Audi, the German brand part of the Volkswagen group, is in talks to buy Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati from its current private equity owner.
The talks, confirmed by people close to both companies, would potentially see Investindustrial, the current private equity group who own Ducati, to double the value of its investment.
Ducati sells some 40,000 motorcycle a year with a 9% grasp on the sports market.
The Volkswagen group is looking to become the largest carmaker by sales volume by 2018 and already owns Bentley, Bugatti and lorry marks MAN and Scania.
Due diligence is thought to be taking place at the moment and would see VW go up against BMW in the motorcycle market.
Martin Winterkorn, VW chief executive, said that VW “loves anything red” when asked about a potential acquisition this week.
Ferdinand Piëch, VW’s chairman, drives a Ducati and said in a magazine interview in 2008 that he regretted missing an earlier chance to buy the company.