Better believe it if what we’re hearing is true. Volkswagen’s subsidiary Audi plans to announce the acquisition of Ducati next week, having completed a due diligence assessment of the Italian motorcycle manufacturer. Audi encountered no major stumbling blocks when checking Ducati’s books, sources said on Wednesday. The purchase could be announced as early as April 18, a day before VW’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Hamburg.
A successful deal would fuel Audi’s long-standing rivalry with Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) in superbikes, and add expertise in high-revving light engines to VW’s engineering portfolio, which ranges from cars and heavy trucks to ship engines. In 2005, Audi tried to buy Ducati from former owner Texas Pacific Group but was trumped by rival bidder Investindustrial. Ducati, founded in 1926, has scored 17 manufacturer’s World Championship titles, most recently winning the 2011 World Superbike Championship title. For Audi, whose Ingolstadt headquarters have become a key research and development center for lightweight fuel saving technologies, Ducati’s engine technology could add a new development dimension.
Audi has also owned Lamborghini since 1998 and together with the Italian supercar manufacturer has been producing lower weight vehicles by increasing the share of components made of carbon fiber. Ducati’s technical expertise would be an added feather in the Audi/VW cap.
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