Sigh. Here we go again. Just in time for the fall moto show season, we’re once again seeing the semi-annual rumours that Ducati is up for sale.
This time around, it’s Reuters that started the rumour. According to a piece on the news organization’s website, “three people familiar with the matter” told Reuters that its parent company Volkswagen is supposedly looking to offload the motorcycle manufacturer. The move supposedly comes as VW wants to chart out its long-term future. As the company works on a five-year business plan, it’s looking to perhaps offload its motorcycle-building subsidiary.
Is there any truth to the report? Probably, although Reuters didn’t name its source for obvious reasons. It’s not the first time VW’s supposedly wanted to sell of the brand. The reality is, to a big company like VW, Ducati is just an asset that can be bought and sold off as needed. When VW bought Ducati, there was considerable speculation it was tied to the company’s emissions balance sheet. Supposedly, Ducati was attractive to VW because its vehicles produced low emissions, and the company needed that to offset the SUVs and other gas pigs built by its other divisions.
That sounds like far-out speculation because some of VW’s cars probably produce less emissions than a lot of motorcycles. However, it’s true that Volkswagen, like many other automakers, is pivoting towards electric car production, as Reuters points out. That means more zero-emissions vehicles, and less need for low-emissions motorcycles, if that really was VW’s reasoning behind the Ducati purchase. There’s also the reality that, in a post-COVID world, everyone would like to have as much extra cash laying around as possible.
Who’d be interested in buying Ducati? It’s hard to say, but it would probably be a step backwards for the company. Since VW bought Ducati in 2012, the company’s racing program has seen plenty of improvement, and it’s had stability that it often lacked over the decades. A shaky buyer could bring back the bad days of iffy finances, and that’s the last thing any luxury moto maker needs in these uncertain times.