Audi to buy Ducati?
It's been, ooh, months since VW Group tried to buy an automotive brand and the credit card is clearly burning a hole in their pocket.
Like a shopaholic feeling the need for a new pair of shoes, VW feels the need to buy something new. However, there are not many available car brands left, so Ducati is the favourite. Why? Well, BMW has a premium motorcycle brand, and like all small children, sorry international business titans, everywhere, they want whatever the other one has got.
It is no secret that, Ducati's parent company, Investindustrial, is interested in selling, not least because of Ducati's €800 million debt. Other names linked to the Italian brand are India's Mahindra and Mercedes-Benz, whose AMG division already has marketing agreements with Ducati (although Mercedes has denied interest). Overall VW's Audi division is thought to be in pole position.
Audi thinks that Ducati will burnish its performance credibility. Having already bought Lamborghini and created the seminal R8, it is hard to see what further burnishing is required. However, like the must-have shoes destined to join the other 100 pairs in the wardrobe, there may be a bit of self-justification going on.
Some wags have pointed out that VW supremo Ferdinand Piech is about to celebrate his 75th birthday and he is a big Ducati fan. The self-effacing Piech buying the whole company when he could just mark an occasion by buying one of its products? Surely not.