Volkswagen wants to spin-off Lamborghini and Ducati

Herbert Diess

Volkswagen is looking into potentially carving out its Lamborghini supercar and Ducati motorbike brands, as the German automaker seeks to streamline its operations and focus on mass-producing electric cars. “We are working on our Italian legal structure,” Chief Executive Herbert Diess said, referring to the creation of a separate legal entity for housing Lamborghini, Ducati and the Italdesign design studio.

Luxury brands which owe their attractiveness in large part due to high horsepower high-cylinder combustion engines, may not fit in the era of intelligent, networked vehicles which provide on-demand mobility, Diess said. “Are those really valuable in the new world, we don't know yet,” Diess said.

The German carmaker is paring back the variety of combustion-engined cars and retooling more factories to build electric vehicles in an effort to keep up with rival Tesla, said Diess. German factories in Emden and Hanover will be converted to build electric cars as part of a €73bn investment plan to ramp up development of zero-emission and self-driving cars, the company said. “Our business so far has been running valuable brands. To increase brand value, driving margins,” Diess explained in a call with investors and analysts, “we have to be seen as a tech company”.

The CEO said that Volkswagen would miss its CO2 compliance target this year by “a gram or so” but would meet emissions goals for 2021 thanks to a mass production push of electric vehicles.

He saw business recovering next year, with the company planning for a return to pre-Covid-crisis levels in 2022.

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