The diesel emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen to the tune of tens of billions of dollars last year continues to send shock waves throughout the company. VW has all but cancelled its entire diesel vehicle line-up, its subsidiary, Audi, has cancelled its all-conquering LeMans program, and now, rumor are swirling that Volkswagen will sell off the storied Ducati motorcycle brand in a bid to “refocus” its R&D operations on an electric future.
Despite the fairly easy-to-draw lines connecting the Ducati sale to Dieselgate, however, sources at Reuters think something else might be behind the move. “Analysts questioned Audi’s purchase of Ducati when it was announced in April 2012,” says Reuters. “(They were) saying the deal had no economic or industrial logic and just reflected former VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech‘s passion for the Italian company’s expertise on design and light engines.”
Now that Piech is out at both Volkswagen and Porsche- like, selling his shares, capital “O” out-level Out- the company doesn’t have to appease Piech anymore. As such, expecting ultra light, Ducati-engined sporty car projects and world-beating super bikes to go by the wayside would be par of the course under any new VW regime. Under one so badly stung by Piech’s push for performance?
Yeah- say, “Goodbye!” to Ducati, VW kids.
Who Would Want Ducati?
One source claims that Ducati could fetch a valuation of up to 1.5 billion Euros. That’s nearly 15 times its core annual earnings – a multiple similar to what Italian firm Fiat got for its super car brand, Ferrari. At that price, Ducati might be attractive to India’s Hero motorcycle company, as well as Chinese money. “It is an asset for trophy buyers with bigger interest in the brand than in the technology,” alleges Reuters’ unnamed source.
What do you guys think? Could a Chinese-owned Ducati fare any better than a German-owned one? And, before you dismiss that idea, consider the product renaissance happening at Volvo. Think it over, then let us know what you think of Ducati’s future prospects in the comments section.
Source: Reuters, via Autoblog.