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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.
In the land of frivolous lawsuits, one man is taking a hard line with BMW, suing the company for giving him a 20 month erection.
The cause, insists, Henry Wolf of Sausalito, isn’t because of the beautiful lines of the new BMW M5, but rather because of his 1993 BMW motorcycle.
The suit, filed in California Superior Court in San Francisco last week charges that both BMW and seat maker Corbin-Pacific are to blame for Wolf’s “severe case of priapism (a persistent, lasting erection)” that began in September of 2010 after a four-hour ride on his 1993 BMW motorbike.
According to the suit, Wolf, “now is unable to engage in sexual activity, which is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish.” Wolf is looking for compensation for his distress, discomfort, medical expenses and even lost wages.
Small engine technology that lends Ducati bikes their sport-loving spirit seems to be at the key of what the automaker is excited to acquire. Speculations lit afire when news originally surfaced that the German marque might make the acquisition. Among the ideas people guessed might be at the heart of the deal, it seemed such a move might let the brand compete with BMW on all levels.
While rumors have swirled around this business venture, it is now out that Audi has agreed to buy Italian motorcycle giant Ducati for €860 million Euros, or about $1.12 Billion.
Two unnamed sources who are familiar with the case said that Ducati carries liabilities of less than €200 million Euros, (far less than originally believed) and that the official announcement of the sale will come out tomorrow. Audi will take control of the company as well as the debt, making Ducati the twelfth brand in the Volkswagen group.
It is a little curious as to why Audi would spend so much on Ducati, as the motorcycle brand is operating with quite a bit of debt. Financial analyst Arndt Ellinghorst of London-based Credit Suisse said, “The Ducati acquisition is driven by VW’s passion for nameplates rather than industrial or financial logic.” Another theory is that Audi values Ducati’s small engine technology, and is looking to incorporate it into its cars.
It would also seem that the Volkswagen group wants Ducati so that they can finally compete with cross town rivals BMW in the motorcycle market.
Check back tomorrow for the official announcement.
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.
Who ever came up with this idea is a genius. Get a whole slew of classic hot rods and cool rides, gather them all together in one place, then get Metallica to play for all the gathered car enthusiasts. It sounds like every metal and motor head’s dream.
This combination will come to fruition in real life at the first annual Orion music and more festival taking place on June 23 and 24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City.
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.
There’s a new startup on the horizon, but it bears a familiar nameplate that many Americans will remember, but which few know well.
A company in Arvada, Colorado wants to bring Studebaker back into the modern era with a more diverse product line not restricted to 4-wheel vehicles. Before they went out of business in 1966, Studebaker was actually a revolutionary company, building cars like the Lark (pictured above) that boasted fuel efficiency over the competition’s behemoth-sized vehicles.
The former company had enough foresight to build the world’s first electric car, though such things probably seemed more imaginative than Dianetics do today.
While imagination isn’t a bad thing, it didn’t serve to keep them in business. Regardless, that philosophy seems to have suck for the Arvada company now calling themselves Studebaker Motor Company. Their site features a host of concept renderings ranging from a small car that looks a little like a strange mix between the Chevrolet Sonic and Volkswagen Rabbit to a CUV.
They also have a truck concept and a sedan. Outside the four-wheel realm, Studebaker wants to offer scooters and motorcycles. There are a few bike renderings up on the site that take styling cues from Harley Davidson’s VRSC Nightrod line and Buell’s entry-level Blast bikes. No scooter sketches yet, though the page says it’s coming soon.
As we’ve seen in the past, startup car companies suck up cash faster than an army of vacuum cleaners and Studebaker is still looking for investors. Companies like this rarely go anywhere, but there’s always a chance. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the long shot Colorado company that’s trying to raise the dead.
It’s got a small displacement, high-revving engine and it even boasts a dual-clutch transmission, but Honda‘s new Integra isn’t what you’d expect. In fact, it’s not even a car.
If you thought that perhaps the Japanese automaker’s engineering department was lagging behind, they’ve got nothing on the slackers in the motorcycle marketing division. Borrowing a name from the iconic front-drive sport compact, the new Honda Integra motorcycle will be unveiled at the EICMA 2011 show in Milan, Italy.
As for engineering, Honda aims to set new standards with this new 670cc engine, a 4-stroke, 2-cylinder unit that will be fitted to the Integra and two other models.
Honda officials would not confirm or deny plans for a Type-R.
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
The Steve McQueen nostalgia binge rolls on, with the news that legendary London auction house Bonham’s is putting up the King of Cool’s 1971 Husqvarna 400 for auction.
The “Husky” took American off-road riding by storm—after McQueen ditched his own Triumph for a Husky in the classic motocross film On Any Sunday, popularity of the small Swedish bike exploded overnight.
The very same bike auctioned off here was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in August 1971, where McQueen tested a number of new off-road bikes in the dirt. McQueen was an accomplished rider himself, and the auction includes numerous trophies that he accrued over the years, liberated from the McQueen Estate in 1984.
The auction is set to take place at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California on May 14th and will also include McQueen’s collection of racing trophies. Like anything touched by the hand of McQueen himself—such as his Porsche, Ferrari, and his Baja racer—it won’t go for cheap. Click the jump for the full press release from Bonham’s.
It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to notice that there’s a correlation between rising gas prices and the number of people gobbling up motorcycles and scooters. During 2007 to 2009, when gas prices seemingly spelled doom for America’s love of four-wheeled conveyances, street-legal motorcycle sales soared 94%.
But even after gas prices settled in the period since then (until this pesky Middle East unrest this year), even as people canceled their Prius preorders and went back to trucks and SUVs, motorcycle sales continued to rise. While new car registrations increased steadily at a rate of 8% between 2009 and 2010, motorcycle sales also grew 4%.
The big brands in the motorcycle industry leading these sales figures are Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki. Harley-Davidson alone sells one out of every three new bikes in America, despite taking a bailout to stay afloat.
Hey, maybe people took one ride and got hooked. It isn’t hard to do so.
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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Volkswagen fanatics looking for two-wheeled transportation, your motorcycle has arrived. Long dormant motorcycle brand Horex is being revived by a group of German industrialists, and the new bikes will be powered by a VR6 engine, long a staple of VW’s Golf and Jetta lineup.
Rather than the familiar 2.8L or 3.2L VR6 used by VW, Horex designed a bespoke unit displacing 1.2L. Coupled with a supercharger, the unit makes an awesome 200 horsepower at 8500 rpm.
In light of Volkswagen’s move to small displacement, forced induction engines, the Horex VR6 would be an interesting addition to some of their smaller cars, although the seemingly peaky power delivery may not be appropriate for anything but high performance driving. Nonetheless, as gearheads we’re automatically attracted to these sorts of novelty powerplants and are hoping to see more in the future.