Hey, That's My Bike! Sale of Ducati Shelved by Audi CEO

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Like an overspending spouse whose partner has commanded they sell their toys to pay off debts, Volkswagen put all its options on the table earlier this year in a bid to raise some cash.

After mulling a sale of Ducati during the darkest days of Dieselgate, VW now plans to hang on to the brand. Recently taking action to curb costs and cut red tape, chief executive Rupert Stadler said the company is “gradually increasing our financial and organizational leeway.” Sounds like VW has found a few more coins amid the couch cushions.

Reuters reports Stadler has said there is no longer any economic need to sell Ducati, after asking The Man earlier this year to investigate options for raising funds. Saddled with the bills from its emissions scandal, the company went into full penny-pinching mode after shovelling over $20 billion to the United States in a bid to pay for its dark, sooty, diesel sins.

“I can assure you that Ducati belongs to the Audi family,” said Stadler. “Ducati is the perfect implementation of our premium philosophy in the world of motorbikes.”

Knee-deep in expensive zero-emissions projects and autonomous driving efforts, the auto maker needs all the dough it can get. Both the Ducati and Lamborghini lines are big cash cows for the company, as their lucrative profits help to pad the financial ledger in times of heavy cash outflow elsewhere in the organization.

Volkswagen Group’s Audi brand purchased Ducati for just under $1 billion in 2012, nearly 20 years after ex-VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch, a motorcycle enthusiast, passed on an earlier chance. Up to that point, the company had been passed around like a hot potato, having been bought and sold several times.

The real news, of course, is the expected arrival in 2019 of a Ducati section within the Mirabilandia theme park in Italy. Mirabilandia is like an Italian Disney World, except with what I imagine would be a lot more wine. Like the Ferrari park in Abu Dhabi, rollercoasters and simulators are planned, along with a Ducati showroom. A Ducati-themed park means, of course, that the rides will be costly to buy, temperamental to use, and expensive to repair.

However, it’ll look gorgeous and capture your heart during the three days of the year it’s running correctly.

[Image: Audi AG]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Dec 12, 2017

    "Ducati-themed park" I wonder what the Diavel ride will be like? Brutally fact acceleration then brutally hard deceleration due to a bunch of typical cruisers in the way?

  • IHateCars IHateCars on Dec 13, 2017

    "A Ducati-themed park means, of course, that the rides will be costly to buy, temperamental to use, and expensive to repair." Lol....funny but no longer true. Modern Ducatis may be marginally more expensive to buy new (special editions notwithstanding)but they are as reliable as your typical Japanese sportbike. Both my Diavel and Panigale have been pretty much trouble-free and parts prices (both OE and aftermarket) are about on par with R1s, CBRs and S1000RRs.

  • ShitHead It kicked on one time for me when a car abruptly turned into my lane. Worked as advertised. I was already about to lean into the brake as I was into the horn.
  • Theflyersfan I look at that front and I have to believe that BMW and Genesis designers look at that and go "wow...that's a little much." Rest of the car looks really good - they nailed the evolution of the previous design quite well. They didn't have to reinvent the wheel - when people want a Mustang, I don't think they are going to cross-shop because they know what they want.
  • Theflyersfan Winters go on around Halloween and Summers go on in late March or early April. However, there were some very cold mornings right after the summers went on that had me skidding a bit due to no grip! I do enough (ahem) spirited driving on empty hilly/mountain roads to justify a set of sticky rubber, and winters are a must as while there isn't much snow where I am (three dustings of snow this entire winter), I head to areas that get a bit more snow and winter tires turns that light, RWD car into a snow beast!
  • SCE to AUX My B5.5 was terrible, but maybe the bugs have been worked out of this one.
  • Zerofoo 5-valve 1.8T - and OK engine if you aren't in a hurry. These turbocharged engines had lots of lag - and the automatic transmission didn't help.Count on putting a timing belt on this immediately. The timing belt service interval, officially, was 100,000 miles and many didn't make it to that.