Husqvarna builds dealer network and welcomes a new fan base

Publish Date: 
Nov 8, 2012
By Dennis Johnson

CORONA, Calif.  – Whither famed Husqvarna. The storied brand’s fortunes have risen and tumbled through the years, the name always carrying along, through the churning history of the U.S. motorcycle market.

It was a powerhouse marque that bred off-road legends like Malcolm Smith and earned a place of honor among the manufacturers that built a business. Then, like many early motorcycle companies, various owners bought and sold Husky enough times that the name resembled a commodity more than the badge behind the early motocross giants.

During the lean years of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, it was still producing motorcycles under a few different owners and winning championships, but here in the U.S. the brand’s popularity gave way to the Japanese OEMs.

Husqvarna’s fortunes brightened in 2007 when BMW purchased the company for a reported 93 million Euros from MV Agusta. And it is under this stewardship that Husky is looking to regain its place in the American market and with its riders.

Much like it did with the Mini brand on the automotive side, BMW is positioning Husqvarna as its own entity, drawing off its rich history of performance and style, while re-imagining its future to reach a wider audience of on- and off-road enthusiasts. It is also expanding its dealer network on the framework of improved after-sales support and ordering efficiencies. Contributing to this effort is the backing of BMW’s financial strength, engineering prowess, infrastructure and history in the motorcycle business.

View the Dealernews 2012 OEM Report Card results for BMW/Husqvarna HERE.

“It can be done. BMW is famous for husbanding brands well,” said Kris Odwarka, president of Husqvarna Motorcycle North America. “We all know the successes its had in the motorcycle division, which is a brilliant business case. But, we’re in a very different world. We’re a little off-road post here.”

TROUBLE AT THE GATE. Different world indeed. Just as BMW closed on its new acquisition in 2008, the world’s economy took a nosedive and relaunching a brand took a back seat to bigger issues. The manufacturer took this time do some housekeeping and completely redo Husqvarna’s production facility in Varese, Italy, with a focus on its assembly line and supply chain. (continued)