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I'm going to translate (and abbreviate) and interview regarding the Milan Bike show 2009 and other issues concerning Ducati. I will post the translations in red. I will not do a literal translation as this would take too long, but hopefully this will add some value to the forum in the form of original news. Ciao.

Ducati e il futuro oltre la crisi: tante novità all'EICMA 2009 e uno sguardo rivolto a nuovi segmenti di mercato
pubblicato: martedì 21 luglio 2009 da Marco F. in: Varie Curiosità Ducati Interviste Personaggi Saloni Eicma
-Ducati and the future after the economic crisis: new models for EICMA 2009 and a look into the future of the brand

La crisi economica sta condizionando pesantemente il mercato della moto: per rispondere a questa emergenza, grandi aziende giapponesi come Honda e Yamaha, sono state “costrette” a prendere decisioni impopolari e dolorose, come l’abbandono del Salone di Milano per l’anno 2009.
-the recession is affecting the motorcycle market in general very heavily, some large Japanese makers have been forced to abandon the milan show for 2009

Per conoscere la situazione e le soluzioni scacciacrisi adottate dai marchi nostrani, abbiamo quindi voluto ascoltare il parere di una delle aziende simbolo del motociclismo Made in Italy: la Ducati, che ha espresso il suo punto di vista attraverso le parole del direttore marketing Diego Sgorbati.
-to get to better know the situation, we are interviewing Diego Sgorbati, the Marketing VP for Ducati.

D: La crisi economica ha costretto Honda e Yamaha a disertare il salone EICMA 2009. Cosa farà Ducati? “Crediamo che come azienda italiana da un lato e testimone del made in italy dall’altro, nonostante non sia un anno facile per nessuno, sia fondamentale mantenere alto il livello dell’happening più importante dell’anno nel mondo delle moto. Siamo piacevolmente costretti a partecipare…”
-is Ducati going to skip the Milan show like some Jap brands had to? "while this is a bad year for everyone, as an italian company we are "happily" forced to attend"



D: Quanto pesa sul bilancio di una azienda come Ducati la partecipazione ad eventi di tipo espositivo come il salone di Milano? “E’ effettivamente molto costoso. Se per altre aziende può significare spendere circa un milione di euro, in proporzione al fatturato, per noi partecipare ad un evento come EICMA può essere meno oneroso ma ugualmente impegnativo.”
-How expensive is it for a company like Ducati to attend? "it is quite expensive, about 1million euro.

D: Quanto conta nel cuore degli appassionati la presenza o l’assenza di un marchio all’interno di un salone? “E’ difficile dirlo. L’unico modo per verificarlo sarebbe non partecipare ai saloni… Per una marca come Ducati, molto legata all’esperienza e alle persone, una marca non fredda e calcolatrice, ma intensa e accalorata, la presenza al salone e l’incontro coi ducatisti è un qualcosa di molto importante. Non dimentichiamoci poi che una fiera come quella di Milano è un Salone dove si fa anche business: si fanno affari, si incontrano i concessionari e c’è tutta un’intensità di relazioni B2B.”
-how much does attending mean to your customers? "hard to say, only way to find out would be to not attend. But for our brand - very tied to customer experience and interaction, it is very important to meet our customers. Milan is a huge networking event also for dealers, a lot of business is done there."

D: C’è il rischio che gli appassionati possano perdere la voglia di visitare il Salone? “Nel breve periodo son convinto che riusciremo a non far sentire troppo la mancanza dei colossi giapponesi; nel lungo periodo però potrebbe essere minacciosa questa cosa, perché se l’assenza di grandi produttori si dovesse protrarre fino al 2011 e oltre, allora gli appassionati potrebbero veder svuotato di contenuto questo evento.”
-is there a risk that without the jap brands fans would not attend? "in the ST no, but in the Long term it would be very bad, if they didn't attend by 2011 and beyond the event would lose its significance.

D: Quanto pesa per Ducati la crisi economica globale? “Pesa abbastanza a dire il vero: sia in Italia che nella totalità dei mercati in cui operiamo, stiamo andando meglio di come và il mercato. Ciò significa che guadagniamo quote di mercato ad una velocità superiore a quella che ci aspettavamo, ma è anche vero che con le quote di mercato non si pagano gli stipendi, perché si pagano con le moto vendute. E’ come dire che si mangia metà torta invece che una fettina, ma la torta è molto più piccola.”
-how bad has the economic crisis affected Ducati? "it's been tough, but overall we are beating the market segment. We gain market share faster than expected, even though the pie is smaller."

D: Che cosa porterete al Salone di Milano? Quali novità ci attendono nel 2010? “Per il 2009 vi proporremo tante belle novità di Ducati, nel senso letterale del termine. Ci sarà più di una moto e saranno vere Ducati. La tanto vociferata Custom Cruiser però non ci sarà. Mentre la cosiddetta “enduro stradale”, di cui avete pubblicato più foto spia ci sarà, ma dobbiamo dire che a noi non sembra proprio un enduro stradale…”
-what are you bringing to EICMA 2009? 2010? "for 2009 there will be quite a few surprises, and multiple new bikes. The "custom cruiser" however will not be there, while the "road enduro" of which many spy photos exist will be there... however, we don't think of it as an "road enduro" like the mags describe it."

D: La Custom Cruiser quindi è momentaneamente sclusa dai vostri progetti? “In un orizzonte temporale ragionevolmente interessante per gli utenti escludiamola pure. Se la produrremo tra 4 o 5 anni oggi è difficile dirlo, perché la motocicletta “custom” è una di quelle strade che Ducati sta tenendo d’occhio, per capire se il marchio può avere un interesse o un’attrattività anche all’interno di segmenti che non sono quelli tipicamente Ducati.”
-so the custom cruiser is out? "in any kind of near future, yes, it's out. Maybe in 4-5 years we would look at the custom market to as well as other segments to see where we could expand"

“Ducati con la stessa attenzione guarda anche ad altri segmenti, come quello degli scooter, delle custom, dell’enduro e del fuoristrada. E’ normale che un azienda guardi al di là del proprio territorio elettivo. Prima però di decidere di intraprendere una strada ci sono “N” livelli di barriere, che sono tecnologiche e anche distributive. Quanti concessionari conosciamo che riescono a vendere bene sia le superbike che le moto da cross? Inoltre bisogna capire l’anima del prodotto, quanto è in sintonia con la marca. Non è detto che ciò che era in sintonia 20 anni fa lo sia anche oggi.”
-"ducati is looking at many segments, scooters, custom, enduro, off-road... it's a normal expansion. Before going down one road though we look at all the potential barriers, technological and distribution related. For example, how many of our dealers can sell a superbike, as well as a motocross bike? Also, does it match the "soul" of the brand, does it make sense. What worked 20 years ago might not make sense today."

D: Qual’è il ciclo di vita ideale del prodotto Ducati? “Per una serie di motivi, che sono positivi sia per il consumatore che per l’azienda, cerchiamo di mantenere dei cicli di vita che siano il più lunghi possibile. Cerchiamo di lavorare su cicli di vita di 6 o 7 anni, magari mettendo a metà vita un restyling o un miglioramento tecnico.”
-what is the lifecycle of a ducati product? "for many reasons, including positive ones for the customer and the company, we try to maintain the longest possible cycles. We try to work on 6-7 years cycles, during which time we might do a restyling or technical update.'

D: Cosa pensate delle moto a zero emissioni: Ducati ha in cantiere una moto ibrida o elettrica? “Noi siamo estremamente interessati a tutte queste tecnologie, però la domanda è: l’utente delle due ruote oggi si sente realmente responsabile dell’inquinamento delle città e cerca un modo per inquinare di meno? Rispettare le attuali e future norme di inquinamento per le moto è ancora fattibile con l’affinamento della tecnologia esistente e Ducati ha un piccolo vantaggio dal desmodromico, che controlla molto bene la combustione nel motore.”
-what are your thoughts on zero emissions bikes? "we are very interested in this segment, but the question is, does the rider of a Ducati feel responsible for polluting, and does he actively want to pollute less? For now, it is possible to respect local environmental norms with current technology and some further fine-tuning... specifically the desmodromic engine controls combustion exceptionally well."


“Ci sono però delle istanze interessanti, relative all’ibrido o all’elettrico, che non sono legate all’inquinamento ma, ad esempio, al rumore: una moto da cross elettrica può permettere di avere una pista da cross in centro a Milano, dove gli appassionati potrebbero andare ad allenarsi dopo illavoro…”
-"there are however interesting aspects related to hybrid a/o electric tech, that are not related to pollution, but related to noise. For example, an off-road motocross hybrid bike would allow riders to ride in the center of Milan without disturbing local ordinances... so owners could go riding in a downtown track after work."

D: Siete consapevoli del fatto che Ducati abbia certe volte un immagine di marchio con qualche difetto di troppo? “I commenti dei motociclisti li sentiamo anche noi, non viviamo in una torre d’avorio; siamo consapevoli che c’è una barriera all’acquisto di moto Ducati legata alla percezione di qualità e affidabilità. La percezione che le persone hanno è legata ad alcune carenze qualitative del passato con cui l’azienda sta combattendo quotidianamente. Noi monitoriamo con attenzione la qualità dei nostri prodotti e, per quanto sia possibile, misuriamo anche il livello dei concorrenti. La qualità di un prodotto Ducati attuale non è certo inferiore a quella degli altri prodotti europei. L’immagine di una marca però si muove con una velocità inferiore a quella che è la realtà delle cose; Ducati si impegna ogni giorno con serietà per cercare di dare veramente un prodotto di altissima qualità.”
-are you aware that ducati sometimes has a brand image with too many issues/defects/breakdowns? "we hear the comments of riders loud and clear, we don't live in an ivory tower, and we know that these issues are a barrier to purchase of a Ducati for some. The perception comes from some quality control issues from the past, with which the factory is fighting daily. We monitor the quality of our product carefully, and we know the quality of a ducati product is not inferior to that of our european competitors. The image of a brand though moves slower than the reality of events, Ducati works hard every day to try to sell a product of super-high quality."
 

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Thanks for taking the time to do that. I found it interesting. In particular his comments about the Milan show, attending or not attending, and the cruiser....How many new models out of the 10 promised have we seen. I'm tracking, 1098, 848, 1198, Hypermotard, Streetfighter, Monster.....did I miss any? Was the Desmosedici one of them? So that should leave the new Multi, and maybe one or two more by 2010?
 

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A 6-7 years cycle???? Geez what Ducati did recently to the owners of the 1098 is beyond a monumental f*%king. Bring out a great new superbike model...than follow that up w/ even a better one a few years later?
I honestly feel bad for the guys who bought a 1098,1098S and R....you hope a Ducati would hold it's value a bit longer. 2003-2006 999...2007-2008 1098 and now the 1198. Three models in 7 years.
 

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Ducati bringing out the 1198 model was a bit of a fluke I believe. I think when the 1098R was born with the 1199cc motor it was just a natural event to just use it for all of the larger superbikes creating uniformity. As for someone who purchased the 1098R in 07/08 they didn't get hosed because the 09 is the same. (as far as I know) and I wouldn't feel to bad for the 1098 owners its one hell of a machine but I get your point ZDM.

That said the Japo's usually have about a two year life cycle on their liter bikes before improvements come out so Ducati's 6-7 year cycle is long when compared to that. I think they can get away with it because of the loyal fan base. It wouldn'e surprise me though if they didn't at least do minor revamps on the big superbike every other year to stay competative with the Japo's a little.
 

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A 6-7 years cycle???? Geez what Ducati did recently to the owners of the 1098 is beyond a monumental f*%king. Bring out a great new superbike model...than follow that up w/ even a better one a few years later?
I honestly feel bad for the guys who bought a 1098,1098S and R....you hope a Ducati would hold it's value a bit longer. 2003-2006 999...2007-2008 1098 and now the 1198. Three models in 7 years.
"New" model is the 1098 and the 1198 is an update. Ducati have done this type of thing for two decades....851/888, 916/996/998, 1098/1198. They didn't do it to the 999 as it's too awesome.
 

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Not quite ! They should bring a new model out as soon as WSBK and dealer sales results demand it, no ?

(Personally, I couldn't be happier to see Ducati replace their top of the line product every two years though that is perfectly impractical.)


A 6-7 years cycle???? Geez what Ducati did recently to the owners of the 1098 is beyond a monumental f*%king. Bring out a great new superbike model...than follow that up w/ even a better one a few years later?
I honestly feel bad for the guys who bought a 1098,1098S and R....you hope a Ducati would hold it's value a bit longer. 2003-2006 999...2007-2008 1098 and now the 1198. Three models in 7 years.
 

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Not quite ! They should bring a new model out as soon as WSBK and dealer sales results demand it, no ?

(Personally, I couldn't be happier to see Ducati replace their top of the line product every two years though that is perfectly impractical.)
I'm taking the customer view on this...not Ducati Italy...they have the capital to do now why not. They sholud have just gone right with the 1198. They(Ducati) knew w/o a doubt that WSB and their infinate wisdom:D would buckle under the threat of W/D. Ducati had the motor in the 1098R why not start w/ that instead of a quick change from 1098-1198. It was obviuos that Ducati felt some backlash because creative financing/trade in of the 1098.
 

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I'm taking the customer view on this...not Ducati Italy...they have the capital to do now why not. They sholud have just gone right with the 1198. They(Ducati) knew w/o a doubt that WSB and their infinate wisdom:D would buckle under the threat of W/D. Ducati had the motor in the 1098R why not start w/ that instead of a quick change from 1098-1198. It was obviuos that Ducati felt some backlash because creative financing/trade in of the 1098.
Well, wouldn't it be in the customer's interest if they changed every 2-3 years ? That would make for a far more vigorous market....if you really love the bike then you would buy it knowing that it would be discontinued in a couple of years. If the 749/999...or anything else...is as cool as you say, then they would really be in hot demand. They should make just enough of the top line to satisfy WSBK production minimum requirements...or maybe just two years ofproduction...and get on to a new model.

Something always in the pipe line for the next release. It would be great for the dealers and owners alike. Collectors would be giddy. Great models ( in buyer acceptance and in WSBK racing ) would be snapped up. Nothing stale sitting on the dealer's showroom floor.

Also, I agree with the other poster on the 1098/1198...it is a small evolution, not a model change. Much like the 996R (?) which had the Testastretta engine.

Just bench racing here....
 

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"New" model is the 1098 and the 1198 is an update. Ducati have done this type of thing for two decades....851/888, 916/996/998, 1098/1198. They didn't do it to the 999 as it's too awesome.
Very astute. I work for a European car company that cans it's cars every 7 years no matter what. During that time it rolls out different variants. Sometimes it even drops a line-up, re-tools, waits a bit and then suprises the shit out of the market just to rattle people. Can we say 'Supersport'?;)
 

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The 1198 was needed because of a change in Superbike homologation rules so that explains that one. The 999 was a sales failure so had to be replaced more rapidly.
The superbike is homologated off the 1198 nowdays? Used to be done off the R or SP/SPS in years gone by. Ducati will stop producing (or have they already stopped) the 1098R??
 

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The 1198 was needed because of a change in Superbike homologation rules so that explains that one. The 999 was a sales failure so had to be replaced more rapidly.
the press releases quoted the homologation rules only included the ''r'' model .so the 1098 model could have continued unchanged.most were shocked at how many ''r'' models ducati will need to produce in 2010 under this agreement
 

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Very astute. I work for a European car company that cans it's cars every 7 years no matter what. During that time it rolls out different variants. Sometimes it even drops a line-up, re-tools, waits a bit and then suprises the shit out of the market just to rattle people. Can we say 'Supersport'?;)
I don't think BMW really changes their cars line-up that often.

The Japs bikes do re-designs all the time on their sport bikes. ON their cruisers they change them every 25 years or so.

THe top of the line sport bike has to change more often than the air cooled bikes. They are the competition bikes.

Really I think if they can save a million euros by not attending some bike show in Milan than I would say skip it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I thought the "other market" segments part was interesting. Is ducati going to become a full-line producer like aprilia which makes everything from 50cc "replica" scooters of their 1000cc superbike? I hate that kind of "halo" branding where the purity of the top models is pimped out to support their mass-market segments.
 

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I couldn't agree more Alexio. Expect another Indiana to go along with that scooter....


I thought the "other market" segments part was interesting. Is ducati going to become a full-line producer like aprilia which makes everything from 50cc "replica" scooters of their 1000cc superbike? I hate that kind of "halo" branding where the purity of the top models is pimped out to support their mass-market segments.
 

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I got an '08 1098s. Kicks major ass. Would I trade it for an 1198? What for; a marginal increase in power/torque, a few tweaks... Now, if I was looking for an '09 Model and I could choose from an updated Ducati and Brand "x", it would be a more favorable choice for Ducati.

My '08 is black and red and I like the way it looks more than the black, goldish frame in the 1198. People need to stop freaking just because a new model comes out. Now, in a few years when they replace the '98 series, I might upgrade. But still, the 916/998 series as well as the 999's are still awesome to this day, the '98 series will be as well. They rock. As for value decline from new model introductions, it is inevitable new models will come out. If that sort of thing bother you, then either buy used or never buy. Sooner or later, every new bike is an old bike.
 

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The superbike is homologated off the 1198 nowdays? Used to be done off the R or SP/SPS in years gone by. Ducati will stop producing (or have they already stopped) the 1098R??
From next year, Ducati will be required to produce 3,000 bikes from 2010 to meet the homologation requirements which clearly won't be practical for the 1098R, hence the 1198. My comparison of the 1198S to the 1098R is here
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I thought the "other market" segments part was interesting. Is ducati going to become a full-line producer like aprilia which makes everything from 50cc "replica" scooters of their 1000cc superbike? I hate that kind of "halo" branding where the purity of the top models is pimped out to support their mass-market segments.
this is so funny... I had JUST talked about this and look what aprilia comes out with: http://www.motoblog.it/post/20152/aprilia-sr-50-max-biaggi-superbike-replica-2009

I really hope Ducati don't bend to doing lowly stuff like this... total brand and passion dilution.
 

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