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Is Lamborghini the Real Owner of Ducati?




Audi AG has released its 2012 Interim Financial Report, and in it the German automaker has released some interesting details about its acquisition of Ducati Motor Holding. Confirming our report that the Audi Group has bought 100% of Ducati’s shares, Audi however discloses that it paid much less for the Italian motorcycle brand than was previously reported.
Disclosing a buying price of €747 million ($980 million at the exchange rate at the time of sale), perhaps the most interesting news in Audi’s report is that Ducati was actually bought by Lamborghini, making Ducati a subsidiary of the boutique Italian car-maker. This news would explain Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio’s appointment to the Lamborghini Board of Directors earlier last month.
While Lamborghini’s ownership of Ducati is more of a formality, as both brands are still controlled by the Audi Group (read: Audi itself), the move does have two important aspects: one symbolic and one pragmatic. First symbolically, Ducati remains under some guise of Italian control, which in nationalistic Europe still counts for something…as ridiculous as it sounds to the rest of us.
Realistically, the move contains some significant business maneuvering, as Ducati’s inclusion into Lamborghini instead of Audi has some advantages in the eyes of the European Union. It is no secret that Europe is cracking down on vehicle emissions, with more stringent standards coming down the pipe in rapid succession. This has created significant problems for sports car manufacturers, whose large-displacement machines act as anchors that drag the fleet-wide emissions mandates well below the line of acceptability.
One method for getting around these regulations is to stack the vehicle fleets in creative corporate structures. This either means ostracizing a sports car brand by itself (and usually just paying the fine), or combining it with another brand whose vehicles burn fewer emissions, and thus offset the difference. Lamborghini meet Ducati, Ducati meet Lamborghini.
It is a shame the auto guys didn’t catch onto this when they were lambasting the deal, because now the whole acquisition is starting to look like very smart business, and not just some late-night spending spree. Funny thing, those Germans.
text and image asphaltandrubber.com

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