Tag Archive | "Ducati"

VW Credit Teams With Safe-Guard on New Line of F&I Products

HERNDON, Va. — VW Credit Inc. — doing business as Volkswagen Credit, Audi Financial Services and Ducati Financial Services — has announced a new line of Volkswagen, Audi and Ducati branded lines of automobile and motorcycle protection products for the U.S. market.

The captive said this week it reached an agreement with Safe-Guard Products International LLC to bring the branded products to market. Together, the parties will develop, market, and distribute the newly enhanced suite of products, with program introduction to the Volkswagen, Audi, and Ducati dealer networks beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.

“Our decision to take a direct role in underwriting most vehicle protection products, while also enhancing the offering with other products specifically developed for our brands, is part of a multipronged strategy that aims to increase overall customer satisfaction and to build loyalty by which our customers return to the dealer network for any future service needs,” said Richard Howse, vice president of marketing and business development for VCI.

The company said it will offer dealer support for all of its new products, including a dedicated 28-person national sales and training team, a completely branded marketing offering, and new technology, such as a branded mobile claims application.

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Volkswagen Group to Add Ducati to Product Portfolio

Audi AG, the business division of the German luxury brand, announced Wednesday its intention to acquire Ducati, the Italian sportbike manufacturer, from its majority owner, the Investindustrial Group.

The announcement ended a month of speculation dating to a report from the web site of Car, the British automotive magazine, in which unidentified sources told the site’s editors of the purchase plan, reported The New York Times. Terms of the deal were not disclosed Wednesday, but as DealBook wrote, a person briefed on the transaction said the purchase would be made for about 860 million euros, or roughly $1.12 billion.

The Volkswagen Group, which owns Audi as well as low-volume ultraluxury brands like Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti, was not mentioned in a media release sent Wednesday by Audi AG. An Audi of America spokesman, Andrew Lipman, would not comment on the reasons that Audi, not its parent, was identified as the buyer, saying only that Ducati and Audi “shared brand values.”

In Car’s initial report, Andrea Bonomi, the Ducati chairman, was said to have called his company “the two-wheel equivalent of Audi.” The VW Group chairman, Ferdinand Piëch, expressed interest in acquiring the sportbike company in 2008, but Investindustrial, a private equity firm, instead expanded its ownership stake.

Ducati was described in Audi’s release by Rupert Stadler, Audi’s chairman, as “one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers.” Even so, analysts have questioned the move, saying the company was overvalued and would not offer technologies that could readily find their way into Audi’s engineering, despite Ducati’s experience in wringing big power from compact engines. The purchase does, however, give Mr. Piëch, an avowed motorcycling enthusiast, a toehold in the industry.

At the time the announcement was made, it was not clear how the deal might affect Ducati’s relationship with AMG, the in-house tuning division of Mercedes-Benz. But a statement released Thursday by Daimler, the parent of AMG and Mercedes, noted that the takeover “by a rival car manufacturer has understandably resulted in the end of any further collaboration.” The partnership had consisted primarily of matching color combinations on special-edition vehicles. In the weeks after Car magazine’s initial report, Daimler repeatedly denied interest in buying Ducati.

Founded in 1926 in Bologna, Ducati originally manufactured parts for radios. It also designed cameras during World War II, before building its first motorcycles in 1949.

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Ducati To Post 43 Percent Sales Jump in North America

Italian motorcycle maker Ducati is expected today to announce a sales increase of 43 percent in North America for 2011. The results in the U.S., Canada and Mexico helped drive record sales worldwide, the company said. They also established North America as Ducati’s biggest global market.

Ducati’s sales stand out in a motorcycle industry that has struggled since the economic downturn of 2009. Sales across the industry plummeted about 40 percent that year and continued to fall in 2010. Some brands recovered a bit last year – German rival BMW’s bike sales rose 7.4 percent — but the jump at Ducati suggests a particular upside for certain segments, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The company says demand for its bikes appears to be an extension of a general trend for luxury products, especially niche brands.

Ducati’s sales in the U.S. rose 41 percent, Canada’s total rose 32 percent and the company’s newer, smaller Mexican operations posted a nearly threefold jump in sales. Ducati says the sales surge reflects its success in pursuing a broader range of riders with bikes like the muscular Diavel power cruiser and Multistrada 1200 sport-touring model.

The company has long specialized in high-performance sport bikes that are easily modified for racing. But as even as more people have taken up motorcycling in the past several years, relatively few wind up riding sport bikes. The Diavel, low wide and fast, is designed to lure customers who might consider big cruiser models from Harley-Davidson. The Multistrada takes aim at so-called adventure touring models from BMW, Triumph KTM.

While Dominique Cheraki, general manager of the North American unit of Ducati Motor Holding SpA, attributed sales growth to the newer Diavel and Multistrada, he notes the maker’s best-selling single model is a traditional super sport bike, the 848. One could argue the stripped-down entry-level Monster model, which comes in a number of sizes with engines ranging from 696 cubic centimeters to 1100 cubic centimeters, is a bigger seller. But that works only if one counts all of the different versions.

Cheraki says the 2011 results validate the company’s strategy of increasing its appeal by building a broader lineup of bikes to include cruisers and touring machines. He says riders shouldn’t expect any new, radical departures like motocross or sidecar models from Ducati in the next year. However, there is room for “new opportunities” in the market, which he plans to explore.

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