Patrick EnglandDucati individual write up #3 Management 495 2/7/2012 Can Ducati sustain its position in the sport segment? Can Honda and other Japanese manufactures stop its growth in this segment? The ability for Ducati to sustain its position in the sport segment of motorcycles is going to depend on management’s ability to stay focused on keeping their image and story alive and in the minds of the motorcycle community.
If management continues its current trend I believe that they can sustain their position, although there are challenges posed by the Japanese firms and changes in Ducati itself can also play a role in their ability to maintain their growth and position as the high end advanced sport bikes. Ducati’s decision to move from a mechanical company to an entertainment company could be the source of its success or its failure.
The company to this point in 2001 had become known for their exotic engineering and design, focusing on beating the completion by any means, even if it involved producing a bike that many might call ugly or not the traditional motorcycle, so Ducati was running the risk of turning away the very customers and removing the image that had built them to the company they had become.
But the decision made by Minoli, to become more of an entertainment company and to produce products that could be attractable by a wider variety of customers could also spur growth and market share that the company desperately wanted and needed if it was going to continue to compete with the Japanese bikes.
I believe that if the management at Ducati can continue to make this “turnaround” hold and follow through with the goals laid out in it, then yes they can sustain their position, although any deviation or getting lack in the respects of implementing these long term goals will in my opinion hurt them greatly, for it is the image and the brand that Ducati represents that makes their products wanted.
If they try too hard to copy the functions and company structure of competitors they very well may be destroying their core competitive advantage of image and product uniqueness. Japanese manufactures have been pushing hard in the sport market and have the capital and business structure to make a full fledge effort to take market share in the sport division.
Honda and others have the ability to mimic the aspects of Ducati that have made them so revered by customers (mainly new technology and exotic styling) while still maintain their reliability and cost advantage. They will still continue to struggle with the “cookie cutter” image that has plagued them throughout their history, and I believe that if they can try to separate products in their sport division and create the image of uniqueness and exoticness that people associate with Ducati, then they definitely can pose a serious threat.