Time to get rid of unnecessary baggage.
A few years ago, the industry raised an eyebrow when Volkswagen’s Audi division bought Italian motorcycle company Ducati for around $935 million. What the heck did Audi want with motorcycles? It was likely because Ducati is an expert at designing and engineering small, lightweight, powerful gasoline engines. And, not to mention, the Ducati nameplate is immensely valuable. However, Reuters is now reporting that VW is looking into the possibility of selling Ducati as it continues to reduce spending in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal.
Along with eliminating thousands of jobs, VW needs to watch its cash flow not only because of Dieselgate payouts, but also because it’s in the process of a "multibillion-euro shift to embrace electric cars and new mobility services." None of the brands involved commented on the matter, but Ducati’s possible sale isn’t a sure thing just yet. At the moment, VW has merely sent out feelers to potential buyers in order to gauge interest. Ducati, for its part, "made annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of roughly 100 million euros and could fetch a valuation of up to 1.5 billion euros," according to an unnamed source.
It was now former VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech who made the decision to buy Ducati. He was also the force behind VW’s purchase of Lamborghini several years before and, of course, the decision to do the Bugatti Veyron. Piech is known to have a passion for exclusive, and notably Italian, brands. Now that Piech has sold his remaining shares of VW and seems to be done with the company for good, it appears parts of his legacy could also be on its way out too.