With Dieselgate making 2016 Volkswagen’s (VW) annus horribilis, yet another rumour has emerged about the sale of Ducati, this time to Harley-Davidson. The deal is said to cost 1.67 billion USD (RM7.16 billion), reported Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

Harley-Davidson is reported to have engaged financial consultants Goldman Sachs to conduct due diligence, with an offer being made as early as July. However, the report stated the sale of Ducati might not be finalised before the annual EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in mid-November, because VW wants to find the right buyer.

Several parties have expressed interest in purchasing Ducati, including motorcycle manufacturers Eicher Motors, owner of the Royal Enfield of India brand, Hero Motocorp – formerly Hero Honda of India, and capital investment firms Permira and CVC Capital. The sale of Ducati will allow VW to free up working capital, something it needs to settle the penalties imposed by Dieselgate.

In 2016, Ducati – owned by VW group’s Audi – reported a sales revenue of 593 million euros (RM2.84 billion), coming from the sale of 55,451 motorcycles as well as branded merchandise. This is an increase of 1.2% over its 2015 sales figures.

Harley-Davidson previously ventured into Italy in 1960, when it purchased a 50% share in Aermacchi from aviation firm Aeronautica Macchi, culminating in a full buy-out in 1974. During 1961 to 1978, the Varese, Italy, plant produced the M-65, M-65S, Rapido and SS-250 two-stroke 250s, as well as the four-stroke 350 cc Sprint, ceasing production when the facility was sold to Cagiva.