Volkswagen Group’s powersports subsidiary Ducati North America grew U.S. sales by 1.3% year over year in 2017, likely spurred — in part — by the OEM’s new lease-like offering.
Last March, Ducati Financial Services introduced a finance product called Ducati Premier Financing that lowers monthly payments by an average of $80, and allows consumers to essentially lease a Ducati motorcycle, according to its website. At the end of the term, owners have the option to sell the motorcycle privately, trade for a newer model, or pay it off. There are no wear-and-tear or mileage restrictions, and consumers can opt for a shorter trading cycle if they would like to trade-in for a newer model.
That finance program likely helped boost the OEM’s U.S. sales to 8,898 units and global sales to 55,871 in 2017.
While global sales growth was relatively flat at 0.75%, it was enough to push Ducati into its eighth straight year of sales growth. It’s unclear how many vehicles were sold though the Ducati Premier program because the company does not disclose those figures.
Ducati Premier Financing is “just one more tool Ducati is using to position our motorcycles [to be] more accessible to a broader array of riders,” Jason Chinnock, Ducati North America’s Chief Executive, said in a March 2017 press release. “With an expanded lineup and our new financing flexibility, all sorts of riders — beginners and veterans alike — can now make Ducati ownership a reality.”
Ducati North America also extended its floorplan lending deal with Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance last May to continue a 20-year partnership. The program extension comes just one year after Wells Fargo CDF and Ducati extended their partnership previously.
Notably, it was reported last May that Volkswagen AG might sell Ducati in a move to streamline operations and help fund a strategic overhaul, according to a published report. However, in September Bloomberg reported Volkswagen halted the potential sale of the motorcycle unit amid opposition from its labor groups.