Slightly better, but not much more than the ez riders column. I'm not a big Ducati fan, but I like to see them bring competition to the japanese ruled market. So if the profits are up I guess thats a good thing for all of us. I don't own any shares in the Ducati company so I'm curious as to why this site is posting financial news? I still don't see any reason to donate yet guys helps me out here.......
Ducati may be making money but in my opinion, the company has lost it's heart and soul with the departure of Massimo Bordi who was run out by not being promoted. In response to this news, Barry Sheene stated, "I hear that Bordi has left Ducati, that's the last one gone now, some one please turn out the lights".
Bordi was one of the last engineers (and actual motorcycle enthusiast) in the executive ranks of Ducati. Bordi was responsible for the basic engine design that Foggy used to win so many WSBK races/championships. It strikes me that Ducati is tending toward the Harley Davidson business model of "all show, no go" or as we say in Texas, "all hat and no cattle".
But if you expect that everything (or even a majority) they do is going to interest you, you're in the wrong place. I've come to realize how good MO is. But they are much more like Cycle World magazine, catering to all interest (sport bikes, touring, cruisers, dirtbikest, etc,). There are more targeted magazines (web sites too) for specific interests.
PS As I keep getting reminded, the news is not their main focus. The bike/product reviews are.
I kinda feel the same way. Corporate America always seems to focus on the flash and glitter instead of the actual product. Ducati needs to do more R&D or else it'll end up just like Harley-Davidson. Twenty year-old technology for a high price, and you get to part of club Ducatisti. I like Ducatis, but I hope TPG doesn't try to rely on Massimo's creation forever. They lost their soul when he left. They better find a new one, fast!
No knock on Bordi, but all this stuff about the soul leaving with him is nonsense.
Whatever he did right, and whatever you say about his being an engineer and enthusiast, he and the Castiglionis couldn't manage to make a decent regulator or ensure consistent parts availability. They left TPG with lots of quality control problems, which, one by one, the new ownership seems to be addressing.
TPG has made great strides in these regards, and they continue to improve things. They're not all flashy by any means. Look at the ST2/4 line. Since their introduction, they've gotten better alternators, sane sidestands, and several substantive real-world tweaks that have nothing to do with flash.
The Monster S4 is the real deal, as is the new testastretta superbike engine, which continues Ducati's history of significant refinement rather than reinvention.
No, Ducati not only can be like Harley, it will be like Harley and soon. Now that Bordi is gone, Ducati is no longer an engineering organization, it is only a marketing organization (just like Harley-Davidson). Harley sells so much product because there are so many baby-boomers with disposable income that want antique machines to live out the "easy rider" and "born to be wild" fantasies they missed out on as teenagers. Harley is riding that wave. It's that simple.
Bordi was the guy that was responsible for the increase in quality and quantity of shipping product. Success is about selling product and Bordi (among others) made Ducati's recent years of success possible.
TPG has only a 30% stake in Ducati, they don't own Ducati. They did rescue Ducati but they also realized that there was something worth saving. Service parts availability is now much better (about as good as for Suzuki). The build quality and reliability of the bikes is also much improved. I've got a '98 916 which I use to commute with and have had very few problems with it.
I'm not saying that Bordi was sole reason that Ducati is in much better shape now, but he was in an executive position during the time that Monster S4 and Testastretta engine (an evolutionary step of Bordi's original design BTW) were in development as well as the sane kick stand (but it is easy to convert the self retracting kickstand to a standard action). Ducati alternators are fine. Batteries go flat as a consequence of being left idle, maybe you need to ride more often.
It was my understanding that when TPG bought Ducati from the Castiglionis, they bought a majority stake. So if TPG owns only 30% now, they must have sold off part of their share to investors.
My point about Bordi was that he was part of Ducati's failures as well as successes. As were the Castiglionis, who I would guees will continue to make a big splash with their new ventures, and probably mismanage them into the ground. (Aprilia will probably be glad to eventually gobble up these margues in a few years.)
It's always easy to romanticize bygone days; my point is that the old management team just weren't good at the nuts-and-bolts stuff. Ducati regulators have been notorious for some time. There were lots of serious quality control issues regarding everything from rocker arms to swing arms. Those kinds of problems are finally being addressed by new management.
As far as the alternator upgrade I mentioned, they must have done it for a reason, don't you think? For the record, I think it was less a matter of failures than it was putting on a beefier unit. ST2/4 riders tend to use electric vests and other accessories more often.
Which is all to say that management seems to be doing a better job of paying attention to its market and refining its products.
Actually Harley's market share in Europe is rather tiny and they would like to increase it --but not necessarily with their traditional American "hogs" which they have waiting lists for in the American market alone. One reason they're bringing out a new 115-hp Porsche-designed liquid-cooled "sport cruiser" next year is to appeal to more potential European customers. It will be styled differently from any current Harley-badged bike, much like a naked sportbike, but priced higher than a Buell (with the justification of being more technically sophisticated than the Sportster-based Buell). It is seems to be aimed at competing with S4 Monsters and Triumph Speed Triples as well as in the muscle-cruiser class. Should be interesting to see if many Europeans buy it.
In Europe people currently buy Harleys just because they just want something different, expensive and head-turning that is rare enough to be somewhat "exotic" over there. That is, they buy them for much the same reasons many American posers buy Ducatis, posers who don't even come remotely close to having the riding skills necessary to appreciate what they've purchased, they just want an "un-Harley" status symbol.
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