Mercedes-Benz AMG division has canceled its nearly two-year marketing partnership with Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati. The move came after it was announced that Audi had purchased Ducati; the high-performance AMG division explained that the partnership became untenable due to, “the company takeover by a rival car manufacturer.”
Audi announced yesterday that it had purchased Ducati, after the Italian bike company was put up for sale earlier this year. Because Audi and Mercedes-Benz are rivals, the company’s high-performance AMG division apparently had no choice but to terminate the partnership.
“The company takeover by a rival car manufacturer has understandably resulted in the end of any further collaboration,” read an official statement sent from Mercedes-Benz. “The takeover of Ducati was never our aim — our focus lies clearly in developing and producing premium performance cars and we will be concentrating all our energy on this.”
AMG and Ducati announced the partnership at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show. The arrangement initially saw AMG sponsoring Ducati’s MotoGP racing efforts and becoming the team’s “Official Car Partner.” Ducati bikes were to be made available at certain AMG test-drive events, and similarly AMG cars would be on offer for test drives at Ducati events.
Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio later took delivery of a Mercedes CLS63 AMG to highlight the partnership. The two companies teamed up on the Diavel AMG sportbike that debuted at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and a Mercedes SLK55 AMG was shown in Italy wearing a special Ducati-exclusive shade of yellow paint.
Last year, AMG chief Ola Källenius told us that a match-up between AMG and Ducati was obvious because, “The people who are into performance cars often also have a performance bike in their garages.” In addition to marketing opportunities, Källenius said that the two brands complemented each other and added a prestige factor: a Ducati bike on display, for instance, could lure customers into a Mercedes dealership.
Perhaps now they’ll lure buyers into an Audi showroom and into a new S- or RS-line model.