As Dieselgate rages on, with fall guys being fined and other German manufacturers taking pre-emptive strikes against the fate that has befallen Volkswagen (VW), more news has emerged that a short-list of five bidders for the sale of Audi asset, Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati, will be perused in September. It was earlier reported that the sale was opposed by VW union members sitting on its supervisory board, which oversees the group’s asset sales.

However, VW executives seem to be confused by the mixed messages being sent out, in a Bloomberg report. It was reported that Audi, as owner of Ducati, only started the process of an asset sale after being urged to do so by its parent company, according to unnamed sources.

While VW is not compelled to sell Ducati, as it has shown it possesses ample cash reserves, motorcycle manufacturing is not a core business for VW, unlike BMW, which has seen good results from its Motorrad arm, as well as Honda, whose Powersports unit dominates the Asian market. On the bidders list is the Benetton family’s holding company Edizione and former owner of Ducati, Investindustrial, both of whom have declined comment.

VW has expanded aggressively since 2007, acquiring Ducati for 860 million euros (RM4.35 billion) in 2012, as well as truck makers Scania and MAN. It currently has 120 factories across the world, employing 627,000 people, twice as many as Toyota, ranked second in the vehicle manufacturing rankings.

After the resignation of Martin Winterkorn, current chief executive officer Matthias Mueller is seeking to streamline VW’s operations worldwide. This includes slashing 10 billion euros (RM50.58 billion) in costs from Audi, which is VW’s largest profit contributor.