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Ducati is an Italian company based in the Borgo Panigale district in Bologna, Italy. The group is owned by Audi, the German automobile manufacturer, through its Italian subsidiary, Lamborghini, which in turn is owned by the Volkswagen Group.

Currently, the group includes four companies:

Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A., formerly known as Ducati Meccanica.

Ducati Corse, launching Ducati’s racing line program and being fully owned by Ducati Motor Holding.

Ducati Energia, formerly known as Ducati Elettronica, the designer and manufacturer of electrical and electronic components and systems.

Ducati Sistemi, an associated company of Ducati Energia providing electronic and information technologies for road, train and automatic applications for the purpose of automation.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Ducati company produced radios, cameras and electrical products, such as shavers, and it produced the BIMAR marine binoculars for the military navy during the Second World War, which were also sold on the civilian market after the war. Ducati Sogno is a portable video camera, comparable to Leica, and is now a collector's item. Ducati and Bianchi have developed and launched a new line of racing bicycles.

Ducati Motor Holding often uses electrical components and subsystems by Ducati Energia.


In 1926, Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three sons, Adriano, Marcello and Bruno Cavalieri Ducati founded Società Scientifica Radio Brevetti Ducati in Bologna, which was intended for the production of vacuum tubes, condensers and other radio components. In 1935, they were successful enough to initiate the construction of a new factory in the Borgo Panigale district of the city. Manufacture continued during the Second World War, although the Ducati factory was repeatedly the target of Allied bombings.

The company started with the manufacturing of motor vehicles, when the Cucciolo, an engine installed on bicycles, was produced in 1950 for the small company, SIATA (Society Italiana per Applicazioni Tecniche Auto-Aviatorie) from Turin, which later sold its own product based on the engine. Over the subsequent years, the company expanded its product range, adding larger motorbikes.

In 1953, management split the company into two separate entities, Ducati Meccanica SpA and Ducati Elettronica, thus supporting the growth of both product lines, motorcycles and electronics. Ducati Elettronica became Ducati Energia SpA in the 1980s. Dr. Giuseppe Montano took over as head of Ducati Meccanica SpA and the factory in the Borgo Panigale district was modernized with the support of the government. By 1954, Ducati Meccanica SpA had increased production to 120 motorbikes per day.

Ducati Cucciolo, 1950

During the 1960s, Ducati created motorcycle history by producing Mach 1, the fastest motorbike with an engine capacity of 250 cc. In 1985, Cagiva bought Ducati and planned to rebadge Ducati motorcycles with the “Cagiva” name. By the time the purchase was completed, Cagiva retained the name Ducati on their motorcycles. Eleven years later, in 1996, Cagiva accepted an offer by the Texas Pacific Group and sold a 51% stake in the company for US$325 million. In 1998, the Texas Pacific Group bought most of the remaining 49% in order to become the sole owner of Ducati. In 1999, TPG issued an initial public offering of Ducati stock and renamed the company “Ducati Motor Holding SpA”. TPG sold more than 65% of its shares in the Ducati company, while it remained the majority shareholder. In December 2005, Ducati returned to Italian ownership, when TPG sold their stake (minus one share) to Investindustrial Holdings, the investment fund of Carlo and Andrea Bonomi.

In April 2012, Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, announced its intention to buy Ducati for €860 million (US$1.2 billion). Volkswagen chairman, Ferdinand Piëch, a motorcycle enthusiast, had long coveted Ducati, and regretted that he had missed the opportunity to buy the company from the Italian government in 1984. Analysts doubted a tiny motorcycle maker would have a meaningful effect on a company the size of Volkswagen, commenting that the acquisition had “a trophy feel to it,” and, “is driven by VW's passion for nameplates rather than industrial or financial logic”. Lamborghini, the Italian luxury car brand, was strengthened under VW’s ownership. On July 19, 2012 the Lamborghini S.p.A. automotive company acquired 100% of the shares of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. for €747 million (US$909 million).


Since 1926, Ducati has been owned by a number of groups and companies.

1926-1950 – Ducati family

1950-1967 – Government Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI) management

1967-1978 – Government EFIM management (control over day-to-day factory operations)

1967-1973 – Headed By Giuseppe Montano

1973-1978 – Headed by Cristiano de Eccher

1978-1985 – VM Group

1985-1996 – Cagiva Group

1996-2005 – Texas-Pacific Group (US-based) ownership and going public

Headed by CEO Federico Minoli, 1996–2001; returning for 2003-2007

2005-2008 – Investindustrial Holdings, S.p.A

2008-2012 – Performance Motorcycles S.p.A

An investment vehicle formed by Investindustrial Holdings, BS Investimenti and Hospitals of the Ontario Pension Plan

19 July 2012 – present – Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

AUDI AG acquired 100% of the voting rights of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. via Audi's Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. subsidiary.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, the Spanish company MotoTrans licensed Ducati engines and produced motorbikes, although incorporating subtle differences, that were clearly Ducati-derived.MotoTrans's most notable machine was the 250 cc 24 Horas (Spanish for “24 hours”).