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RED BIKES DIPPED IN RED INK

Ducati’s first-quarter 2020 performance was understandably poor given coronavirus-afflicted circumstances, with plunging sales, production and profit. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports.

Revenue for the three months finished 18.8% down at £127.9m. Conventionally-stated accounting indicated an associated operating loss of £870,000, against a profit of £8.7m in the equivalent period last year. But once wily German beancounters in Ingolstadt had played the usual clever trick of eliminating purchase-price allocation effects from their Italian subsidiary, this was amended to a 75% decline in operating profit to £3.5m.

Global quarterly retail sales volume fell by 23.7% to 9585 motorcycles. Ducati’s struggling Scrambler sub-brand took the hardest knock, a 39.2% dive to 1765. Naked machines, encompassing Diavel, Monster and Streetfighter models, were 19.5% down to 2468. Multistrada and Hypermotard products dropped by 19.5% to 2894. However, the supersport and superbike segment managed a faint glimmer of positivity, 0.2% up at 2458 — just six additional sales.

Ducati production worldwide sank by 17.2% to 13,395 bikes. As Covid-19 ravaged Northern Italy, output at the brand’s main plant in Bologna retreated by 21.9% to 10,989. However, assembly in Thailand increased by 9.3% to 2193 and contract manufacture in Brazil almost doubled to 213.

Audi, Ducati’s direct parent in the Volkswagen Group hierachy, issued the following predictable forecast for its prospects: “In the motorcycle markets that are relevant for the Ducati brand in the displacement segment above 500cc, we anticipate a significant decline worldwide in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.”  

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