Two Wheels

Volkswagen reportedly considering selling Ducati

Audi bought the Italian motorbike maker back in 2012.

After shelving numerous motorsport programs and putting less-successful model variants on the firing line, Volkswagen is reportedly considering selling off Ducati, its motorcycle division. Ducati joined the Volkswagen Group under Audi in 2012, and it could be valued as high as 1.5 billion euros. Five years ago, Audi paid roughly $935 million for the motorcycle brand, sources said to Reuters. In 2016, Ducati's sales were worth 593 million euros, or nearly $644 million.

There isn't a concrete buyer yet set for the deal, and neither Volkswagen or Audi chose to comment on the matter. Neither did Evercore, the investment banking advisory firm selected to evaluate Volkswagen's options on Ducati ownership.

The logic behind jettisoning Ducati is likely to be the same as canceling Audi's LeMans program and VW's WRC racing efforts: Volkswagen is focusing on an electric mobility future, as the shadow of Dieselgate stretches far into the coming years. As Reuters says, the original 2012 Ducati deal may have been a Ferdinand Piech vanity project: "Analysts questioned Audi's purchase of Ducati when it was announced in April 2012, 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."

Piech is now, however, out at Volkswagen and is also selling a major part of his Porsche stock, making it easier for Volkswagen to ditch the Italian bike brand. Reuters' sources mentioned interested parties as being Chinese or Indian, or interestingly, the consortium led by Prodrive's David Richards which acquired Aston Martin a decade ago.

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