In a bid to cut costs by as much as £9bn in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen was thought to be keen for Audi to sell off motorcycle-building subsidiary brand Ducati.
The superbike manufacturer was purchased by Audi (via Lamborghini) back in 2012, but it was thought to be the first in line for sale following the massive diesel emissions controversy that has rocked the Volkswagen Group. However, Ducati chief executive Rupert Stadler has now said that those plans are off.
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'I can assure you that Ducati belongs to the Audi family,' said Ducati chief executive Rupert Stadler. 'Ducati is the perfect implementation of our premium philosophy in the world of motorbikes.' Porsche has been helping out the Italian brand by 'gradually increasing [our] financial and organisational leeway for the strategic realignment,' according to Stadler.
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Porsche's controlling Porsche-Piech families previously backed unions who stood in the way of a sale earlier this year, with the unions insisting that a move to sell Ducati wasn't a sensible one and that selling off major assets wouldn't actually help the Volkswagen Group in the long run.
However, the decision for the Volkswagen Group to hold on to Ducati may not be a foregone conclusion. One source told Reuters: 'For Volkswagen’s powerful works council it could be an easy bargaining chip it could offer to push through something completely different.'
Investors have long been keen to streamline Volkswagen's assets, but that idea isn't helped by the fact that Audi, the actual owner of Ducati and Lamborghini, has reported higher operating profit and revenue for the first nine months of 2017, which was helped by growing demand in the higher-margin western European and US markets.