Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG with Ducati Streetfighter 848
Ever since Mercedes-Benz’s performance offshoot AMG announced its co-branding deal with Ducati
in November of 2010, there’s been talk that the alliance was simply a precursor to the eventual takeover of the Italian motorbike manufacturer by Mercedes’ parent company Daimler.
Any chance of that ever happening was put to an end earlier this week following the announcement of Ducati’s takeover by Audi
Understandably, all ties between Mercedes and Ducati have since been cut, according to the automaker.
At the same time, Mercedes is quick to mention that a takeover of Ducati was never its aim; "our focus lies clearly in developing and producing premium performance cars and we will be concentrating all our energy on this,” the automaker said in an official statement following the announcement of the takeover.
Mercedes and Ducati had previously worked on co-branding efforts, which consisted mostly of joint marketing and sponsoring activities. Mercedes would support the Ducati MotoGP team as an Official Car Partner and during selected Mercedes-Benz and AMG events participants were able to take test rides on Ducati motorbikes. Similarly, Ducati customers were able to familiarize themselves with the latest Mercedes-Benz and AMG high-performance cars at the motorbike manufacturer’s own events.
While it’s not clear yet what benefits or synergies Audi will be able to generate from its takeover of Ducati, which is estimated to have cost some $1.1 billion, the German automaker has mentioned that the progressive control systems and special combustion chamber process of Ducati engines, their resulting sporty character, and Ducati’s extensive know-how in lightweight construction should be able to benefit not only Audi but the entire Volkswagen Group.