Audi Announces Acquisition of Ducati Motorcycles; New Plant in Mexico
Audi's had a bit of a busy week. First, the German luxury division made it official that it would be purchasing storied superbike maker Ducati. Then, and much closer to home, Audi announced it would be breaking ground on its first North American plant in Mexico. Here are the details: Ducati Acquisition: Although Audi is part of the greater Volkswagen empire, the luxury automaker maintains control of select brands like Bentley, Lamborghini, and Italdesign. Notice they're all premium brands. Also make note that two of the three are Italian. Well, make that three out of four now, as premium motorcycle make Ducati will be joining the fold under the Audi group. "Ducati is known worldwide as a premium brand among motorcycle manufacturers and has a long tradition of building sporty motorcycles. It has great expertise in high-performance engines and lightweight construction, and is one of the world’s most profitable motorcycle manufacturers. That makes Ducati an excellent fit for Audi," says Audi board chairman Rupert Stadler in a statement. Of interest to Audi, Ducati's expertise in motorcycles lies in its advanced combustion chamber technology and lightweight construction. Either some of those technologies will surely trickle into Audi's car portfolio or you'll see the first nose-heavy, all-wheel-drive motorcycle from Ducati with a diesel engine and numb steering feel. As a consolation, Ducati may give the motorcycle a $6,000 stereo option and MMI infotainment controls for those bored by the so-called wind-in-the-face feeling of freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle. Or you can just get a Honda Gold Wing. Moving on... Mexican Manufacturing: We don't know much about the deal yet, but Audi announced on its Twitter feed that it would be building its first North American plant in Mexico and that it would be online by 2016. The move had been speculated for some time, and it makes sense given the economic problems plaguing Europe that make North American sales less profitable. BMW already has a plant in South Carolina, and Mercedes-Benz has a plant in Alabama. What doesn't make sense, however, is how Audi plans to address its quality issues that have afflicted parent company Volkswagen for years now in its Mexican manufacturing facilities. In fact, those issues set Volkswagen back for some time and continue to plague the automaker's reputation as it moves forward. As Audi has gained ground on its German rivals in North America, it can't afford quality setbacks. We'll keep you updated as to what vehicles will be made in Mexico when it's announced. Source: Audi, Audi via Twitter
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