Mercedes To Become Ducati MotoGP Team's "Official Car Partner"

That the marriage between two of the strongest brands in Italy, Valentino Rossi and Ducati, should turn into a marketing goldmine comes as no surprise. Even before Rossi's signing with Ducati was officially announced, rumors among paddock insiders suggested that Ducati had sponsors lining up to back their MotoGP program, and now that the new season is approaching, Ducati is starting to pick the fruits of that.

For yesterday, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, AMG - a high-performance subsidiary of the Mercedes Benz brand - announced that they are to enter into a marketing partnership that will see the German car manufacturer support Ducati's MotoGP project. The partnership will not produce much in the way of visible sponsorship on the bikes, for Mercedes is to be "Official Car Partner" to the program, rather than any form of main sponsor. The pair will engage in joint marketing activities, including allowing selected Mercedes owners to test ride Ducati's new Diavel machine at AMG events, while selected Ducati owners will be given the opportunity to test Mercedes vehicles.

Ducati have long been the best of the MotoGP teams at raising sponsorship, and are the only manufacturer who can fund their MotoGP project almost entirely from their sponsorship income. The association of a luxury brand such as Mercedes with Ducati opens up an interesting and potentially lucrative market for MotoGP, with luxury brands being one of the few industries (besides energy drinks) where a significant proportion of the retail price consists of a marketing element, meaning that there are major marketing budgets available for the right sponsorship opportunities. Whether more luxury brands will follow AMG's example remains to be seen.

Below is the text of the press release from Ducati:


The two brands will work together closely in the future.

The initial aim of the cooperation between the performance brand from Affalterbach and the Italian manufacturer of high-performance motorcycles is to develop common marketing activities. The cooperation agreement was signed today, during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show, by Gabriele del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A and Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

"We are especially proud to have AMG as one of our sponsors for the Ducati MotoGP Team. I am also very pleased that our joint marketing activities are well under way. In AMG we have found a partner who perfectly reflects our brand values of high performance, motorsport, excitement and our sense of unmistakable style and design," said Gabriele del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.

"I am very pleased that we are able to announce our strategic cooperation with Ducati today. AMG and Ducati ideally complement each other, as both companies share the same values: racing as the driving passion, and high performance plus exclusivity as the central brand messages of both AMG and Ducati. This long-term cooperation will help us to jointly access new customer groups," said Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

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

Joint events are planned for the members of the AMG Private Lounge, in which more than 13,000 AMG customers worldwide are registered. The partners are currently examining the further activities and strategic steps they might undertake together in the near future.

Ducati and AMG: racing, high performance, exclusivity.

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I always thought that one car manufacturer would step up and support the Ducati squad. That make would offcourse be the ITALIAN Fiat... :)

Is there no chance fiat will remain with yamaha? Considering they are launching products in America this year you think there would be a benefit to them sponsering Spies. The appeal of Lorenzo speaks for itself.

IL Duce revisited.Italy looking to Germany to bail them out.All they need now is for Toyota to chuck something at it.
No matter what,the buck stops with Rossi and Ducati come Sepang.
No AMG logo's on Rossi's bike tells me Merc are willing to tilt balance,but know they are on shakey ground with this deal viz a viz their image.Keeping their cards tight.Smart.
BMW safety car,coupled to BMW supplying some great bikes,as they have for years. Surely that would have been a logical partnership. Unless of course BMW intend joining the circus in 2012.
Merc,never involved in two wheels,nor Toyota for that matter.
Safe to presume Ducati need cash injections to fund their GP11/12 efforts to sustain Rossi. Even massive cash injections can't guarantee a decent result faced with the rider/bike combinations they face next year.
No wonder Fiat/Ferrari and perhaps even di Montizemmelo,have smartly changed their tune.

Ah, Toyota partly owns Yamaha. (and yes, this does make the Fiat sponsorship even more complicated.)
I guess this also means an end to the combined Vroom season launches with Ferrari?

Vroom is a huge marketing event for the team, and paid for by Marlboro (not Ferrari).
I don't see why it would change, Ferrari never supplied cars to the Ducati MotoGP team lol.

Ferrari were so pedantic whe Schuey went bike racing, that they would not even let his bike have a Honda logo on it.
I agree with the point that it is all funded by phillip morris, but the joint launch has only been happening for the last couple of years. In light of the new agreement with AMG, I won't be surprised if they move back to seperate season launches. I just can't see either Ferrari or AMG doing it.
Somewhat of a shame, given the previous animosity between Valentino and Fernando Alonso, could make for an interesting go-kart race.

Ducati and AMG: racing, high performance, exclusivity.

That makes no sense. Ducati has always said it's no the Ferrari of motorcycles because Ducati bikes (one model or another) has always been accessible to anyone.

I guess they're really have to go in the direction of selling the Ducati lifestyle. Harley-Davidson does make more money selling the lifestyle than the bikes.