It looks like Volkswagen’s huge emissions scandal surrounding its diesel-powered cars could potentially impact motorcyclists, too. Reuters is reporting the German automaker is considering selling Ducati, which its Audi division purchased in 2012 for $935 million.

The potential sale comes as Volkswagen looks to streamline its operations in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal. As part of the streamlining process, several thousand jobs at VW have been cut in order to help fund the company’s shift towards electrification.

As far as Ducati is concerned, Volkswagen has tapped investment banking firm Evercore to develop a list of options, which also include keeping the Italian marque that still brings in $109 million a year. However, that number is peanuts when Ducati is reported to be worth somewhere in the region of $1.6 billion – with a B. That said, a banker with knowledge of the industry told Reuters potential suitors would likely offer VW a cool billion for Ducati.

Anyone who’s followed the Ducati legacy knows the company has seen its fair share of ownership changes. As of now there’s no clear front-runner lining up to purchase Ducati away from Volkswagen, but there are several interested parties. The Reuters report says Chinese peers could be interested (which would mean Ducati would join fellow Italian marque Benelli as famed Italians operating on Chinese money), as could Indian brand Hero. Then again, Ducati could be wrestled away by a consortium, the likes of which bought Aston Martin in 2007, or by private equity firms. All of this is a long way of saying Ducati’s future owner is entirely unclear at this point.

Audi’s purchase of Ducati in 2012 was a bit controversial. Analysts questioned the move from a business standpoint, chalking it up as a power grab by VW’s chairman Ferdinand Piech, a huge enthusiast of the brand. Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, has since left his role as chairman under acrimonious circumstances, leaving no clear advocate within the company to vouch for keeping Ducati.

What happens now? Well, your guess is as good as ours. Stay tuned, as we’ll update the situation when we know more.

  • Garth Vader

    Ducati possibly being owned by the Chinese in the future? Oh boy o boy o boy. Ducatista will be happy about that. Then again, sign me up for a $7,500 Panigale. Ducati red is about the same as Communist red…

    • john phyyt

      As long as they can keep the tap of Euro subsidies flowing. Who care if German tax payers prop up the Chinese Communist party. It is quite opaque but one study I saw suggested that the entire “profit” 2011 was roughly equal to the tax breaks. direct and indirect payments from E.U to Ducati. Profit then was quoted as circa 40 million Euro.

  • allworld

    Personally I would like to see Ducati ownership modeled similar to HD. T=Let the employee take the helm.
    Perhaps they could merge with MV Agusta, and bring Benelli back to Italy.
    Maybe get Ferrari involved in the mix.
    I also don’t understand how a company that generates $109 million is worth $1.6 billion, this must be why private equity firms do so well.

  • spiff

    The superbike era is over. Ducati’s business model was based on them. You can see that they are now building Multistradas, scramblers etc. They understand this trend. If someone is willing to sit and allow the brand to infiltrate these more lucrative markets, then the profits will follow. Problem is a lot of investors are short sighted, and don’t want to invest for the long term.

  • JMDGT

    Ducati has definitely benefited from the monetary support VW has given them. They have developed their product offering accordingly and have a number of bikes that compete nicely with the other manufacturers. If the future owners support them they will continue to be successful. I’m guessing they have been profitable otherwise it would be hard to carry a billion dollar valuation. It would be nice if a group of enthusiast businessmen took them over. A billion dollar purchase will take a few years to gain back any equity but it can be done. Good luck to Ducati.