquisition of Ducati Motor Holding today. The supervisory boards at Volkswagen and Audi approved the acquisition today in Hamburg Germany. Ducati is the third major brand acquired under the Audi AG group which includes Lamborghini and Italdesign. Audi would like us all to believe that the purchase of Ducati would provide Audi with specific knowledge in various engine and lightweight design practices, but in reality Ducati is one of the brands Dr. Ferdinand Piech, VW AG advisory board member, has been after for years. Dr. Piech has said often in the past that he would like to purchase Ducati and has caused the rumor mill to churn quite a few times over the last 15 years. Well, it looks like his wish is complete.
For the Ducatista out there that are worried sick over this buyout, we say fret not. Audi/Volkswagen Group has done a nice job giving Lamborghini the boost financially that it needed to bring its product line up to date. Ducati is in far better shape with their current product lineup, but Audi can still offer quite a bit in regards to engineering resources, wind tunnel expertise, aluminum and carbon fiber experience and much more. And that’s without getting into how a little cash and engineering help could certain lend the Ducati MotoGP team some much needed help. Lamborghini has flourished under Audi’s umbrella and we expect Ducati will as well.
So will the AMG logos on the nose of the current Ducati MotoGP bike be replaced with four rings next week? We’ll see….
The Audi AG press release follows below…
AUDI AG is acquiring from Investindustrial Group the tradition-steeped Italian sports motorcycle manufacturer Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A., which has its registered office in Bologna. The transaction will be completed as quickly as possible once authorized by the competition authorities. The Supervisory Boards of AUDI AG and Volkswagen AG approved the acquisition today in Hamburg. Ducati is known worldwide as a leading brand in motorcycle manufacture, with outstanding expertise in engine development and lightweight construction.
Alongside the traditional Italian brands Lamborghini and Italdesign, Ducati is now a third pillar for AUDI AG in Northern Italy. Another building block in the Company’s growth strategy thus falls into place. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, declared: “Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles. 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.” The progressive control systems and special combustion chamber process of Ducati engines, their resulting sporty character, and Ducati’s extensive know-how in lightweight construction thus offer great potential for AUDI AG and the Volkswagen Group.
Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council of AUDI AG, explains that the employee representatives of AUDI AG support the Company’s sustainable, co-determined growth strategy. “We must use the opportunities offered by globalization for Audi – and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Everyone at Audi is looking forward to working with our new colleagues from Ducati,” commented Mosch.
Ducati is a globally active company and has manufacturing operations at its headquarters in Bologna and at its own factory in Thailand. It maintains a series of importer companies in strategic markets. Experts predict that the motorcycle market will enjoy strong growth over the next few years, especially in Asia. In 2011, Ducati sold around 42,000 motorcycles and generated revenue of some €480 million, employing around 1,100 people.
The company was founded by Adriano and Marcello Ducati in Bologna in 1926. Known originally as Società Scientifica Radiobrevetti Ducati, it initially built parts for radios. It ventured into the manufacture of motorcycles in 1949.
Ducati has been actively involved in motorcycle racing for many decades through its racing division Ducati Corse. Its racing activities are currently focused on the Ducati official factory team in the MotoGP class of the Motorcycle World Championship and in the Superbike World Championship, supporting competitive private teams. Ducati won the manufacturers’ championship in this latter class 17 times in 21 championships and the pilots’ 14 times.
Special thanks to Battley Cycles for providing a Ducati Diavel to shoot with the Audi R8.