Ducati's not for sale: VW to keep hold of Italian brand

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Car giants Volkswagen have confirmed that it will not be selling the Ducati brand at a meeting of their supervisory board.

Rumours have been circulating that the motorcycle marque, which has been owned by VW since 2012, would be sold off, possibly as part of a package with fellow Italian company Lamborghini.

A statement from the meeting said: “There is agreement on the Board that Lamborghini and Ducati will remain part of the Volkswagen Group.”

Related articles on MCN

Volkswagen board says Ducati not for sale (2017)

First published on 10 October, 2017 by Liam Marsden

Ducati logo

Persistent opposition from labour groups has put the brakes on the sale of Ducati by Volkswagen AG, a union spokesperson has told Bloomberg.

Regional head of FIOM CIGL union, Bruno Papignani told Bloomberg: “Ducati’s CEO told workers that the VW supervisory board decided to halt the sale process. IG Metall sustained and helped Ducati workers in their request to remain inside the VW group which should keep investing in our company.”

Rumours circulated in June this year that Harley-Davidson were preparing a bid to takeover Ducati after hiring Goldman Sachs to work on the deal. Earlier this year, in August, a report from Reuters claimed Volkswagen’s supervisory board, which is made up of an equal split between corporate management and workforce representatives, saw no reason to sell.

“The employee representatives on Volkswagen’s supervisory board will neither approve a sale of Ducati, nor one of Renk or MAN Diesel & Turbo,” a spokesman for VW group’s works council told Reuters in August. “Everyone who can read the VW half-year results should know: We don’t need money and our subsidiaries are not up for grabs by bargain hunters.” The potential sale also did not receive support from the Porsche or Piech families, who own a controlling 52% voting share in Volkswagen.

Speculation surrounding Ducati’s future under Volkswagen has been rife for over a year, after Volkswagen admitted it had cheated on emissions tests on as many as 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.

Harley-Davidson are believed to be interested in Ducati, with Baja, Eicher Motors and Hero Motorcorp also rumoured to be interested.

Audi purchased Ducati from Italian equity firm InvestIndustrial for $962 million (£726 million) in 2012. Ducati had sales of €593 million (£530 million) in 2016 with 55,451 units sold, representing a sales growth of 1.2%.

VW Group prepared to sell Ducati to raise cash (2015)

First published on 4 December, 2015 by Andy Downes

VW Group flags

VW Group insiders have claimed the troubled automotive giant is prepared to sell off parts of the huge company if it needs the cash to repay a £14.45 billion loan taken out to help finances in the growing emissions crisis.

According to Reuters news VW Group sources have said the company will be willing to sell off parts of the company if it needs to but it’s thought selling Ducati will raise so little cash when compared to the tens of billions needed to deal with the emissions crisis this is not immediately likely.

Selling off parts of the company could include Ducati which was bought by VW Group and direct parent company Audi in 2012 for £708 million and has invested a fair bit of cash into the Italian bike manufacturer. Ducati is in an even better place financially than it was when it was purchased back in 2012 but the company is unlikely to be worth much more than £1billion.

A more likely course of action would see VW Group sell off some of the parts of other elements of the vast, sprawling company.

Reuters’ story states: “Listings of divisions such as Audi, Porsche or its truck business – which is being carved out now – seem unlikely, but the non-truck parts of VW’s MAN (MANG.DE) subsidiary are expected to be at the top of the list of potential divestments, the people said.

The MAN power engineering operations, whose products include ship engines, mini power plants, special gear units, propulsion components and testing systems may be valued at 4-5 billion euros in a potential deal, the people said.

The division accounted for all of MAN’s 101 million euro nine-month operating group profit and for more than a quarter of its 9.98 billion in sales.

“Volkswagen may also consider divesting luxury car brands Bentley and Lamborghini or motor bike brand Ducati, although these units don’t really move the needle,” one of the sources said.

Ducati will ride out VW crisis (2015)

First published on 9 December, 2015 by Andy Downes

Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali

Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali has officially rubbished suggestions that the firm could see its funding dry up in the wake of parent company VW Group facing a huge financial burden as it attempts to recover from the emissions scandal.

The VW Group is still reeling from ‘Dieselgate’, which saw the company caught out by American authorities for deliberately programming cars to cheat emissions testing. The result has seen a huge internal investigation, the removal of many top bosses and a slashing of costs to try and go some way to offsetting the enormous fines that will be imposed by America, the costs to recall and fix the cars affected, and the loss of share value in VW Group.

Ducati was bought by VW Group in 2012 and it was directly because of the love of motorcycles and in particular Ducati by former VW Group boss Ferdinand Piech. He has now stepped down from running the company as a result of the emissions scandal.

Ducati is under the direct ownership of Audi, just one arm of the group that owns Volkswagen Passenger Cars, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN trucks. It’s one of the world’s largest automotive companies.

Domenicali told MCN: “This situation has created a massive discussion and rethinking for all of us, but Ducati is still independent of central financing and we are the only two-wheeled part of the group.

“Ducati are showing good profits and we are not in need of support or investment from the VW Group. We have a five-year plan for new models and nothing that has happened recently will change that. Ducati fans can relax.

“We have a detailed plan laid out in terms of new bike development and the recent events won’t change that because while we are part of the VW Group of course, we remain financially self-reliant.

“There have been some comments about the Scrambler being a lower profit bike for us but this is not accurate. While the selling price is lower, the cost to build the bike is a lot lower so we still make good profit on each bike.”

What Ducati’s Chief Executive Officer wouldn’t be drawn on, and is far less certain, is whether the VW Group will consider selling-off Ducati. VW Group is huge, but selling the blossoming Italian brand could liberate around £1billion (they paid £708 million in 2012), which may be seen as an attractive cash injection at this time, but it’s not thought this is immediately likely.

Volkswagen: We don’t want Ducati or Suzuki (2009)

First published on 17 September, 2009 by Chris Newbigging

Car manufacturing giants Volkswagen have dismissed rumours that they intend to buy Ducati – and have also denied they are interested in Suzuki Motor.

VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn revealed that neither Suzuki or Ducati will be targeted in the firm’s plans to expand its portfolio of brands from 10 to 12, ending ongoing speculation that the Italian firm would be swallowed in to the VW empire.

Volkswagen to become motorcycle manufacturer? (2008)

First published on 18 April, 2008 by Liam Marsden

VW logo on building

Volkswagens chairman Ferdinand Piech has told German magazine Stern that he is still interested in buying a motorcycle manufacturer in an interview with his cousin Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the Porsche supervisory board.

“I would still like a small, valuable motorcycle manufacturer.” He told the magazine. Piech also said that he still regrets missing out on the opportunity to buy Ducati in 1985 when they were in trouble and a buyer could have acquired it very cheaply.

Cagiva eventually bought Ducati in 1985 and planned to re-brand them as Cagiva, but the decision was made to keep the Ducati name. 71-year-old Piech said: “I myself ride a Ducati. 180 horses and more power per kilogram than a 1,001 bhp Bugatti.”

If Piech is hinting at buying Ducati, then perhaps in the near future we can expect to see Ducati’s with all the usual Italian flare, but with a hint of German refinement.