1098, Hypermotard key ingredients for OEM in 2007
Despite losing money last year, Ducati's year-old business strategy to reduce dealer stock and fixed costs while improving gross margins appears to be marginally successful.
Ducati ended 2006 with an operating loss of 8.5 million euros ($11.2 million); down, but an improvement compared to a loss of 41.5 million euros ($54.6 million) in 2005. Net debt at the end of 2006 was 54.2 million euros ($71.4 million), an improvement from debt of 137 million euros ($180 million) during the same period in 2005.
Ducati sold 32,312 new bikes worldwide at wholesale in 2006, down 6.4 percent from dealer deliveries in 2005. However, with actual worldwide retail sales of 35,286 units recorded, the manufacturer says it managed a network stock reduction of 3,000 bikes, equivalent to approximately one month of sales and in line with the stated strategy.
Although sales appear to be improving in North America, a reduction in stock doesn't appear to be happening. According to Ducati's own numbers: Retail sales in North America increased 16.3 percent to 8,185 units while wholesale shipments grew 17 percent to 8,269 units. In other words, dealers were receiving more than they were moving.
Two New Models
Regarding the forthcoming Hypermotard, which begins production in May, Ducati plans to release two models: The standard Hypermotard 1100 (MSRP: $11,495), and an S version ($13,995).
For the extra $2,500, S version owners get a TiN-prepped Marzocchi fork, forged wheels, an Ohlins rear monoshock and Brembo Monoblock calipers. Dry weight drops to 390 lbs. from 394 lbs.
Conceived as a concept bike, the Hypermotard was first shown at the EICMA show in November 2005. Hearing a call for production from enthusiasts, Ducati put it into industrial production a few months after.
"The standard time to design, engineer, identify, produce, test and try out the 1,400 pieces that comprise a new motorcycle, as well as to assemble, test, approve and produce the bike itself, takes at least two years and requires around 80,000 working man hours," Minoli said in his Desmoblog. "The fact that the Hypermotard will go into production at the beginning of May 2007 is due to the fact that it uses the DS 1100 engine already in production and that it does not have a fairing.
"To speed up the production time even more would be to jeopardize the quality of the product, which is an area that none of us wish to put at risk."