If you are into motorcycles, and especially if you are into Ducati, then you have probably heard about the possible sale of the big red factory in Borgo, Panigale. This rumored sale was fueled by the fact that Volkswagen—the company that owns Audi, and subsequently Ducati—got into a lot of trouble last year. However, new developments might affect the possible sale of Ducati, but how will these changes affect fans of Italian motorcycles all over the world?
When Dieselgate Comes Home to Roost
You see, Ducati is owned by Audi—the luxury car manufacturer—and Audi is owned by Volkswagen AG. This has given Ducati an advantage over many other small motorcycle manufacturers in Europe. Using its resources, Audi rebuilt Ducati in a time when the company was listless yet still accomplishing some marginal success. It has since become a successful powerhouse, launching a new entry level bike line, and enjoying more racing success than it has in years. On top of this success the company is also profitable for VW AG, pulling in over €51 million profit in 2016. So, why would VW consider a sale of the iconic brand?
Last year, a scandal broke that rocked the automotive world. VW had been caught putting “defeat devices” in some of its diesel vehicles. These devices would allow the car to clean up its emissions during testing, essentially fooling regulators into thinking that the vehicles were more efficient than they were. The resulting fallout—now known as Dieselgate—is predicted to cost the company around $35 billion dollars in fines, legal fees and repairs. So, VW has been looking to cut the fat, and that has put Ducati on the chopping block, but there’s been a wrinkle in that plan.
Less than a year after Dieselgate landed, VW hasn’t seen the drop off in profits that it was anticipating. As a matter of fact, in the company’s Six-month operating reports, the group’s profits grew 19 percent to $10.46 billion. This has members on the supervisory board skeptical about plans to sell VW’s extra assets.
The labor leaders on the supervisory board hold half of the seats in the council that approves sales, and they say they won’t approve a sale of Ducati without better financial reasons. Another group of board members from the Porsche and Piech families tell sources that they are also against selling Ducati.
So for now, dreams of a Harley owned Ducati have been put to bed, as have all the rumors of other companies buying the manufacturer. It seems Ducati has found a good home under the wing of Audi.
From the motorcycling attorneys at the Metier Law Firm!