The grey men of the financial press have a bit of a moto-scoop this morning, with news that Volkswagen might be considering selling off Ducati. VW of course bought the Bologna bike firm five years ago, and has been running it under its premium/performance brand Audi ever since, with some success.
But now, according to Reuters, VW has reportedly contracted a ‘boutique private bank’, Evercore, to look into offloading the sole two-wheeled brand in the VW stable. The move is seen as part of VW’s attempts to restructure, following the furore over its ‘cheating’ diesel engines. A storm erupted when the firm was found to be using special software in car ECUs that was designed to beat emissions rules. VW looks set to pay out billions in fines and recompense to governments and end-users, particularly in the US.
VW insists it’s not taken any decisions on Ducati’s future as yet - and is merely investigating its options. Analysts suggest the firm might be worth between €1 billion and €1.5 billion Euros if sold off, with a stock market flotation as another option for VW. Potential buyers might include giants like Hero of India, where Ducati has made great strides in recent years, or one of the big Chinese manufacturers, looking to pick up a super-premium brand for, perhaps, a bargain price.
There’s been no official announcement as yet from either Audi or Ducati.
Many car industry insiders questioned the wisdom of owning Ducati for VW when the deal was announced, with the suggestion being that the sale was down to the passion of the then-CEO and top petrol head Ferdinand Piech. Piech is off now though, and it seems like the grey men of the VW accounts department are asking what the loud, red beastie in the lockup is all about…