Audi and Ducati A Match Made In Upscale Branding Heaven

According to a pair of industry insiders, Volkswagen’s Audi may finalize a deal to buy Italian motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding from owner Investindustrial by the end of next week.

When that deal is done, two of the major motoring brands would be uniquely positioned to offer drivers one – or a pair – of iconic branded products.

Two sexy motoring brands tie the knot. Audi purchase of Ducati nearly a done deal.

As Audi has now completed their review of Ducati’s finances, it’s now a matter of the two sides completing negotiations to work out details of the final agreement.

VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech initially began his quest to purchase Ducati back in April 2008, but that effort failed when Piech eventually lost a bidding war to the current owner of the Italian motorcycle maker, Investindustrial. The purchase of Ducati adds a missing link – a motorcycle manufacturing concern –  to the VW lineup of nine brands. Volkswagen currently owns Audi, Skoda and Lamborghini, along with heavy vehicle manufacturers Scania AB and MAN SE.

The addition of the Ducati brand would act as a complement to Audi’s luxury car lineup, and the crown jewel of that purchase would clearly be the 1199 Panigale S Tricolore, a sublime machine which has captured the imagination of the sportbike market segment.

Official spokespersons for Audi and Investindustrial declined to comment publicly, but expect the deal to be done before the month is out.

Investindustrial, one of the largest private equity investors in southern Europe, stand to pull in around three times the company’s initial investment as the sale of Ducati is completed.

Founded in 1926 by the Ducati brothers, Adriano, Bruno and Marcello, the original Ducati firm sold radio components. In 1946, the company began producing sportbikes for the burgeoning post-war Italian transportation market and was under the control of the Ducati family until 1950.

Investindustrial Holdings, bought the company in 2005 at a bargain-basement price.

The classic Italian marque notched an impressive 43% uptick in motorcycle sales in North American in 2011 over the previous year, and sales of the Diavel and Multistrada lines accounted for most of that increase. Last year also marked the first time in history the North American market was the number one outlet for the company, and the honchos at Audi were sure to find that an appealing prospect.

Ducati Monster Diesel

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