|NEW ERA FOR HUSQVARNA
October 4 2010.
The Husqvarna brand has historically been distributed in the UK though a series of Dealer/Distributors, with Mike Carter's Husky Sport taking the brand though the past 20 or so rocky years. From September 1st the the Husqvarna factory started its own management company in the UK. Motorcycle Trader visited HVUK Limited to find out what other changes are in store...
Two and half years ago, BMW surprised everyone by buying the apparently failing Italian-owned Husqvarna factory. Would the German giant just pick and choose the best people and parts for it's own off-road plans and then let it die? No. BMW had a better plan. A ten million euro injection for a brand new factory, R&D centre, Race Department and Parts Operation were announced and all delivered earlier this year.
The next step in the plan was to reorganise European distribution under factory-owned subsidiaries in each country. In the UK, a deal was struck with Mike Carter for Husky Sport to continue as a Husqvarna dealer and consultant. HVUK was set up and former Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, MV and Moto GB front man, Massimo Granata was announced as managing director.
"I was at MotoGB to oversee mainly the MV involvement in the UK, but when one of my old colleagues from the Aprilia factory had become commercial director at Husqvarna," explains Granata. "he asked me if I was interested to open a Husqvarna subsidiary in UK. I was very impressed with the plans for the brand, so here I am!"
Dave Plummer had worked for Mike Carter on the dealer development and promotional areas for some time and he joined the new HVUK set-up along with Dave Harper who has taken on the role of National Sales Manager. Becky Richards is new on sales support, working from the office in Horley, near Gatwick Airport, and an appointment will soon be made for technical support.
And what about the bikes?
Whilst there has been no announcement, some readers may have noticed that BMW has quietly dropped its GS450 Enduro machine and that the GS450 engine now graces the new 2011 Husqvarna 449. The simple plan is to make Husqvarna the off-road marque for the BMW group. Although the emphasis for Husqvarna remains on competition machines of all sizes and types, a growing road-legal trail, supermoto and adventure sport model range benefiting from the racing heritage and identity is currently under development. These could well be large capacity machines with engines of more than one cylinder.
"Think about what BMW has done with the Mini brand," explains Granata. "Mini is a successful world-wide brand. It is a stand-alone company with its own identity, but benefiting from the technical and marketing support of a renowned, industry leader as a parent company. Mini has it's niche in the world car market and Husqvarna will have its niche in the world motorcycle market."
Husqvarna dealers and owners are reported to have noticed the improved build quality of machines since the BMW takeover and one example of the advantages of the relationship is the arrival of former BMW F1 project engineers at the Italian factory. F1's loss is Husqvarna's gain.
The current model range extends from a 50cc youth class MX machine through125cc learner-legal trail and supermoto models, a two stroke and four stroke range of MX and Enduro models, up to 630cc road legal trail and supermoto models.
The Husqvarna dealer plan is for three basic types; Road Only, Off-Road Only and All Products. At the moment there are 12 dealers,but the plan is to increase this to around 30 over the next two to three years. Stock levels and demonstration machine requirements vary and Point of Sale equipment and signage are provided. There are open areas around the country and payment terms along with discounts on machines and spares are 'very competitive'.
All invoicing and deliveries will be direct with the factory in Italy. Orders and warranty will be serviced on-line and delivery for machines will take about a week, while spare parts will be sent by DHL and will take from 48 to 72 hours depending on the final location in the UK.
"It's early days yet, says Granata, 'but we are out there and making progress already. We will be launching new models at the Dirt Bike Show at Stoneleigh and we will shortly be making an announcement on our racing plans at the top level of motocross and enduro here in the UK."
So, while some manufacturers are cutting back on dealers, it's good to see a company looking at expanding and developing its dealer networks.
Tel: 01293 823891,
Email -Massimo Granata firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - www.husqvarna-motorcycles.co.uk