Will HD kill Ducati
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Will HD kill Ducati

This is a discussion on Will HD kill Ducati within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Guess HD is moving in an attempt to acquire Ducati. This can't be good for the Ducati brand in the future if they succeed....

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Thread: Will HD kill Ducati

  1. #1
    Senior Member nic579's Avatar
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    Will HD kill Ducati

    Guess HD is moving in an attempt to acquire Ducati. This can't be good for the Ducati brand in the future if they succeed.

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    Member doogalman's Avatar
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    Be good for whoever buys it for a Euro after they've done with it, ala MV Agusta!
    But seriously, why should it be a bad thing?
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    Senior Member CaTacL1sm's Avatar
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    I'm surprised anyone at Ducati would entertain the idea of being bought by HD. I'd imagine that there'd be plenty of other euro auto companies or moguls who would be interested.

    Honestly, I bet it's going to be bought by some rich Indian guy.
    Quote Originally Posted by alwhite00 View Post
    Fuck all of you guys. Get into your little circle jerk and have fun. Thought this may be a pretty cool message board but damn, you guys are assholes.

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    Senior Member knappyfeet's Avatar
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    HD stock went up today on the news.

    I think it would be a good thing for both brands

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    Senior Member Farmer_John's Avatar
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    I can see it now...

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  7. #6
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    HD owned 50% Aermacchi from 1960 to 1974 and 100% of the company from 1974-1978. During that time HD got a access to a market previously unavailable to them (the small and middleweight bike market - we are going to ignore the harley hummer for a moment), They got a fairly capable (Actually legendary) small racing machine (Ala D'oro) that helped them be competitive in other classes, and they got a capable engineering department that was actually interested in technology rather than fighting with production and racing. In exchange Aermacchi got to continue to make interesting motorcycles and sell them in europe, plus access to the american market. Aermacchi didn't really suffer until they were purchased by Cagiva because the Aermacchi name was round filed and All the Aermacchi bikes suddenly became cagivas.

    Ducati was owned by Cagiva from 1985 until 1996, and during that time they went from a struggling company making horribly unreliable but strikingly beautiful exotic motorcycles to making a solid, competitive, reliable, profitable product. Whatever success Ducati has had it owes do cagiva.

    My point is, there is some precedent for an HD buyout of Ducati. The customer profiles are actually kind of similar on a lot of metrics, and both have dedicated followings, even if the bikes themselves are different.

    What Harley brings to the table is:

    - mfg quality control practices: It sounds strange I know but HD's are now one of the best assembled motorcycles in terms of fit and finish. Don't get me wrong, they are still more repair prone than their Japanese counterparts (26% of new harleys need repairs in the first 4 years as opposed to 11% of all new yamahas, and 33% of new ducatis) but the paint quality, assembly quality, fit and finish, are all very high and lead to HD having one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings (72% of owners would buy another, as opposed to ducati's 66% and yamaha's 63%). I bought an '06 Ducati new in 2007. It had 3 warranty fixes in the parking lot that almost caused me to refuse delivery. the paint finish is awful (the decals have started to bubble under the clear), the coatings are thin on mechanical pieces, and some of the hardware is so poorly plated that the heads have begun to rust on a bike that has gone 6K miles in 11 years and spend most of it's life in a garage next to a dehumidifier. And this is before I mention the tank issue which has caused me to be one of the 34% of owners who absolutely would never buy another new ducati. ( Consumer Reports will continue controversial motorcycle ratings - LA Times )

    - money: Ducati also has a lot of problems with customer service and a lot of that has traditionally been tied to them always operating like a cash strapped company. It's not an italian thing, guzzi doesn't have nearly the reputation for dicking over customers that Ducati has in order to save a penny. HD can sort this all out with buckets of cash. Also racing is expensive and ducati's race team always seems to be struggling for money. Can you imagine an HD return to racing with ducati engineering along side ducati race bikes in moto GP and world superbike? It's making me hard just thinking about it.

    - Marketing: the ducati merch is all over the map. They have t-shirts that are hard to get and then nobody wants, and then expensive jackets that for some reason people buy. Their toys are solid, anywhere I can find a harley diecast I can usually find a ducati, but there is a market for HD like branding on merch for ducati and they just don't do it well. I am one of those idiots that collects motorcycle t-shirts from cities I visit, which means most of them are harley but it isn't for lack of trying. I remember being in a ducati dealer in Merida, Mexico years ago and they didn't have a single t-shirt to sell me (not one my size, they literally had no merch outside of helmets and some gloves).

    What Ducati brings to the table:

    - Access to the sport bike market. Since HD killed off buell they haven't had access to the sporty market and it has hurt their image. Whether Buell was good for HD or not I don't know (it certainly was good for americans who like american sport bikes) but they do need access to the performance marketplace beyond a couple of v-rod based pro stock drag race motorcycles, because it helps move accessories. Moto racisim is a thing. There are people who buy american bikes because they are american, and there are people who want to buy american sport bikes instead of japanese ones. Ducati ain't american but they ain't asian either, so they can draw some customers off that alone.

    - greater european presence: Sure HD is known all over the world but what kind of reputation is that? big gas hog cruisers that handle like couches? Ducati is fast, sleek, sexy, and know for it everywhere that isn't america. HD can tie into that, can use the networks to sell their products to a market that wasn't available to them before.


    I really don't see a downside if they are smart. Of course both companies have histories of making terrible decisions to and it is completely possible for them to flush all the good stuff and do something boneheaded but I don't see that happening without a lot of warning signs.
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    Senior Member woodsman's Avatar
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    My first thought was of Pink Floyd
    "O.K.
    Just a little pin prick
    There'll be no more aaaaaaaah!
    But you may feel a little sick".

    I've become uncomfortably numb.
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  9. #8
    Fk5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    - Marketing: the ducati merch is all over the map. They have t-shirts that are hard to get and then nobody wants, and then expensive jackets that for some reason people buy. Their toys are solid, anywhere I can find a harley diecast I can usually find a ducati, but there is a market for HD like branding on merch for ducati and they just don't do it well. I am one of those idiots that collects motorcycle t-shirts from cities I visit, which means most of them are harley but it isn't for lack of trying. I remember being in a ducati dealer in Merida, Mexico years ago and they didn't have a single t-shirt to sell me (not one my size, they literally had no merch outside of helmets and some gloves).
    This surprises me. Over there, they seem like they have licensed the name on a ton of things. Alright it was northern Italy, but Milan is a couple of hours and a huge cultural change from Borgo Panigale. In particular I remember them selling a decent amount of over-priced mountain bikes and a literal tons of Puma sneakers.
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    Last edited by Fk5; 06-22-2017 at 02:21 PM.

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    Senior Member knappyfeet's Avatar
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    At the end of the day it seems to benefit Ducati more than HD.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fk5 View Post
    This surprises me. Over there, they seem like they have licensed the name on a ton of things. Alright it was northern Italy, but Milan is a couple of hours and a huge cultural change from Borgo Panigale. In particular I remember them selling a decent amount of over-priced mountain bikes and a literal tons of Puma sneakers.
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    I was going to write that you don't see harley davidson branded mountain bikes but then I remembered you do if you shop at ToyRus, target, and walmart in the kids bike section. And that's kind of the point - I don't know who is going to buy an adult men's overpriced mountain bike for a lot of money, when you can license to kids and sell the image plus a cheap motorcycle for cheap and start them young. Most of the people who have the money to buy an adult's ducati bicycle have enough sense to buy a real bicycle from a real manufacturer, but those same people will buy their kids a $150 ducati branded kids bike...but we don't see a ducati branded kids bike do we? By the way the ducati branded bikes are made by Bianchi so they aren't total garbage, but they are built to a price point so as to pay for the license so they aren't a good value. Plus they are like $4K (for the road bike with good parts) so how many units are you really gonna move?

    Yamaha actually does the bike thing way more awesomely than either of them:

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    and this is why yamaha has the best selling dirt bike out of the big four.

    Ducati knows technically how to license stuff, but they need the marketing and research arm of HD to figure out how to license stuff so it impacts their brand in a positive way.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

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