Ducati CEO Leaves the Door Open for a Scooter Model

03/10/2015 @ 6:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler31 COMMENTS

1965-ducati-brio

In a recent interview by Moto.it with Claudio Domenicali, the Ducati CEO fielded a number of questions about the Italian company’s business and its relationship with its German owners (read it here in Google English), but one question was of particular interest: a Ducati Scooter.

The often rumored, often debated, and often denied subject is perhaps the most feared topics for Ducatisti, and it ranks generally just below discussions on which oil to use, which tires are best, and how to break-in a motorcycle engine properly.

That being said, it seems we are headed for another round of debate, as Domenicali is quoted as saying the following to Moto.it: “a scooter marked Ducati is not blasphemy.”

Domenicali goes on to say that Ducati has never ruled out a scooter model, which isn’t exactly true; but since Ducati is a brand, it can be applied to virtually any commercial good, like a cup of coffee or even a scooter model (the two examples Domenicali gave Moto.it).

The key for Ducati, according to Domenicali, and something I have echoed in my own writings on the subject, is that any scooter from Borgo Panigale must hold true to Ducati’s core brand elements, i.e. high in performance, high in design, and high in product lust.

If Ducati can stick to those elements, the company should be able to produce any model it wants, especially now that the Ducati brand incorporates sport bikes, sport-cruisers, adventure-sports, and scramblers alike.

The Italians at Borgo Panigale may not call a Ducati scooter by the dreaded s-word, but a quick look at the BMW brand shows that a premium European motorcycle company can easily balance a couple scooter-type models within an already robust offering of other two-wheeled vehicles.

Of course, such models will have to make economic sense for Ducati to produce in the first place, but considering that huge swaths of the riding populations in Southeast Asia, India, China, and South America that ride small-displacement machines — many of which are just knock-offs of the venerable original Honda Cub design — Ducati will eventually have to get in to the game if it truly wants to be a global brand, not just a western one.

And when the Ducati brand does eventually go there, one can expect the Italian brand to draw deep connections to its long-lost product lines of generations before us, as it has done in “resurrecting” the Scrambler line, because as many forget…Ducati has already built a scooter model.

In the meantime, will we see a scooter unveiling during the fall trade shows? You certainly can’t rule it out, though we imagine we will see several other models from Ducati before we get to the s-word.

Source: Moto.it

  • ItalianMarque

    1st off!!! Are any relatives with the last name Ducati still involved in this brand or is it totally run by outsiders now???

  • Andrey

    Things are going from bad to worse.
    Ducati making a scooter is like Ferrari making an SUV. Proof that accountants are in too much control.
    Just because you can make money out of something, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. And those that argue against this can’t see past the end of their profiteering nose.

  • bigbug

    business mean to make money…. after all

  • AndrewF

    Porsche made SUV. It saved the company and though it came as a shock for the fans back then, it doesn’t seem like a big problem now. Bentley is getting ready with their SUV even as I type this. Ferrari might well get around to it one day too… so what? Is that Panigale going to ride any worse because Ducati also make a scooter?
    By the way, as the article says – Ducati made scooters in the past, back in the early 50s. Like it or not, scooters are in their DNA :)

  • zipidachimp

    before a scooter, bring back a modern 350/450 single, no plastic! and don’t pretend you’ve tossed the blueprints!!

  • MarkusGarvey

    Why not make a scooter?
    Can’t be more blasphemous than making a bicycle shaped object:
    http://www.ducati-bicycle.jp/lineup/image/top05.jpg

    Ok, on a serious note, are they really capable of making a dependable scooter?
    High maintenance products won’t fly in the south Asian market even if they are affordable.

  • paulus

    I think a scooter is quite possible. Vespa’s having huge sales success in SE Asian nations… no reason not to give the Ducati buying public another Italian option. There is also the possibility of more ‘non-traditional’ Ducati segments. Maybe a true off-roader in the future?

  • Bruce Almighty

    I see no issue with Ducati producing a scooter. Scooters designed right can have a certain “coolness” factor. I use an Aprilia SR50 Factory as a pit bike at the track, a place filled with hardcore sportbike guys. I get more requests to ride it and get more thumbs-up as I ride through the pits than I can count. Commenters on articles like this all act like they are too-cool for scooters, but give them a chance to ride one and they are all smiles.

    Incidentally, our local track has an annual end-of-season pitbike race. My SR50 has podiumed each of the last two years. Respect the scooter.

  • I would love to see Ducati build a scooter with MGP graphics, I’d probably buy one to park next to my S4.

  • Jake F.

    Why not? I’m sure they have bigger plans for their new Thailand factory than just the Scrambler. A cheaply built, mass-manufactured scooter with a Ducati label slapped on it sounds perfect.

  • AHA

    Actually there’s a lot of debate right now about whether or not Porsche ‘had’ to make the SUV. It seemed like a growth and profit no-brainer at the time but with hindsight, look how many clearly unprofitable model lines were started by VAG and Porsche (shared directors/Piech family etc) and the fact that all of Porsche’s sports cars have very healthy margins etc. Not quite so clear after all.

  • AHA

    +1

  • AHA

    Don’t forget a ‘scooter’ is one thing (let’s say: engine attached to swing arm, feet forward position and auto or semi-auto transmission) …and ‘small capacity’ is quite another. Who’s to say they won’t make a 700cc, or even 900cc or 1000cc, capacity ‘superscoot’ to trump BMW and the T-Max etc?

  • MrDefo

    Something that might make this a tricky proposition is that in the majority of Ducati dealers I’ve been inside in the United States anyway, they’re also a Vespa dealer. When Ducati comes out with the “killer” scooter, is Piaggio going to want to play ball with these dealers?

  • grahluk

    Honda & Yamaha both make all sorts of scooters and cheap small displacement bikes. They also leave Ducati for dead more often than not in MotoGP so producing both high tech wonder missiles and grocery getters for the masses can be achieved at once. However Honda & Yamaha’s brand is not dependent on being luxury status symbols of style & performance. Ducati could conceivably get away with selling a scooter but they would be treading a difficult path by putting out too many cheaply made (looking at you Scrambler) low end motos with the Ducati badge on it.

  • BBQdog

    @zipidachimp:disqus

    Agree, let them make a nice Supermono like they once promised.

  • Jack Meoph

    I don’t think there is any way in hell they can beat the Vespa 946 (except for power, which Vespa could put the 300cc in instead of the 150 and have the killer scoot), design wise. The 946 is one of the most beautiful 2 wheeled vehicles I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen just about every museum quality bike ever made. If I had the disposable income, I would have bought one in a heart beat, but it was not to be. I’m happy with my GTS 300 Super and my Monster 796, but damn the 946 is gorgeous. And yeah, a lot of Ducati dealers sell Vespa’s.

  • tony

    flash back to the rossi-hitler parody on youtube. f*ckin hilarious…

  • CortexUK

    I’d rather a 125cc sports bike for learners.

  • AndrewF

    That’s interesting and a fair point, but I think it might be a peculiarity limited to your neck of the woods. Over here Ducatis and Vespas are never (as far as I know) sold by the same dealer. Of course, USA is an important market for Ducati so that might still be a factor in their decision.

  • AndrewF

    Ducati could make a scooter and not make it cheap! Vespa got away with making a 125/150cc limited edition Vespa 946 and selling it for around $10,000 in the States…
    Yeah I thought it was ridiculous… 10 grand for a 150cc scooter??!? But there you go – it looks like they managed to move most of them.

  • Tom

    If done right, what is the problem? Aprilia makes race bikes and scooters. Ducati can as well. After all, Ducati didn’t start out as motorcycle manufacturers. As long as the ethos is there, any product can be from Ducati.

  • Piglet2010

    I would buy a Honda PCX150 over the Vespa 946 if they both cost the same – the Honda looks better, has to cost less to run, and most importantly has storage under the seat.

  • tony

    any product tom? razor blades? can openers? how about onesies for the babies? oh wait…sorry…

  • Tom

    Bicycles?

  • El Apestoso

    Don’t see why they shouldn’t bring back the Brio, or the Piuma for that matter.

  • El Apestoso

    So Ferrari used to make SUVs? Ducati has made both scooters and mopeds in the past, no reason why they can’t do it again. Recall how much the Ducatisti hated the Monster in the beginning, yet without those abominations that so offended the snooty sensibilities of Ducastisti, the company would’ve shut down completely by about the year 2000.

  • crshnbrn

    I want to see video proof of the whole race start to finish.

  • Westward

    I too would welcome a 125cc bike and a 300cc version from Ducati. Now that Yamaha, Honda, and Kawasaki have these variations, I can see random racing leagues sprouting up all over the place… A new generation of racers will emerge…

  • Trane Francks

    “Commenters on articles like this all act like they are too-cool for scooters, but give them a chance to ride one and they are all smiles.”

    Back in my parts manager days, I did, in fact, nearly wheelie a Vespa over backwards. Despite my feat of hooliganism with the beast, however, I simply cannot say that I was all smiles. I don’t begrudge those who like scooters. I just don’t like ’em. At all.

  • Trane Francks

    This. Absolutely, especially given Ducati’s history with wonderfully sporty small-displacement singles and twins. I saw a 400cc Monster not so long ago that looked and sounded beautiful.