After a Reuters report that Volkswagen might be letting go of motorcycle brand Ducati, which it owns via subsidiary Audi, a rumour has emerged that Royal Enfield of India may be considering a purchase of the Italian manufacturer. This was reported by Times of India, which said Eicher Motors – which owns the Enfield brand – has been approached by investment bankers Evercore about an expression of interest.

The Borgo Panigale firm is valued by some estimates at 1.5 billion euros (RM7.12 billion) and was acquired by Audi in 2012 for a reported sum of 860 million euros (RM4.08 billion). Unnamed sources have said that Eicher is examining the acquisition terms, price should it decide to purchase, and how Ducati would fit into its own brand portfolio.

Approached for a statement, Siddartha Lal, managing director and chief executive officer of Eicher, said, “we cannot talk to you of such things. I have a general view on such things. We are always open to thoughts and ideas. But as you know, we are the most focused and selective company…” “So basically, without saying absolutely no to anything – because we never say never – we are so zeroed in on our own opportunity that we do not want anything to distract us,” said Lal.

Royal Enfield’s current range of motorcycles encompasses the Classic, Bullet and Thunderbird with 350 cc and 500 cc engines, the Himalayan dual-purpose with 410 cc, and the Continental GT at 535 cc. Purchase of Ducati, with its range of V-twins ranging from 400 cc to 1,299 cc, and covering everything from superbikes to dual-purpose touring to retro machines, would fit into Eicher’s plans to make Enfield a “global brand”.

Ducati had sales of 593 million euros (RM2.81 billion) in 2016 with 55,451 units sold, representing a sales growth of 1.2%. Other interested parties may include players in the motorcycle market such as Suzuki, Honda, Polaris and Harley Davidson.