The final rubber stamp of approval to Audi AG’s acquisition of Ducati Motor Holding, the European Commission has cleared the transaction of any antitrust red tape. A deal that was over a year in the making, the German automaker bought the Italian motorcycle company for a cool €860 million, including debt. Positioning Audi, and its parent-company Volkswagen, to take-on the likes of the BMW Group, the deal was met with mixed-emotions in the automotive and motorcycling communities during its announcement.

The biggest question mark in the transaction is what exactly Audi plans on doing with the Ducati brand, as many view the transaction as simply a feather in the automaker’s cap (as was the case with TPG’s acquisition of Ducati in 1996). Though the VW Group has proven capable of handling premium Italian brands (e.g. Bugatti & Lamborghini), there has been some concern over how the Bologna brand will fit into the company’s overall structure. With some discounting any technical knowledge Ducati could teach Audi about small-displacement motors, the real boon for Audi in the transaction could reside elsewhere.

On aspect could come from averaged emission standards in Europe for vehicle manufacturers. With the EU cracking down on company-range wide CO2 emissions on vehicles, Ducati could help serve to lower Audi’s overall emissions score, in a similar fashion that BMW Motorrad affects BMW Automotive’s rating.

The reasoning could be even more simple than that though, as Audi could simply be looking at what BMW has been able to achieve with BMW Motorrad’s nearly quarter-million in yearly unit volume. Selling nearly 200,000 more units per year than Ducati, Audi could be seeing this marker as the growth potential of the Ducati brand, as the Italian company has an equally, if not stronger brand and more robust product line-up than its German counterpart.

A six-fold return on investment, now what company wouldn’t like that?

Source: European Commission via

  • Neil

    Good, now sign Hayden for another couple years with Ducati and make Bayliss his teammate in 2013 in MotoGp.

  • Mike

    No way jose on bayliss let’s keep the kentucky kid and grab Cal Critchlow w/ them 2 that will work.

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  • Gutterslob

    Diesel Desmo with Twattro all-wheel drive…. Coming soon to a Ducaudi dealer near you!!

  • JohnMc
  • Neil

    I know Bayliss has retired, it’s wishful thinking….I still would love to see him as Hayden’s teammate on the Motogp grid, I still think he could smoke ’em all on the Duc….lol…

  • Gutterslob

    Bayliss is a sorta “hero of the blue-collar people”, me thinks. Eats with his mechanics, never forgot where he came from (he was a spray-painter, I believe). Love the bloke, and I’m not even a Duc fan.

    Would be great seeing Baylistic ride again. Him winning the SBK season, then winning that one-off race in Valencia MotoGP the same year – gave me epic fuzzy feelings all over.

    Doubt it’ll happen though.

  • Michael

    Hayden and Crutchlow is my hope and prediction, and it doesn’t hurt that their respective countries are two of the biggest markets for Ducati and have the most growth potential for them with their current line-up.

  • smiler

    In the subsequent press photo……

    If you look at the picture. It is quite interesting.

    Ducati CEO Audi Suits
    Beeming smile No smiling
    Big red tie Small slightly dull coloured ties
    Blue suit Grey
    No glasses Glasses
    Holding arms No contact

    “Ducati stands for extraordinary engineering artistry, passion, precision, performance and the sheer joy of living”

    Audi stands for “progress with technology”. (Vorsprung durch Technik)

    Fiat should have bought them. Red will be banned from the colour range. Their bikes will likely never breakdown. There will be a GS competitor. The V2 will go because BMW use more efficient powerplants.
    Steel trellis will be replazed. In 5 years they will look like BMW?