HUSQ­VARNA’S NEW DAWN

Two new mod­els for 2017, with more to come

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jon Urry

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

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