Will Historical Value Be Enough For The New Husky?
Great rendition of the old and new.
Today’s first bit of news seems a rather forgone conclusion. Cycle World magazine’s Bruno dePrato is reporting that the Italian factory is to be closed and Husqvarna production is officially moving to Austria. You can see his full report here: Cycle World
The over revolving question is; what is to become of Husaberg? It seems terribly unlikely that there is room for both brands at KTM. From what I can gather, the belief from the very top management in Austria is that the Husqvarna brand name has far more value and therefore more long term potential for growth. It is looking more and more like the Husky badge will replace the Husaberg brand. Presumably the Husaberg team will simply put on a new uniform and call themselves Husky.
I am still having a bit of a time getting my head around all of this. I can certainly see the historical significance of the great former Swedish marque. But if it has so much intrinsic value, how come that has never resulted in strong sales numbers. For at least the last 15 years Husky has been through a series of nearly continuous management changes. Each was intended to become a resurrection of sorts and none were very successful I really feel for the long-suffering dealers. Each of these changes has been like starting over in a new business.
Until just a couple of years ago, the KTM management of Husaberg was not much better. A decade ago after acquiring the brand they brought the production and management in house, but it has always been a bastard child of sorts. In the US, distribution went to first KTM, then they decided to farm it out. First it went to former Gas Gas importer Don Knight(2002), then to Barrett Group (2003). Then there was some sort of spin off from Barrett and when that all but collapsed, KTM was forced to take it back.
As you can see, neither brand has ever been on a great business track for the last decade. Don’t get me wrong, there have been good bikes and good people associated with both brands. But from a big picture business perspective, neither has had all the tools needed to excel.
I would hate to see the loss of any brand in our thin market. But I hope that the new management can get it right for at least one of the marques, if not both.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if I showed up at Romaniacs in July and instead of finding my FE350 race bike, there is a Husky in its place?