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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Audi has released a new video today, breaking down the full Pikes Peak race course and the obstacles that the RS5 and Ducati Multistrada 1200 S will face during the hill climb. The company also revealed a twitter based contest that gives fans the chance to drive both the Multistrada and RS5.
The automotive industry is a global business that is constantly evolving and growing, and we here at AutoGuide know it can be hard to keep up sometimes. So here is a summary of the top stories you may have missed this week:
Fallout is common in corporate acquisitions and Audi‘s takeover of Ducati is no exception. In this case that colateral is especially funny because it means the German giant now officially owns a few Mercedes-Benz AMGs, sort of.
Before the deal, Duacti offered AMG-branded bikes which naturally transferred to Audi along with the rest of the company. Unsurprisingly, that ruffled more than a few feathers at the Mercedes HQ in Stuttgart, prompting the disownment of the bikes.
Global automotive juggernaut Volkswagen is about to grow a little larger with rumors that it’s luxury car division Audi will announce a takeover of an iconic Italian brand next week. What makes this acquisition unique, however, is that the new company isn’t the four-wheel kind, preferring instead performance on two wheels.
According to inside sources, Audi may announce the purchase of motorcycle maker Ducati at the annual VW shareholders meeting on April 18th.
With Ducati believed to be in debt by as much as $1.25 billion, the actual purchase price of Ducati could be as little as $100 million with Audi agreeing to take over the Italian superbike maker’s substantial financial burdens.
Along with a desire to reach beyond cars and into the motorcycle business, rumors point to an interest in Ducati’s small engine technology as another reason for the takeover.
Volkswagen‘s $1.1 billion bid for Ducati has the automotive world wondering what the automaker would want with a superbike company, but answers are out of reach.
Such situations quickly become a speculative breeding ground for ideas, ranging from a vision of world domination permeating both four- and two-wheel markets, to a more conservative view based on interviews with Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech.
Reviewing past interviews with Piech could shed a little light on the company’s interest, as Automotive News reports. In 2008, Piech spoke to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung about the merits motorcycle engines could provide.
“A 1-liter engine can produce 200 horsepower,” Piech told the paper. “Small engines are also lower from the point of view of fuel consumption. We can learn something here,” he said.
Now, that quote which might have otherwise been forgotten, is resurfacing to fuel speculation that Volkswagen may be eyeing Ducati for its small engine technology.
There’s nothing to suggest the company isn’t interested in producing motorcycles to compete with BMW in a new area, but the notion of a 195-hp, 1,198cc engine like the one found in Ducati’s 1199 Panigale could share valuable tech insight when automakers seem to be hitting every new engine with a shrink ray.
A sponsorship agreement between Italian motorcycle company Ducati and the high-performance AMG division of Mercedes-Benz isn’t expected to carry on for much longer. The reason? Rival German luxury automaker Audi is said to be in exclusive talks with the storied bike manufacturer, which could result in a sale by as early as mid-April.
Previous rumors had indicated a long list of other suitors, including Volkswagen, Mercedes parent company Daimler and India’s Mahindra. However, according to a report by the UK’s CAR magazine, citing high-level sources within Audi, the automaker has been given first dibs to work out a deal.
Despite its popularity and success, Ducati is hemorrhaging money, and is believed to be in debt by as much as $1.25 billion. Rather than pay outright for the motorbike company, it’s believed Audi will offer a small amount (as little as 78 million), while also taking on the huge debt load.
Initially Audi parent company Volkswagen had planned to revive the historic German motorcycle company Horex, but with little brand recognition and the up-hill battle of starting from scratch made the Ducati move far more attractive once the Italian bike firm hit the market.
Currently Ducati manufactured roughly 40,000 motorcycles a year.
Ducati, the famous Italian motorcycle brand could be up for sale. There seems to be significant interest in the motorcycle maker from both American and European buyers.
Investindustrial SpA, the Milan-based private-equity firm that owns Ducati, seems to be looking for an IPO (initial public offering), or to sell it entirely. The sale could fetch about $1.3 billion.
Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. would manage Ducati’s IPO, and could file as soon as June.
Although no one has publicly stated their interest in buying Ducati, there are some beliefs that Volkswagen, or BMW would be a perfect fit to make the purchase.
Mercedes-Benz/Daimler’s performance group AMG has had partnerships with Ducati before, so it’ll be interesting to see if that will play a part in the sale. A year ago Daimler was rumored to take over Ducati.
Additionally, Bloomberg speculates that American company Harley Davidson could potentially fit the bill.
At this point all we can do is speculate, check back for more information as the situation develops.
Announced at last year’s LA Auto Show, the Ducati and Mercedes AMG partnership initially revealed little more than AMG’s sponsorship of the Ducati Moto GP factory team plus a series of joint marketing and PR campaigns.
Now, the collaboration has just created the new Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition in time for the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show. What you get is essentially the top-of-the-line trim of Ducati’s top-of-the line motorcycle. No word on the press release regarding any performance enhancements, the Diavel Carbon based AMG Special Edition will possess AMG’s trademark rims and trademark aluminum blades along the lateral radiator grills. AMG engraved end caps will be prominently displayed on the exhaust while the upholstery will have AMG styled and branded Alcantara seats. The carbon fiber bodywork comes in any color as long as its matte black and contrasts to the AMG “Diamond White Bright” painted frame.
The name of the technician who hand-built the particular Diavel engine will also be engraved onto the left hand side of the engine casing. And finally, to top it all off, each Diavel will also have a series number plaque on the fuel tank. Booyah!
Now what if a person really wants to make a statement and the Diavel AMG Special Edition is not enough? He or she could push their love for the brand over the edge with an exclusive matching Ducati AMG helmet and leather riding jacket. Get ready for the German-Italian onslaught early 2012.
Look for more details and photos with AutoGuide’s Frankfurt Auto Show coverage beginning September 13th.
GALLERY: 2012 Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition
Luxury cars have gotten the watch treatment… now it’s time for a motorcycle to take its place on your wrist. The special edition watch from Tudor takes its inspiration from Ducati sports bikes. This new watch marks the partnership between the two, as Tudor is now the official timekeeper of Ducati.
Boasting the signature red and black colors of Ducati, Tudor Fastrider Chronograph measures in at 42mm in diameter, comes with an automatic chronograph with 46 hour power reserve, and has a cool quick-set date button at 9 o’clock coated in PVD. Engraved on the outer steel rim in a tachometric scale, details the speed of movement, while the main movement is powered by the self-winding mechanism, so you never get a time display lag. Adding to this watch’s stylish look is a dial that showcases sapphire crystal.
The Tudor Fastrider Chronograph isn’t a limited edition, however, it will only be made in lower numbers. You can choose a steel bracelet or leather strap and you can expect to shell out anywhere from $4,143 to $4,379. It’s worth noting that Tudor is making a re-entry into the North American market after years of playing second fiddle to big brother Rolex.
[Source: Born Rich]
Last week Mercedes‘ high-performance AMG division and Ducati announced a partnership that will see the automotive brand sponsor the racing division of the Italian bike maker in the MotoGP series. According to new reports, the pairing might be far more significant and involved.
Sources at AMG have commented that Mercedes could look to buy the motorcycle brand, a move that would be welcomed say other unnamed sources inside Ducati. Any acquisition would likely give the high-performance motorcycle maker access to significant resources and technology under the far-reaching arm of Mercedes parent company Daimler.
In addition to adding a successful brand to its portfolio, ownership of Ducati would also help Mercedes build a new stepping stone into its high-performance vehicles, while presenting some interesting branding opportunities.
Think cars and bikes don’t go well together? Hit the jump for video from the LA Auto Show Mercedes/Ducati press conference including Nicky Hayden doing a burnout on the new Ducati Diavel:
Mercedes easily had one of the coolest press conferences at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. No, it wasn’t because of the Sprinkle’s cupcake truck on hand dispensing some of their legendary goods. It was all due to Nicky Hayden.
That name might not be too familiar to all of you unless you are into bikes as well as cars. Nicky (2006 MotoGP World Champion) actually was encouraged to drive on stage and do a nice little smokey burnout on his new ride – Ducati’s newest performance machine, the Diavel. After the brief hoonage with the new Diavel, Hayden stepped off to join the folks from AMG. The two companies announced a new partnership where AMG will sponsor the Ducati Moto GP team and Nicky and Valentino Rossi will presumably start driving SLS gullwings. Full info below along with live pics.
GALLERY: Nicky Hayden and the Ducati Diavel
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To help celebrate World Ducati Week, Mercedes will debut a new ‘Naked’ limited edition SLK200 Kompressor model during the festivities, which start June 20th in Rimini, Italy. The reason for Mercedes’ involvement is due to the close connection between the Mercedes AMG division and financing and insurance firm Gruppo Generali – which also just so happens to be a sponsor of Ducati in MotoGP.
As the most popular SLK model in Europe, the supercharged four-cylinder’s 1.8-liter engine will remain untouched, continuing to generate 181-hp and 184 ft-lbs of torque. Upgrades for the model will include aluminum accents, a leather steering wheel, AMG rear lip spoiler, new 5-spoke 18-inch Titanium Silver wheels with 225/40/18 front tires and 245/35/18 rear tires, plus a long list of optional equipment as standard. Pricing is set at 40,900 Euros and just 99 versions of the limited edition model will be offered exclusively in Italy.
Mercedes hasn’t released pricing yet, but rumors suggest that instead of a traditional Mercedes silver or black, the SLK Class Naked will get a brilliant shade of Ducati red.