In a shock move, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer just bought Husqvarna from BMW, just five years after BMW itself acquired it from MV Agusta and pumped a ton of cash into development of new street models. What gives? Our friends at Nieuwsmotor.nl got Pierer on the phone to ask him just that. In this frank interview, he talks about the brand’s current troubles, it’s future relationship with KTM and even suggests the possibility of getting Bajaj involved.
Nieuwsmotor: Herr Pierer, congratulations on the purchase of Husqvarna. The big question now is “Why?”
Stefan Pierer: “In the auto industry, you’ve seen a similar movement for years of more brands moving under one roof. The motorcycle market is considerably decreased, therefore consolidation within it has become even more important.”
“To sell more products, it’s logical for a company to target brands at specific niches. KTM is now the global leader in the field of endure and motocross, therefore expansion in those areas is very difficult. That is why, like many auto companies, we are looking at multiple brands that can cooperate in areas such as development, purchasing and the like.”
Nieuwsmotor: Why Husqvarna when, with Husaberg, you already have a similar marque?
Stefan Pierer: “We think that with Husqvarna, there’s a specific niche to tackle. With this brand, we want to focus on competing with Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. We’d like to move the brand to selling 10,000 units per year, then continue watching. For that, Husqvarna needs to go back to it’s roots, it’s strayed too far.”
“The brand has a wonderful history, but a completely wrong model lineup and is on completely the wrong track. The dealer network was not ready to sell two-cylinder street models.”
“We will work with Husqvarna to go back to its origins. We’ll soon be back in motocross and then in supermoto, both sports in which Husqvarna previously dominated. Within the next year, we will make an appropriate motorcycle developed with the specifications and character Husqvarna needs.”
Nieuwsmotor: How do you integrate Husqvarna and KTM?
Stefan Pierer: “The brands will remain self sufficient in terms of brand perception, models and sales networks, but as I mentioned earlier, there will be a lot of behind the scenes cooperation in the field of R&D, purchasing, components and more. We’re not sure if production will remain in Varese, Italy or move to Mattinghofen, Austria.”
“Initially, Husqvarna was bought by my private company, Pierer Industry, but in the future this may change and possibly involve our Indian partner Bajaj.”
Nieuwsmotor: There’s been no word on the price, but we know BMW invested a lot of money in the brand.
Stefan Pierer: “The price was reasonable for both parties. It was easy for BMW to come to us, since they wanted to leave the offroad market. I think you’ll soon think of us as world leaders in offroad. I think we have a great deal here, it’s up to us to make something out of it!”
This interview originally appeared on Nieuwsmotor.nl and is reprinted here with permission.