The past few years have seen Italian brand, Ducati, make headlines for more than just their high performance motorcycles. Numerous rumours about Ducati being sold by its German parent, the Volkswagen Group, have been circulating. Last year, brands like Royal Enfield, Bajaj and Harley Davidson were rumoured to be in talks to acquire the brand.
The VW Group boasts of an automotive empire that includes Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Scania, Man Trucks, VW Commercial Vehicles, and the Volkswagen brand itself, apart from Ducati. There has been no shortage of speculation that the Volkswagen AG are looking to streamline their production and focus on cars, especially electric vehicles. The Dieselgate scandal put these plans into overdrive. Earlier attempts at selling the Italian marque had ended by the labour union voting against it.
This time however, things are different. It’s not someone at the VW Group bringing up the issue of parting ways with the Italian two-wheeler manufacturer. KTM CEO, Stefan Pierer, in an interview with German publication Speedweek, said that he is looking to acquire Ducati.
According to Pierer, while KTM’s partner brand Bajaj Auto is looking to add another motorcycle brand to the portfolio and is eyeing Triumph, he is dead-set on Ducati. “I have an emotional relationship with Ducati. Ducati is Ducati, there’s nothing to shake about that. The only brand that would fit us is Ducati. Everything else you can forget.”
Bajaj, last year entered into a non-equity partnership with Triumph Motorcycles to develop mid-capacity bikes. While we’re yet to see a product from that alliance, it will be interesting to see what the probable KTM-Ducati acquisition would mean, and whether the brands will share technology with each other.
Pierer also told the German publication that he aims to bring KTM (and associated brands) into the position of third largest motorcycle manufacturer, behind Honda and Yamaha.
KTM acquired rival brand Husqvarna back in 2013 and have been very involved in their technology. Some KTM and Husqvarna motorcycles today, share the same engines and chassis. This leads us to wonder how much of an involvement KTM will have in the Desmo lineup if the deal were to go through. Only time will tell.