IT'S (PRACTICALLY) OFFICIAL! Audi has agreed to buy Italian motorcycle maker Ducati.
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."
Ducati 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.