Is the iconic Ducati motorcycle brand up for sale?

Rumours it was the case first surfaced about a year ago, then died down, but Volkswagen, which owns Ducati, is still punchdrunk after the 2015 dieselgate scandal and its associated multi-billion dollar losses.

In the latest development VW chief executive Herbert Diess seemed to suggest that Ducati was among its assets that might be sold off.

“Either we find a way forward for Ducati, or we have to look for a new ownership,” Diess said at a media day.

“In its current form, our company is not sustainable.”

Which suggests one or more of its subsidiaries may very well be on the chopping block.

The VW Group, apart from its own comprehensive range of vehicles, owns Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ducati, Scania and MAN.

Another statement from the Volkswagen Group did not rule out divestments in “non-core businesses” which sparked fresh speculation that Ducati is or will soon be for sale once again.

If this is the case, the question is which other company has the cash and capability of managing such a brand of such global status?

Heading the list of possible buyers are two Indian motorbike outfits, Hero and Royal Enfield.

Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest two-wheeler maker by volume, and Royal Enfield, soon to enter the premium middleweight market with its Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 — it would benefit either enormously.

If the sale happens, it would probably be the biggest in motorcycle history, since Ducati is widely regarded as the most valuable motorcycle brand on the planet.

Ducati sold about 60,000 motorcycles in 2017, making it one of just a few brands to report positive numbers last year.

The company started in Italy 92 years ago and has been a frontrunner in motorcycle racing ever since.

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.