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Sunday, February 3, 2013

KTM buying Husqvarna

In what can be termed as the biggest news of 2013 so far, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has confirmed the acquisition of Huqsvarna from BMW (which in fact came to BMW from none other than MV Agusta). This might come as a bit of shock here because, before this acquisition, BMW looked pretty serious about the Husqvarna line and we saw the Husqvarna Nuda 900 and Nuda 900R seeing the light of the day early 2012. Too much of chaos around Husqvarna.... so we can understand what to expect from this acquisition, let's see what Husqvarna is after all, and what makes it so exciting.

Husqvarna - a little history

Husqvarna first bloomed nearly 300 years ago as a weapons factory for the Swedish army. Soon it grew and flourished and in 1903 it produced its first motorcycle, making it the oldest continually produced motorcycle brand in history. Husqvarna’s motorcycle line continued to grow, and by the 1930s, Husqvarna started proving it's mettle in international races. By the 1970s, Husqvarna literally dominated the off-road race scene, and continued to do so through the early eighties. However, broad changes in the company’s focus and product offerings, combined with strong foreign competition, pushed Husqvarna Motorcycles to the edge of going out of business. Recognizing the inherent value of the name and the off-road market, in 1986, a small Italian motorcycle company named Cagiva, purchased the Swedish company and began rebuilding this historic brand.

In 1996, after the Cagiva Group sold one of its premier brands, Ducati, to a group of American investors. Husqvarna was left without a U.S. distributor for its products. Recognizing the potentially tremendous demand for Cagiva and Husqvarna motorcycles in the United States market, the owners of Cagiva, brothers Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni, sought to establish a viable U.S. distributorship for Cagiva, Husqvarna, and the reintroduced MV Agusta array. Eraldo Ferracci was approached to investigate the possibility of establishing a new U.S. distributor.

Based on the success of Fast By Ferracci, the Castiglioni brothers recognized that the Ferracci organization had the drive necessary to reestablish the Cagiva, Husqvarna, and MV Agusta brands in the United States, and established a joint venture between Cagiva and the Ferracci organization in 1997. This new company, Cagiva USA, was granted exclusive rights to import and distribute Cagiva, Husqvarna, and MV Agusta products in the United States and Canada.

In 2009 BMW acquired Husqvarna Motorcycles, Dr. Herbert Diess, General Director of BMW Motorrad, and Claudio Castiglioni of MV Agusta signed a contract on July 19th to initiate the sale. Mentioning about Husqvarna, Diess said, "With the Husqvarna models targeted at the sporty competition, we will be able to extend the BMW Motorrad range to include younger groups of customers as well as the entire off-road and supermoto sector much more quickly and effectively than with our core brand alone."

It seems that over time, something has changed as far as the long term vision of BMW goes for Husqvarna.

Husqvarna and KTM
With KTM taking over Husqvarna, talks are doing the rounds that at one point of time, Bajaj would also join the party, and the best part is that even the KTM CEO has confirmed this.

Presented under is the conversation between Nieuwsmotor.nl and Steven Pierer -

Nieuwsmotor: Herr Pierer, congratulations on the purchase of Husqvarna. The big question now is “Why?”

Stefan Pierer: “In the auto industry, you’ve seen a similar movement for years of more brands moving under one roof. The motorcycle market is considerably decreased, therefore consolidation within it has become even more important.”

“To sell more products, it’s logical for a company to target brands at specific niches. KTM is now the global leader in the field of endure and motocross, therefore expansion in those areas is very difficult. That is why, like many auto companies, we are looking at multiple brands that can cooperate in areas such as development, purchasing and the like.”

Nieuwsmotor: Why Husqvarna when, with Husaberg, you already have a similar marque?

Stefan Pierer: “We think that with Husqvarna, there’s a specific niche to tackle. With this brand, we want to focus on competing with Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. We’d like to move the brand to selling 10,000 units per year, then continue watching. For that, Husqvarna needs to go back to it’s roots, it’s strayed too far.”

“The brand has a wonderful history, but a completely wrong model lineup and is on completely the wrong track. The dealer network was not ready to sell two-cylinder street models.”

“We will work with Husqvarna to go back to its origins. We’ll soon be back in motocross and then in supermoto, both sports in which Husqvarna previously dominated. Within the next year, we will make an appropriate motorcycle developed with the specifications and character Husqvarna needs.”

Nieuwsmotor: How do you integrate Husqvarna and KTM?

Stefan Pierer: “The brands will remain self sufficient in terms of brand perception, models and sales networks, but as I mentioned earlier, there will be a lot of behind the scenes cooperation in the field of R&D, purchasing, components and more. We’re not sure if production will remain in Varese, Italy or move to Mattinghofen, Austria.”

“Initially, Husqvarna was bought by my private company, Pierer Industry, but in the future this may change and possibly involve our Indian partner Bajaj.”

Nieuwsmotor: There’s been no word on the price, but we know BMW invested a lot of money in the brand.

Stefan Pierer: “The price was reasonable for both parties. It was easy for BMW to come to us, since they wanted to leave the offroad market. I think you’ll soon think of us as world leaders in off-road. I think we have a great deal here, it’s up to us to make something out of it!”

We have seen what a well planned and thought after info share can do in solid results in the form of KTM Duke 125/200 and the Pulsar 200NS. With Husqvarna joining in, the symbiotic relationship should only flourish, with Husqvarna gaining, more market and lower production cost for it's line up and Bajaj gaining in terms of tech (after all Husqvarna has the most powerful sub 1000cc engine doing the work in Husqvarna Nuda 900 and Nuda 900R)

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Item Reviewed: KTM buying Husqvarna Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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