Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeNEWSDucatisti to Scrambleristi

Ducatisti to Scrambleristi

Ducati moved from the Gherkin in the City of London to the Outernet art/exhibition space in Soho for its latest glitzy London presentation – this time focusing on the new Scrambler lineup. A host of young, attractive, brand-friendly guests sampled bespoke cocktails and boogied to a selection of modern rhythmic beats, as Ducati presented the updated 2023 models in the 800cc retro V-twin roadster range.

Members of the not at all young or attractive motorcycle press were also in attendance, spoiling the vibe a little. So BDN got the chance for a chat with a very senior member of Ducati’s management team – Patrizia Cianetti. Cianetti is the marketing and communications director of Ducati Motor Holding and she has been at the firm since 2000.

We started off by talking about the Ducati Scrambler sub-brand. Launched in 2015, it was seen by some as an attempt to do the same job as the MINI did for BMW: give the firm a whole new outlet for its technology and opening up a different market. For Scrambler, that appeared to mean younger, perhaps less affluent, maybe more novice riders and women – people who wouldn’t necessarily think of a Ducati as their first big bike.

Has it turned out that way? Cianetti thinks so. “Scrambler has always been a model able to talk to a wide type of riders, age, riding competencies, male, female. It’s also the range with the biggest percentage of female riders in the Ducati family and this makes a lot of sense since women are half of the world!”

And she’s keen to stress that the new 2023 bikes are set to continue this. “Of course, the evolution of this new generation of Scrambler is meant to talk more to the younger generation: all the different colours, customisation, opportunities for self-expression. The way we are presenting and talking to people, the idea of evolving the Scrambler, keeping the same soul, the same attitude and personality, but bringing a contemporary style and more technology, like the LED lights, TFT dashboard, electronics, ABS. But also a new riding experience: smoother, more dynamic and also more fun.”

It was seen by some as an attempt to do the same job as the MINI did for BMW: give the firm a whole new outlet for its technology and opening up a different market

She insists that Scramblers aren’t only for novices, though. “Scrambler is probably the model in the whole Ducati family that is able to talk to the very widest audience. We have Panigale riders that also have a Scrambler in their garage. But you may only have a 35kW [A2 licence] Scrambler, so it’s really wide. And then, of course, we also have riders who maybe have had a license but have not been riding for many years, and they decide to come back. The Scrambler is there with technology that is contemporary, safe and modern, with rider modes, traction control etc.”

Does Ducati have to be careful that the Scrambler doesn’t cannibalise the main range – of the Monster, say? “We say that Scrambler is more of an addition [to the Monster], and it is really complementary to Ducati, not only in terms of brand and communication codes but also in terms of product and the riding experience. So we introduce probably the level of fun and excitement as needed, also to talk better to younger generations.”

CIanetti bristles a little when we ask if there will be more ‘retro’ bikes from the company. “We don’t like to call it retro, but when we presented the first Scrambler in 2015, the idea was to keep the same style and values but with a contemporary interpretation. If you compare it with the other bikes in the segment, the Scrambler looks like a completely modern bike.”

Could Ducati move back into the 1970s, with perhaps a reboot of something like the original 1975 900 Supersport?

“We love to take inspiration from the past in general, so from time to time, we visit our museums with the designers from the Centro Stile [Ducati’s design centre]. We have an idea, like what happened with the DesertX, and then you may define it as retro, but it’s not!”

A straight retro copy of an old bike would be too simple, then? “We don’t like normally to copy, but when there is both the inspiration and the opportunity and we believe that it will be a fantastic Ducati, then we try to create a new bike that takes inspiration and elements from our history, it’s not just copying.”

Turning to the UK bike market in general – how important is it to Ducati? “You know, this event is the first of a series that will happen in Rome, Munich, Madrid and Paris, and London is the first. Recently we ran the first Live event from Ducati London, so it’s an incredibly important market for us. It’s a country in which the motorcycle culture is so much a part of the entire culture, but there are also plenty of icons and great riders.”

How does the firm do its marketing differently in the UK? “I think we try always to be true to ourselves, following our values and our mission. Everything we do is guided by science, sophistication, performance, to produce unforgettable and exceptional experiences around our motorcycles. So I think this is the founding base of all the marketing and communication activity we do, and here it’s the same.

“Of course, we want to enlarge maybe the lifestyle and cool side of riding a Ducati. Not only on the race track but also to develop even further, in the touring adventure segment.”

Fabrizio Cazzoli, Ducati UK MD, adds: “We are present at all the main happenings of the motorcycle industry; you see us at the NEC, ExCeL, and ABR. And of course, it needs to be tailor-made because the audience is slightly different, nevertheless, without compromising our DNA or who we are.”

Does Ducati’s recent massive race success in MotoGP and WSBK – winning both titles last year – help with the basics of selling Scramblers day to day? Patrizia Cianetti thinks so. “It helps a lot. It’s a big stage where we put on a great show for our Ducatisti. And of course, when you win everything, it is a nicer show! For us, the racing environment is, first of all, the best possible technological laboratory for moving our technology into the production series. But it is also an opportunity to entertain and to engage with Ducatisti, and we even give an opportunity to [Panigale V4] Superleggera owners to ride the MotoGP bikes; we’re the only brand to do that. And we have a lot of Scrambleristi going to the events – it’s not the case if you like Scrambler you don’t like racing, and so for us, it’s a very wide opportunity.”

We round off our chat by asking what changes Cianetti has seen in the past 23 years. “Yes, I am part of the furniture! When I started in 2000, the Texas Pacific Group owned the company, and there have been incredibly big steps forward. The company really is brand-new in every part: product, processes, organisation, technologies, size, everything. And we are also celebrating ten years of CEO Claudio Domenicali, and I think he gave a strong push in the right direction to make Ducati as big, as strong, and I would say trustworthy as it is now compared to the past.”

How has the Volkswagen Audi Group takeover changed things? “The acquisition from the Volkswagen group has been incredibly positive. Because they trust us, they leave us be. We share objectives and discuss strategies, but they respect us. And when they started the relationship, they said, ‘Ducati remains Ducati,’ and the most important thing is that all the company’s earnings stay in the company. That allows us to invest more, and that allows us to develop the product and develop the company itself.”


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