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VW tries to sell Ducati | Manufacture News | News

Many regarded Mercedes AMG’s decision to buy into MV Agusta as a direct response to rival car firm Volkswagen’s outright purchase of Ducati in 2012. Now VW is trying to sell up.

VW’s Audi subsidiary bought Ducati when Ferdinand Piech – known to be a long-time Ducati fan – was still running the Volkswagen Group. Now he’s long since been deposed and VW is dealing with the repercussions of the dieselgate scandal. It had to recall millions of cars worldwide for modifications, and it had to buy back hundreds of thousands of vehicles that can’t economically be made to pass emissions limits. It also still faces fines that are likely to amount to several billion dollars.

While the €1.4 billion (A$2.06b) VW values Ducati at is a relative drop in the ocean in the overall scheme of things, the fact that making bikes is not a core part of VW’s business means it makes sense to sell. The company paid about €860 million (A$1.2b) for Ducati in 2012.

The latest frontrunner in the battle to buy Ducati is Indian bike firm Bajaj. Although not mentioning Ducati specifically, managing director Rajiv Bajaj said: “We are very close to finalising a very promising alliance. It’s not certain that it will happen, but if it happens it will open up enormous possibilities for the company.”

Bajaj is already a 48 per cent shareholder in KTM and builds the firm’s smaller single-cylinder models in India.

However, it is not the only interested party. Fellow Indian firms Eicher Motors (owner of Royal Enfield) and Hero MotoCorp are both rumoured to have put in bids for Ducati. American firm Polaris, owner of Indian, is also believed to have shown interest. Harley-Davidson, at one stage at short odds, appears to have pulled out of the running.

Non-bike-related investment funds are also showing interest. Edizione Holding, owned by the Benetton family, is reported to have placed a €1.2 billion ($A1.75b) bid, and even Ducati’s former owner Investindustrial is said to be interested in buying the company back.  

By Ben Purvis