Mercedes and Ducati, partners in…?

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While Mercedes unveiled its new CLS63 AMG don’t-call-me-a-four-door at the LA Motor Show last night, a hayseed from Kentucky snuck onstage with one of them new-fangled motor sickles and prompted a surprise announcement. Mercedes and Ducati are apparently going to be partners.

Update: according to Mercedes’ Twitter feed, “AMG announces sponsorship of Ducati MotoGP team with Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in 2011.”

Update 2: full details thanks to Jeremy at Autoblog.

Update: Here’s official details of the partnership:

“The first visible results of the cooperation between AMG and Ducati will be joint marketing and sponsoring activities. AMG will support the Ducati MotoGP team as an Official Car Partner from 2011, for example. During selected AMG events, participants will be able to take test drives with Ducati motorcycles, and Ducati customers will similarly have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the latest AMG high-performance cars at events.”

“Both companies share the same values,” said Ola Kallenius, the unhelpful CEO of AMG, Mercedes’ performance division. “Racing as the driving passion, and high performance plus exclusivity as the central brand messages of both AMG and Ducati.”

Nicky Hayden followed up with a quote that sadly didn’t included the word ‘shucks’, “Well, if this is my company bike and this is my company car, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.”

What’s not clear is, aside from being partners, what being partners means for Ducati and Mercedes, they didn’t go into details. The deal definitely isn’t a parternship-of-equals style purchase, but rather some sort of marketing link up. Conventional wisdom leads towards some sort of FIAT/Yamaha like MotoGP sponsorship, but it could equally amount to some sort of lifestyle marketing project. Both Ducati and AMG pursue an identical demographic: middle-age or older wealthy men who want to advertise their success with an image of performance.

via InsideLine

  • occam

    “Both Ducati and AMG pursue an identical demographic: middle-age or older wealthy men who want to advertise their success with an image of performance.” Hehe, I need to show that to my girlfriend (she commutes to work every day on her Monster 696).

  • andy727

    Ouch, that demographic quote is a zinger. Makes me want to stay away from those brands as I enter middle-age. What a strange partnership…

    • robotribe

      It makes perfect sense. Whether some like it or not, that’s the target segment for both brands because that’s the group who feeds them. There are exceptions to the “rule” with each marque, but of the Benz and Ducati owners I know personally, I’d say that demographic description is mostly accurate.

      Personally, I neither ride nor drive either brand, but anyone who rides a bike and says they’re not “advertising” something — image, pride, adventure-fetish — even just a little bit, is lying.

      • Wes Siler

        Yeah, I didn’t mean it to be a zinger at all, just a realistic explanation of why the two brands fit.

      • markbvt

        I dunno, I know quite a few Ducati guys who are in their 20s and 30s. They just like sportbikes and appreciate the personality and soul of a Ducati rather than the Japanese inline-4 offerings.

      • andy727

        No worries…I guess I’d like to ignore the image, I find it embarrassing…”hey look at the middle aged guy showing off!”

        I do want a ducati though, to hell with the demographics! ;-)

  • Mark D

    Every time the Italians and the Germans start a partnership, I get a little anxious.

    Somebody get Cadillac and Triumph on a conference call! Should probably invite Ural too, just to be on the safe side.

    • noone1569

      This comment is full of win.

    • mclovin
    • markbvt

      No need to worry until Kawasaki joins the partnership too.

  • BuellDoc

    At least 1 German Icon is smart. The BMW Superbike team fired all the Italians,(That helped them get to were they are today) I hope this does not ruffle Ferrari (who is helping in the Duc development)

    • rohorn

      If Mercedes pays for the work done by Ferrari, I’m sure they won’t object at all.

  • rohorn

    Didn’t Mercedes once have a desmodromic race car engine back in the ’50′s? Maybe their target demographic remembers…

  • mcfaite

    Porsche and Harley did actually develop an engine together not too long ago.

    Is there any possibility that Mercedes and Ducati will be sharing engine development technology? It’s not like they compete against each other (except for middle-age or older wealthy men who want to advertise their success…)

    • Grive

      AMG 6.3 powered Diavel. Now!

      What? It’s a way to put that 240 tire to good use.

      • Wes Siler

        Doomed to failure. The autistic motorcycle community would be up in arms that it’s badged “6.3″ yet only displaces 6.2-liters. I predict rioting.

  • Kevin

    Guilty, goddammit. God. Damn. It.

    To be in my 20s again…

  • Isaac

    Wonder what the livery will look like? Will it be a combo or red/silver or red/blk/silver?