Is Mercedes preparing to buy Ducati?

Published: 16 December 2010

Remember the AMG-Ducati deal made at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show last month? A partnership of like-minded brands, albeit on two wheels and four. Daimler marketing types reckon that buyers of its AMG go-faster cars could in many instances be equally interested in go-faster motorbikes of the sort Ducati specialise in, and vice versa.

Thing is, it’s sounding now like Mercedes could be preparing to buy Ducati outright.

We have no solid evidence of a deal being imminent, but there are enough whispers in Stuttgart and Italy that our news radar are pricked firmly up. Call it a well informed hunch. Which got us thinking...

Why Merc should be interested in making bikes

Ducati is owned by Performance Motorcycle Spa, a firm set up by Italian venture capital company Investindustrial. Such financial vehicles are interested in turning companies around and selling for a juicy profit. And not many buyers have pockets as deep as Daimler’s.

Buying Ducati could be a wise move for Daimler. Most major car companies are crystal ball gazing, trying to tell what sort of mobility we want in future. And many are probing new kinds of vehicles, some with two wheels, others quite unlike anything you or I would call a car.

Daimler offshoot Smart showed the electric E-Scooter at the 2010 Paris motor show year, alongside rival BMW’s Mini Scooter E-Concept. These aren’t mere idle guesswork. Product planners know that urban scooters, or variations thereupon, will form an important plank of future mobility.

The motorcycle angle

Our colleagues over at MCN, Britain's premier motorcylce newspaper, have heard the same rumours. Sounds like the Daimler-Ducati alliance could be gaining momentum.

The co-opeartion between AMG and Ducati has begun as joint marketing activities. AMG will sponsor the Ducati MotoGP Team and at AMG events participants will be offered the chance to ride Ducati motorbikes, while Ducati owners will increasingly see AMG products at their events.

Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, called it a 'long-term co-operation to help us jointly access new customer groups.'

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet