Thursday, March 21

NZ HUSKY IMPORTER EXCITED OVER FUTURE

NEW ZEALAND Husqvarna importer Euromoto says it is delighted by news from Europe that Stefan Pierer, the new owner of the 110-year-old marque, plans a major investment in research and development for new models and is pushing for a doubling in sales over the next five years.

In a press release, Euromoto says that in the past 12 months, it has enjoyed a staggering 85 per cent sales growth with Husqvarna in the New Zealand market due to its dealer development strategies, second-to-none spare parts back-up and customer support.


This very positive sales growth is attributed to close working relationships with the Husqvarna factory in Italy, better product quality control, new model releases, excellent after sales service with much improved parts supply, competitive pricing on models, added value promotions and a strengthening dealer network, says Euromotos Sales Manager Mike Ramsey.

Mr Ramsey added that Euromoto Co saw the recent purchase of Husqvarna by Austrian entrepreneur Stefan Pierer as yet another positive move in the marques development.

Pierer controls a majority interest in CROSS Industries AG, which in turn owns a burgeoning group of manufacturing operations in Europe, the United States and China, with further interests in manufacturing operations in India. 

There are more than 25 entities in the Cross Group.  These include Pankl Group, which makes aerospace components as well as forgings used in automotive and motorcycle suspension, pistons, connecting rods and crankshafts.  Pankl also owns the renown American connecting rod manufacturer Carrillo.  Another CROSS Industries subsidiary is WP Group which makes motorcycle frames and suspension systems as well as complete exhaust systems, with a WP factory in Dalian, China, making cooling systems (radiators).

Wethje Carbon Composites Group, another subsidiary, specialises in design and production of lightweight carbon composites used in motorsport and premium sports cars, while other companies in the CROSS fold manufacture high performance automotive plastics, from car bumpers to motorcycle parts.

CROSS Industries also has a controlling interest in KTM AG, parent company of the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer of the same name.  Pierer is the man primarily responsible for reviving KTM after it went bankrupt in 1991.

Now the new owner of Husqvarna Motorcycles, Pierer has ambitious plans to breathe new life into the legendary off-road marque.  He wants to re-establish Husqvarnas credentials in the motocross market, build serious Supermoto models again, introduce an 85cc two-stroke junior motocross machine and revitalise the Husqvarna enduro line-up.

The brand has a wonderful history, Pierer told Dutch publication Nieuwsmotor in an interview last week.  Twenty years ago Husqvarna was the brand to beat in Europe, especially with regard to enduro.

And in an interview with Reuters Frankfurt office, he said I want to see Husqvarna sales double in five years, to 20,000 motorcycles.

Pierer entered discussion with BMW Motorrad in October 2012 and finally came to an agreement to buy Husqvarna on January 31.  The acquisition was made through his own company, Pierer Industrie AG and he says he intends to keep the two brands as completely separate entities, from manufacturing through to marketing and distribution.

An unabashed fan of the way the Volkswagen group has maintained Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda and Audi as separate entities but with platform sharing to reduce costs, Pierer says he aims to follow that philosophy, scotching speculation that there would be a realignment of distribution of Husqvarna machines.

One thing I can assure you, Pierer told Italian publication Motociclismo, we will not sell through combined Husqvarna-KTM dealerships.  Husqvarna will have its own points of sale.

While admitting that a resurgent Husqvarna could have an impact on KTM sales, Mr Pierer makes it clear his focus is on taking market share away from the Japanese manufacturers, who have either completely stopped, or dramatically cut-back, production of two-stroke off-road motorcycles.

In fact, he says that he has fast-tracked a new range of Husqvarna two-stroke engines, moving the research and development from Italy to Austria.

After Easter I will have a complete picture of the situation and the strategy to be implemented.  As a first step I want to focus Husqvarna back in the off-road market, to make a complete and competitive motocross and enduro range, with both four-stroke and two-stroke engines, starting from 85cc, Mr Pierer told Motociclismo.

I want Husqvarna to become the second off-road brand to fight against the Japanese!