Adding credence to rumours spread last week, Audi officially announced Wednesday there is the new owner of Italian motorcycle company Ducati. Buying share holdings from Investindustrial the Canadian-based Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan and BS Investimenti, the purchase of Ducati by Audi has been quoted to be in excess of 1.1 billion US dollars. In presenting this major acquisition, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG Rupert Stadler declared, “As a sporty, global premium brand, Ducati is an excellent fit for Audi.”
In the announcement, Audi pinpoints several desirable attributes in the Ducati company that made the acquisition mutually beneficial for both companies. Citing Ducati’s knowledge of lightweight material and engineering, Audi has describe this information could offer great opportunities for future Audi and Volkswagen Group products. Audi has also been impressed by Ducati’s small engine technology and their utilization of a special combustion chamber process for creating sport power.
An Italian company founded in 1926 by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his sons, Ducati business was initially a producer of radio equipment. It was after the Second World War when the Ducati name would be associated with motorized bikes when they proceeded to assemble the Cucciolo in post-war Italy. Ducati swiftly expanded their product line-up to include higher performance motorcycles that would eventually blossom across Europe and overseas in the Americas. North American customers were introduced to the Ducati name with the Scrambler in 1962 where the company quickly assembled a following. Similar to many transportation-oriented companies, Ducati has been setting focus on growing in Asian markets. “Ducati has thrived with us as a result of the intensive industrial turnaround and the commercial push into new, fast-growing markets. We are convinced that the company will continue to provide a bright and rewarding future to its customers and employees in the very capable hands of Audi.” said Andrea C. Bonomi, Chairman of Investindustrial (the major outgoing owner of Ducati).
Part of the brand fostering efforts for Ducati has been a company’s prominent motorsport presence. Under the motorcycle manufacturer’s racing arm Ducati Corse, the company’s bikes propelled 14 FIM Superbike World Championship riders. Ducati in the FIM Superbike World Championship earned the yearly manufacturer title on a record 17 occasions including 2011. A Ducati also carried Australian rider Casey Stoner to a 2007 MotoGP title. Audi’s heavy involvement presently in motorsports should bode well for Ducati’s future in motorcycle racing accepting that the adage “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” appears to be shared.
The pairing of Audi and Ducati might sound surreal to modern era fans of the four-ring badge. However, one of the four rings in Audi’s famous Auto Union emblem represents their historical connection to motorcycle construction. Under the DKW banner, Auto Union sold numerous varieties of two-wheeled motorcycles and scooters. After the Second World War, DKW were required to give up their designs to the very popular RT125 motorcycle to industries in ally nations including American company Harley-Davidson. Known as the Hummer in the United States, almost 32,000 motorbikes using the DKW design were produced by Harley-Davidson from 1948 until the mid-1960s (coincidently, the same time the DKW brand would be discontinued). The DKW RT125 would also influence motorbikes in Britain, Poland and Japan up to the 1980s.
Along with the DKW motorcycle history, Audi was also connected to a second foray into the two-wheel sector. In 1969, Audi’s parent company Volkswagen merged with NSU Motorenwerke AG that built cars and motorcycles. At one time itself a one of world’s largest motorcycle manufacturers during 1950s, NSU was a notable in motorsports. NSU had exited the motorcycle business in 1965 prior to the merger with VW Group.
Pending approval by the competition authorities, the inclusion of the Italian motorcycle builder with Audi is certainly going to present some unknowns for how the companies will collaborate over time. Will this acquisition lead to the presence of Ducati motorcycles on the showrooms of Audi dealerships? Could the small Ducati engines lend engine to a production-based interpretation of the Audi’s Urban Concept vehicle? The options seem wide open for where the newest joining of two and four wheels can lead.
Information and photo source: Audi AG, Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.
Debuting at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Audi’s entrance into the popular sub-category where sedans and coupes merge. A premium car grouping popularized with the entrance of the Maserati Quattroporte and the Mercedes-Benz CLS, vehicle designs began to conceive the sporty athleticism of a coupe with more than the conventional two passenger doors.
Audi is considered a late adopter to the bold fusion trend waiting this year to enter the unique vehicle segment. Creating the captivating, new A7 Sportback five-door coupe, the new Audi was presented to the United States with a 310 horsepower supercharged V-6 powerplant. Capable of delivering luxury comfort and excitement, Audi fans awaited the high-powered version of the A7 Sportback. Dropping a V-8 engine into their five-door coupe, the Audi S7 Sportback unleashes heightened performance in concert with the slippery shape.
Unlike the S6 and S8 cars debuting to the public alongside at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Audi S7 Sportback has no previously established benchmark. The premiere of a high-performance five-door coupe, the Audi S7 Sportback starts on the aggressively elegant exterior design of the A7 featuring Audi’s extensive use of aluminum body panels. Depending on only subtle, shiny enhancements to dress up the modern vehicle look, detailing is provided to the grille, front and rear bumper as well as to the side mirrors of the Audi S7 Sportback. Admirers of the Audi S7 Sportback will also take note of the vivid badging identifying the special vehicle with ‘V8 T’ and ‘S7’ markings. A diffuser is integrated with the S7 Sportback’s rear companioning with the fastback window. Presented in 9 exterior colours, Estoril Blue and Prism Silver is added to the S7 Sportback edition selection list. While the colours give the Audi S7 Sportback definition during daylight, night time has powerful xenon headlamps and LED signals.
The meat of the Audi S7 Sportback allure comes with the introduction of a 4-liter twin turbocharged engine. Much stronger than the A7’s 3-liter engine, Audi’s 4.0 TFSI powerplant belts out 420 horsepower and just under 406 foot-pounds of torque under the S7 Sportback’s hood. Contrary to the powerful nature of the 4.0 TFSI engine, cylinder on demand and direct injection insures highly evolved fuel consumption. Average fuel economy for the Audi S7 Sportback is above 24 miles per gallon.
Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive performance is the centerpiece to the S7 Sportback’s handling package. Audi has lent the adaptive air suspension for a driver tailored ride through standard 19-inch aluminum wheels. Optional sets of 19 and 20 inch wheels are available on the Audi S7 Sportback customizing the exterior look. Standard equipped four-wheel disc braking can also be upgraded to carbon-ceramic units.
With the 4.0 TFSI and the quattro all-wheel drive system working in concert, the Audi S7 Sportback is a certified performer. Accelerating from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds, the S7 Sportback registers a time about 0.3 seconds faster than the Audi A7 model. Top speed of the Audi S7 Sportback is 155 miles per hour limited electronically.
Providing motorists with an option for how they wish to experience the merger of performance and luxury, the Audi S7 Sportback’s cabin projects a wide-open space. Featuring special S brand trim, buyers can opt for two types of wood, aluminum or even carbon inlays to modify the interior appearance of this Audi Sportback model. Despite reasonable rear seat comfort and the firm comfort of sport seats for the forward passenger, the driver experiences the real pleasure of the Audi S7 Sportback. Taking full advantage of the S7 Sportback’s performance reach, the driver punches through Audi’s S Tronic gearbox. Audi’s MMI system is included with a full range of control functions. An additional feature the Audi S7 Sportback delivers is something few would except from a 155-mile per hour vehicle. With the rear seats folded down, there is 49.1 cubic feet of cargo storage room inside the sizable cabin.
Expected stateside by 2012, further details on the Audi S7 Sportback including pricing will be provided at a later date.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The kick-off to the world indoor auto show season, 2011 is the lucky biennial year where automotive enthusiasts get to relish in the spectacle of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Guaranteed already to be a showcase of new ideas in the ever-evolving auto industry, production and concept vehicles are presented in abundance for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show even as more than two weeks separate the exhibit’s grand opening. A motor show of world intrigue, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been wetting the appetites of potential show goers through previews of their Frankfurt Motor Show presentations. An exhibition based in their home country, Volkswagen’s luxury car brand Audi will also be making a strong showing on September 15th.
In preparation for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor show, Audi has a history of bringing profound guidance for where they want to take their brand’s image. In the last Frankfurt show in 2009, Audi presented their e-tron concept for the very first time to the public. Since the showing almost two years ago, Audi’s continuing development of e-tron is likely to directly lead to a production-based vehicle. Audi also publicly premiered the R8 Spyder at the 2009 show generating some more tradition open-motoring performance buzz. As their world sales increased by 15 percent in 2010 (just one year following the Audi’s last Frankfurt display), the German auto company’s success will garner more focus on their upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show plans. Supplying samples for performance and low-impact driving, Audi seems ready to entertain the German city’s crowd.
Presented in early to mid August, Audi’s prospect for exploiting a full city car design led to the urban concept brainchild. The urban concept car was unveiled ahead of the Frankfurt show in illustrated form ahead of the lightweight 1+1 passenger vehicle’s presentation in real life. Since the debut of the Audi urban concept sketches on August 10th, Audi immediately followed-up the early images with an open top version of the unique smaller car. The Spyder version of the urban concept shares the impressive sport style in a small, electric vehicle package.
Aside from the debut of a radical new way of motoring, Audi will use Frankfurt as the official public introduction of three new models of their S performance line. Added to the 2012 Audi portfolio, the S6 (including the S6 Avant) and the large S8 sedan will debut as new generation vehicles. For the first time since its introduction last year, the Audi A7 Sportback receives its initial taste of S line enthusiasm. Receiving its first eight-cylinder powerplant, the S7 Sportback, along with the S6 and S8, will receive a new generation engine engineered to provide top performance along with improved fuel economy.
Taking a similar approach as with Mercedes-Benz and BMW by consolidating engines used in their performance line-ups, a new 4.0 liter V-8 engine will beat under the hood of all three S models. Smaller than the S line’s previous benchmark, the more compact Audi engine is just as exciting as the next generation models. Providing up to 520 horsepower of sheer driving excitement, the S6, S7 Sportback and the S8 will be guided by Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system.
As a third separate feature ready to attract spectators at the Audi pavilion, the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will debut a concept version of the A2. The Audi A2 concept displays a compact car form optimizing cargo space thanks to an electric powertrain. Just recently announced, the Audi A2 concept has become the latest edition to a flashy auto show presentation.
Starting September 15th, the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show will play host to more than 850,000 spectators and over 13,000 members of the esteemed media. With only two weeks remaining until Audi’s near and distant future vision of premium motoring is unveiled to the public, Audisite.com will provide fans of the German luxury brand with in-depth information on the vehicles being profiled.
Information and photo source: Audi AG