India’s Hero MotoCorp Eyes Ducati

2012 Sale of Ducati

In February, Investindustrial, the Milan-based private-equity owner of Ducati Motor Holding SpA, was reportedly looking to sell the Italian motorcycle company or offer an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Reports quickly flooded the motorcycle industry, saying companies such as Volkswagen, BMW or the Indian motorcycle group Mahindra were looking to purchase Ducati.

And this week, one more name was added to the list – Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.

On Monday, the respected financial news source Bloomberg reported that Hero MotoCorp is talking with bankers for a “potential acquisition” of Ducati.

Part of the reason for the potential acquisition of Ducati? Hero MotoCorp is seeking technology to enhance its current line of bikes, such as the best-selling (and cheap) Splendor in India, a country where 9.95 million motorcycles were sold in 2011.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Managing Director of IHS Automotive in India Deepesh Rathore says “It is an excellent fit. Ducati is a big brand and has a lot of technology, while Hero is looking to be a serious global player. Hero might get it cheap. Thanks to the European slowdown, Ducati’s numbers haven’t been great.”

Following a 26-year-partnership, Honda separated from Hero MotoCorp earlier this year. During the Honda years, Hero MotoCorp’s motorcycles were basic, lacking the high-performance and technology used on Ducati motorcycles such as the 1199 Panigale superbike.

Following the Honda/Hero MotoCorp Split, the Indian company also began a partnership with Erik Buell Racing, and will sponsor two teams in the AMA Superbike Championship. Buell will help design future Hero MotoCorp motorcycles.

Ducati Background

In December of 2008, Ducati became a privately-owned company after it was delisted from the Milan stock exchange after a buyout by Investindustrial; Ducati was public from 1996 through 2008.

This news arrives after Ducati reported that 2011 sales were up 43-percent over 2010, with much attribution going to the Multistrada and Diavel.

In 2012, Ducati says it will refocus its efforts in the sportbike category with the first customer deliveries of the brand’s newest flagship Superbike, the Ducati 1199 Panigale and the 848EVO Corse Special Edition.

Ducati North America also recently announced the launch of a new retail identity initiative aimed at enhancing the Ducati customer experience.