Husqvarna: What the future may hold

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Industry experts have questioned new Husqvarna owner Stefan Pierer’s plans to merge KTM, Husaberg and the famous brand into one ‘super firm’ using the car industry as inspiration.

Pierer announced last week he was buying the historic Husqvarna brand from BMW which had opted to bail out from owning the firm despite five years of huge investment, renewal and design of a new range of road bikes.

BMW claims it made the move to concentrate on the existing range of bikes and also develop new ‘urban mobility’ and ‘emobility’ concepts.

Pierer is the current CEO and majority shareholder of KTM, which also owns the Husaberg off-road brand. Husqvarna will now be bolted onto the other two bike firms to take on the might of the Japanese bike firms in the off-road sector.

Last week Pierer said: “I see a lot of things in the car world like platform sharing from companies like Volkswagen that can work for KTM, Husaberg and now Huqvarna. I am in no doubt this is going to be hard work but we are market leader off road with KTM in many markets and this is something we can build on.”

But Dr Peter Wells is the Co-Director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff University and is a leading expert. He questions using the car world example for platform sharing as something that could work with the lower volumes in the motorcycle world.

He told MCN: “The sale of Husqvarna to the same owner as KTM certainly seems more of a sensible fit than it did with BMW and it also proves that even the mighty BMW don’t get it right every time!

“I do, however, have my doubts the platform sharing concept talked about will work as well in the dirt bike world as it does in the car industry. I mean with a car it’s pretty easy to disguise the fact the engineering bits are the same because you can change the interior and the bodywork to hide them.

“I’m not sure you can do this as well with a motorcycle; especially one as minimal as a dirt bike which is basically an engine, frame and wheels with little in the way of bodywork.”

Last week Pierer told MCN: “Husqvarna is one of the most historic of all motorcycle brands and our plan is to return to the heritage of the company, go back to the Scandinavian roots and concentrate on the dirt bikes for which Husqvarna was so well known.

“I think Husqvarna has lost sight of what it used to be in the past few years but this is where will be focussing our efforts and we will work out a new dirt bike range for later this year.”

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter