BERLIN, Germany - Volkswagen AG's Audi division said it agreed to buy Italian motorcycle maker Ducati, adding a 12th brand to the its portfolio of cars, trucks and ultra-luxury vehicles
The 20-member supervisory board of Europe's largest automaker approved
the purchase on Wednesday (April 17, 2012), Audi said. It did not
disclose details of the deal though sources told Reuters that the agreed
prices was about 860 million euros (R8.9-billion).
Ducati, which has won 13 rider's Superbike World championships since
1988, will extend Audi's long-standing rivalry with BMW to superbikes.
Rupert Stadler, Audi's chief executive, said: "As a sporty, global
premium brand, Ducati is an excellent fit for Audi."
GUNNING FOR BMW
Audi outsold Daimler's Mercedes-Benz in 2011 and has vowed to surpass BMW for the top spot in luxury car sales this decade.
Audi said it aimed to complete the purchase of Ducati from Italy's
Investindustrial as quickly as possible once it has received approval by
the relevant regulators.
Analysts have questioned
the Ducati purchase, saying the move bears no economic or industrial
logic and solely reflects Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech's passion
for the Italian company's expertise on design and light engines. Stefan
Bratzel, director of the Centre of Automotive at the University of
Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach, said: "I can't think of a
concrete reason for Audi to warrant a business case for buying Ducati.
"Ducati doesn't enhance Audi's business model in any way, it's just a trophy in the wall cabinet."
makes about 40 000 two-wheelers a year across its range of cruiser,
supermoto, adventure, naked and superbikes that include the muscular
Diavel and dual sport Hypermotard. By comparison, industry leader Honda
sold more than 16-million motorcycles in 2011.