HUSQVARNA’S NEW DAWN
Two new models for 2017, with more to come
Having been purchased in 2013 and run under the KTM Group since, Husqvarna’s recent fortunes have been transformed and they have now seen sustained growth for the last three years.
With total motorcycle sales now standing at 21,500 for 2016, an increase of 32% year on year, Husqvarna are now setting a target of 30,000 for 2017 and at the Milan Show unveiled their new range of road motorcycles – the 401 Svartpilen and 401 Vitpilen as well as the stunning 401 Aero concept bike.
All use KTM’S 390 single cylinder motor and the 401 Svartpilen and 401 Vitpilen are scheduled to go into production in late 2017. MCN spoke to Husqvarna’s MD, Oliver Göhring to find out how he sees the company’s future developing.
MCN: Where has Husqvarna’s growth come from? OG: “We have a complete, unmatched, lineup of enduro competition bikes. This is the backbone of Husqvarna and our new range of significantly improved bikes has driven sales. We have also diversified, with the 701 Supermoto and Enduro added to the line-up, which have sold over 5000 units globally.”
MCN: You have now revealed the 401 models, how important are road bikes in Husqvarna’s future? OG: “A dominant role. We want to become one of the top three motorcycle manufacturers in Europe and to produce more than 60,000 units. You can’t simply achieve this with off-road, you need to diversify.” MCN: What percentage of off-road compared to road bikes do you envisage selling? OG: “I think we will grow to 35,000 in off-road sales before hitting a plateau and so 25-40,000 road bikes I would say. The new 401s will not be our only road bikes. We will increase the 701 range and in years to come produce bigger bikes.”
MCN: The 401 is scheduled to arrive in late 2017, why the delay? OG: “We presented the concept bike in 2014 and you can’t shorten a development process - three years is very fast. Also, the bikes will be produced in Austria, so we need to create the production facilities. The engines will be
‘We want to be one of the top three European manufacturers’
built in India, but the whole bike will be assembled in Austria using European parts to make it a premium product.”
MCN: Is that why it’s not a 125?
OG: “Producing a Husqvarna 125 in Europe would be very costly in a pricesensitive market, so we are concentrating on the 401.”
MCN: How will you sell this new range of Husqvarna models? OG: “We know KTM have struggled selling road bikes in the past. We have a few very good off-road dealers who
are also good on-road dealers and we will use them. But the majority will be new dealers who are on-road focused in urban areas. We will increase our dealer network and share on-road dealers with KTM, which we don’t do in off-road, as our bikes are in direct competition. Our on-road motorcycle ranges are very different and not in competition.”
MCN: How is Husqvarna different to KTM? OG: “At the end of the day, what we offer is a unique styling concept for urban riders. We don’t have the slogan ‘ready to race’ that forces us to do aggressive things. We can focus on other exciting motorcycle styles.”
MCN: Where is the large capacity cruiser that has been spy photographed? OG: “I can’t comment on spy photos, but it is an open secret that we have many motor platforms in the KTM group and of course Husqvarna has free access to these. But we will do it step by step, first the 401, then the 701 and then we will see where we go.”
The 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen will be sold through KTM dealers