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News What Does the Volkswagen Emissions Saga Mean for Ducati?

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' at netrider.net.au started by NetriderBot, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. The biggest story in the auto industry for many years that has been saturating the news over the last few days is how Volkswagen has admitted to cheating on emissions testing in the United States, potentially involving up to 11 million vehicles. So what effect may this have on Ducati which is owned by Audi under the Volkswagen Group umbrella?

    Audi purchased Ducati only a few years ago for approximately $1.12 billion. That was a rather huge sum of money for a manufacturer that at the time only sold 40,000 motorcycles (last year it sold a record 45,100) which points to the fact that the purchase by Audi had nothing to do with profits, it was prestige – prestige in being able to own one of the most desirable motorcycle brands today.

    The purchase was driven by then CEO Ferdinand Piech who had long desired to include a motorcycle arm underneath the VW Group’s banner. In fact, Piech is said to have turned down an opportunity to buy Ducati back in 1985 for what he described as “peanuts.” Piech was ousted from the company earlier this year by rivals on the board.

    “The Ducati purchase is driven by VW’s passion for nameplates rather than industrial or financial logic,” stated Credit Suisse analyst Arndt Ellinghorst to Reuters in an interview at the time of the purchase in 2012. “It’s an unnecessary sideshow to VW’s main challenges.”

    And this is where it might get interesting. In all the hullabaloo of what Volkswagen has done have been a wide range of analysts taking a guess at what the outcome will be. Fines upwards of $18 billion, the exit of the company from the US market, mass layoffs and even the bankrupting of the company once lawsuits commence are all theories put forward.

    There’s about zero chance of the company going under. Given how much money the German government handed out to Greece and other nations to keep the European Union from imploding, there’s no way they wouldn’t do the same to keep one of their largest companies and employers in business – and that’s if it even comes to that.

    But what this could all mean is that the new CEO and board members of the Volkswagen Group may decide that Ducati is nothing but an unnecessary distraction at a time when the brand will have a huge amount of work to do in rebuilding consumer confidence and more importantly rebuilding sales in their core market – selling cars. It’s currently tipped that Porsche brand chief Matthias Mueller will take over the reigns at the company along with a nearly entirely new board.

    Should Ducati be sold, what will happen? Probably not a great deal. It’s well known that Mercedes Benz were very keen on Ducati as well until VW pulled the carpet out from underneath them. Despite Mercedes Benz since buying into fellow Italian brand MV Agusta, the company may still be interested in adding it to their stable. It’s just as likely though that a cashed up buyer from China or India would love to get their hands on such a prestigious brand too. But even if this does occur, it’s likely that Ducati will continue on as it always has – making a limited amount of motorcycles that everyone wants to ride and just doing things as they see fit.

    Possibly the worst outcome may be a private equity firm buying them up which is what happened to Dainese late last year. And while so far Dainese seems to continue to operate as it was, we’re not sure that a brand with a quirky history like Ducati wouldn’t lose some of its desire should it be squeezed for all its worth such as what has happened in recent years to Formula 1. Only time and the desire of those wishing to punish Volkswagen as much as possible will tell what will eventuate.

    Continue reading...
  2. If Ducati were sold I think a perfect fit would be for Ferrari or Lambo to buy them. Though with a recent large recall from Ferrari that doesn't look likely.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Lambo is actually owned by Volkswagen too. Ferrari by Fiat and yeah, that would be a nice fit.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Or maybe Lavazza ? image.
    • Funny Funny x 10
    • Winner Winner x 2
  5. As a sidelight, it's hard to imagine that the other car manufacturers did not also know about and employ this green-pandering tweak.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. BMW have been accused of it too I believe.....
  7. Aye, hornet, I totally agree, and, if many of us were honest we'd admit to doing a fair amount of "after market" programming of ECUs just to get rid of the crappy end result of the greenies and their regs stuffing up the performance of good motorcycles (and cars).

    Being a two-stroke addict, I'm already bitter and twisted abut what seems like their demise.

    I know that the only reasonable recent model of bike that I had, the Street Triple, came from the factory, with a big "hole" in it's torque curve, from about 4 grand to about six, all because those were the revs at which noise and pollution were measured.

    It also seems a wee bit hypocritical, from the US, who, until recently seemed to think that 6 and seven litre engines were fairly normal, that they can fcuk about with regs for small engined, and reasonable clean and efficient vehicles.

    <sigh> Americans are just like Ulysses Club members...... individually, some of the nicest folk you could wish to meet,
    .....but, in large numbers, they can become very wearing. ;-)
    • Agree Agree x 3
  8. My brother had just come back from a month in San Diego and Texas: he said he saw hardy ANY normal sedan cars, like we have in the majority here, just huge pickup trucks with massive gas-guzzling engines......
    I think the wash-up of all of this will be that it will come to be seen that today's cars are no cleaner than the cars of twenty years ago, just that they have been fudging the figures to make it look like they are.... (And I'm betting they've been doing the same with petrol engines as well as diesels)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. huge pickups are in different emissions "class"... unfortunately.. same here.

    as for Ducati.. too late :D
    • Funny Funny x 2
  10. It's interesting there hasn't been much discussion about which Audi models could be effected.
  11. Can some engineer here confirm or deny that the same sort of software tweak could be used in petrol engines too?
  12. I would think the principle could be applied to petrol engines but it is probably unnecessary as they can get a clean enough burn to fulfil EPA regulations without this trick. Small diesels are a balance between Emissions and Power and California has the strictest requirements in the world. The demise of 2 strokes that CrazyCamCrazyCam mentions was driven by the Californian regulations on noise and emissions, the size of that market caused manufacturers to turn their back on strokers.

    This software, which looks for steering and pedal inputs and if it doesn't see them puts the engine in a reduced power and low emissions mode. They can run all the time in that mode but at significant loss of power. People bought these vehicles based on the published Emission and Power specs so they have a right to be feeling betrayed.
  13. #13 cjvfr, Sep 27, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2015
    Audi's Chief of R&D and Porche's Engine Design Chief were both dismissed at a meeting on Friday.

    Reuters Article
    • Informative Informative x 2
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  14. the irony of America getting upset about VW emissions (so seppo car makers can get their hands on VW's ECU programming secrets :p )...

    is that they also have groups like "rollin coal"... people tat modify their diesels to spew as much black soot as possible...
    "Rollin' Coal" Is Pollution p0rn For Dudes With Pickup Trucks

    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. It's a strange culture.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. yes... yes it is...

    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. I think she's fumigating her infestation.
    • Funny Funny x 3
  18. Volkswagen software scandal may not lead to criminal prosecution due to loophole in Clean Air Act

    Faced with a slew of crippling lawsuits and recalls over its software-based evasion of emissions standards, German car manufacturer Volkswagen has a ray of corporate light today – it transpires that a loop in the U.S. 1970 Clean Air Act could stop the company facing criminal charges over use of ‘defeat devices’ in its cars.

    According to the Wall Street Journal [paywalled], the clause in the act indemnifies car manufacturers against criminal penalties and leaves the Justice Department in a jurisdictional quandary as far as bringing criminal charges against Volkswagen. Prosecutors are now reported to be considering alternative methods, including charges that Volkswagen lied to regulation authorities – a considerably reduced line of attack.

    The Stack
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