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DUCATI: PASSION PLAY

Volkswagen Group’s peripheral brands, lurking in various niches, were very much the stars of its Q1 2022 show. And among them, Bologna-based Ducati pressed all the right buttons to deliver record results. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Quartely global revenue put on 13.8% to £197m. Operating profit added 16.2% to £21.4m. Operating margin improved slightly to 10.7%, from 10.5% in Q1 last year. Worldwide retail sales reached 13,450 motorcycles, a 5.1% increase.

In the brand’s various model segments, dual-sport Multistrada and Hypermotard led the field, rising by 11.4% to a total of 4469 machines. The Multistrada V4 was outright Ducati best-seller, accounting for 2456 of these. Following close behind was the naked/cruiser slot spanning Diavel, Monster and Streetfighter products, 19.1% up to 4319 bikes sold. Among them, some 1868 samples of the Monster range stood as runners-up in the popularity parade.

Full-on sports kit comprising Supersport and Panigale steeds increased by 8% to 2733. Only Scrambler sub-brand stuff let the side down, with retail volume falling by 26.8% to 1929. Nevertheless some 1557 were members of the Scrambler 800 family, qualifying third in best-seller rankings.

As for destinations, 57% of total Ducati retail volume went to customers in Europe, up from 52% in Q1 2021. US sales accounted for 10%, down from 13%. China flatlined on 8% and other markets combined declined from 27% to 25%.

Production during Q1 indicated where Ducati sees the action focus in Q2’s much stronger selling season. Scrambler output was just 1.1% lower at 3194. Naked/cruiser stacked on 89.2% to 7270. Dual-sport, with the new Desert X joining Multistrada in this predominantly adventure line-up, climbed by 27.4% to 5601. Sports dropped by 7.2% to 3714.

Commenting on the results, Ducati vice president for global sales and aftersales Francesco Milicia proffered both good news and bad news. “Ducati’s order portfolio at the end of the quarter is up by 83% over the same period of 2021, demonstrating the success that the recently presented range is already having with customers,” he opined.

But then Milicia went on to say: “Figures achieved during the first three months of the year, while setting a new record, are the result of strong demand for products that have to deal with extraordinary difficulties, especially for all motorcycle components equipped with semiconductors. Delays in supply chains are unfortunately affecting our ability to deliver bikes on schedule, and we apologise to our passionate customers for this.”

However, an upbeat conclusion is that Ducati’s German masters are apparently planning to invest half a billion quid in refreshing their Italian bike business over the 2022-2026 period.

€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 6 May.      

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