Audi, VW’s premium brand bought Ducati in April for $1.12 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money if you start counting the zeros, but in the world of giant corporations like VW Ag , it’s simply not that significant.
So yes – Audi is now the new owner of Ducati. For years many automotive enthusiast expected this, expected this move made by Audi to buy or even to create a company that will build motorcycles.
You’re going to be reading about how VW wants to enable Audi to better compete with BMW by adding Ducati to its stable. Yes maybe – Ducati will start to compete with BMW Motorrad under some new directions. But for Audi that’s almost nothing; and also for BMW.
In 2011 BMW Group made $90 billion – and only $1.8 billion were from BMW Motorrad. On the same time Ducati sold 40,000 bikes last year, but VW sold over 8 million cars and trucks. So again not very relevant.
Other publications are talking about VW gaining technology from Ducati. That’s not the case at all. VW has so much money, it now has Porsche, and so is clearly not the case.
Marketing… again not the case. To quote Reuters – “a drop in the bucket”.
So what is then? People ambitions!
Yes – it was the ambition of VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech. He publicly expressed interest in buying Ducati in April 2008 before eventually losing out to Investindustrial.
Looks like Piech is a very ambitions person. In 2002 Piech wanted Volkswagen engineers to create a car that would surpass the German prestige market leaders, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. And in 2002 VW presented the Phaeton. It’s a great car – but VW never sold enough Phaetons.
Also, in 1998, under the direction of Piech, the VW Group purchased the Bugatti brand name. Again, ambition. After a series of concept cars, the 1001-hp Bugatti Veyron 16.4 arrived in 2005. It costs Bugatti’s parent company Volkswagen AG nearly $5 million to make one, but the company sells a Veyron for around $2.7 million. That’s a $2.3 million loss on each car, which doesn’t even consider the millions the company spent in car development.
“The Ducati deal shows that Piech is an engineer and engineers are sometimes like little babies,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen and one of the most influential observers of the German auto industry. “It’s a new toy.”