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Volkswagen’s seemingly inexorable progress towards automotive world domination continues apace with the latest news that the Audi group is all set to acquire Ducati from current owners Investindustrial Group.
The deal is done and just waiting formal approval by the competition authorities.
It’s not such a daft idea when you think about it. Audi’s forerunner, the DKW company started building its own motor cycles way back in the early 1900s. By the 1930s DKW was the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer before it merged with Audi, Horch and Wanderer in 1932 to create the Auto Union company, and has now been owned by VW since 1964.
The addition of Ducati to the brand makes perfect sense as Audi’s Chairman, Rupert Stadler, said: “Ducati has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles. It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi.”
Audi’s relentless rise from mediocrity to icon has been pretty spectacular over recent years and this latest move also makes sound marketing sense in this 21st century pursuit of ‘the perfect brand’ as it pitches Audi head to head with great rivals BMW.
The Volkswagen Group currently encompasses Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Scania, MAN and now Ducati.
Having pinched Jost Capito from Ford for their rally programme, what next, Paul Bird to run their MotoGP team?