Thursday, April 25, 2024


Like its premium sector competitor BMW, Ducati got all the bragging about record 2021 worldwide sales volume details in early, leaving us to digest similarly plumptious monetary gains once the parental Audi Group’s flabby full-year statement landed on our desktop with a dull thud. BDN financial editor Roger Willis surveys this success.

Annual revenue soared by 29.9% to £735m, versus 2020’s attenuated turnover, which had been 5.6% down on pre-Covid 2019. Operating profit went ballistic, 154.2% up to £51.4m. Operating margin almost doubled to 7%, against just 3.6% in the previous year — but didn’t quite reach the 7.2% figure in 2019.

Production volume grew by 32.1% to 59,214 motorcycles. Of these, 48,848 were assembled in Italy at Bologna and 9447 in Thailand. A further 919 were bolted together from CKD kits by a contractor at Manaus in Brazil. Total 2021 production  was 14.5% higher than in 2019.

However, Audi provided substantially less information about Ducati model-segment quantities than in days of yore — in fact, none at all. And the same “omertà” rule was applied to retail sales make-up. We already knew two months ago that 2021 global sales had risen by 23.7% to 59,447 bikes, and were 11.8% up on 2019. But no fresh revelations arrived, apart from claiming an “absolute record with double-digit growth rates in all core markets”.

For what it’s worth, Audi seems extraordinarily proud that Bologna’s workforce has increased by 16.7% to 1560 staff over the past year and risen by 20.9% since 2019. Then a clue as to its main perspective came from a reference to the Ducati V21L prototype electric racer due to take over as control bike in Dorna’s FIM Enel MotoE World Cup in 2023.

“Performance is part of the Ducati DNA in terms of more than just its financial figures,” Audi enthused. “Ducati wants to demonstrate that top performance is also possible in the electric world, away from the combustion engine arena, and that the brand is focusing increasingly on sustainability.”

Alongside other electrifyingly green buzzwords like “carbon neutrality”, the whole statement was peppered with “sustainability” to such an extent there wasn’t much room for useful hard motorcycling data anymore. One sworn undertaking is that Audi Group will solely produce electric vehicles by 2026. But nowhere did it say such a cut-off date is set for Ducati too. Nor, mercifully, did it mention that favourite Italian corporate stooge’s cliché “passion”.

€-£ currency translation at forex rates applicable on 17 March    

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