Even with financial results showing that Ducati is a profitable brand, with the Italian manufacturer achieving operating return on sales of 9,5% in the first six months of the year, against 8,2% on the same period of 2017, Volkswagen AG chief executive officer Herbert Diess stunned the two-wheels world by leaving Ducati’s future in doubt.
According to Diess, “Either we find a way forward for Ducati, which provides some growth” and expand the brand, “or we have to look for a new ownership”, meaning that once again Ducati might be up for sale.
Just a year and a half ago, Volkswagen AG planned to sell Ducati, but that plan failed as labor unions decided against that sale. But since taking the job at VW, in April, Herbert Diess made no secret about his intentions, and now those intentions are becoming clearer than ever.
These comments from the boss of the Volkswagen group about Ducati leave the future of the iconic Italian brand hanging in the balance, and the financial results, in which Ducati is only surpassed by the results of Porsche inside the German group, seem to be made with the clear intention to tease potential buyers into making the deal.
Ducati was recently considered the most valuable motorcycle brand in the world, and potential buyers will need to pay millions to get hold of the Bologna based brand.
Potential buyers, if we take into account what happened a few months ago, might include Hero Motorcycles, Royal Enfield and also Bajaj, but the association of the Indian brand with Triumph will likely hamper Bajaj from reentering the race to buy Ducati.
Will Ducati be on sale again? Or will the Volkswagen group keep the second most profitable brand on their portfolio?