Calling it a “strategic realignment” for BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group has confirmed the rumors and sold Husqvarna Motorcycles to Pierer Industrie AG, the holding company of KTM CEO Stefan Pierer. Saying the parties would not disclose the terms or purchase price of the transaction, the press release from BMW Motorrad was surprisingly light on any actual information.
Touting BMW’s commitment to urban mobility and electric vehicles, the German company will now focus solely on the BMW Motorrad brand. With reports saying that BMW Motorrad will not venture back into the dirt bike market, the company will maintain its on-road focus for the foreseeable future.
The divestiture of Husqvarna from the BMW Group shouldn’t be terribly surprising for anyone following the brand’s progress the past few years. Struggling on the product-end of its business, Husqvarna lost ground in the off-road market to its main rival KTM.
As the global recession took place, Husqvarna was then hit with a two-pronged attack as the dirt bike market was devastated by the economic downturn, and with the European motorcycles markets being hit the hardest and longest by the recession’s effects. For the European-centric off-road brand, the result had been a slaughtering to Husqvarna’s already tenuous motorcycle sales.
Hoping to right the ship, the BMW Group made an interesting move for the iconic brand, and began pushing the Husqvarna name on on-road machines. Debuting the Husqvarna Nuda 900, Husqvarna Strada, and Husqvarna Terra road bikes to a mixed market-response, the Italian-based Swedish brand also had the highly anticipated Husqvarna Baja and Husqvarna Moab concepts sitting in the wings.
Beginning to post positive signs of growth towards the end of 2012, diving through the numbers instead showed a worrying story. While Husqvarna was moving more units, the company was mostly being buoyed by its new model releases. Dirt bike sales continued to slump, and serious doubts could be made about the repeatability of the sales in the brand’s on-road demographic.
With the speculation rife that KTM would be the purchaser of Husqvarna, the news that Stefan Pierer is the new owner makes a bit more sense. Already having two off-road brands under its roof, KTM (and minority owner Bajaj) needed a third off-road motorcycle brand like it needed a bullet in the head.
Facing all the same problems, and more, as the KTM brand in its transition from a pure off-road brand to one that covers all motorcycle segments, Husqvarna was an answer to a question that KTM was not asking.
However, Pierer’s involvement raises some eyebrows, as the Austrian CEO can very easily translate his plan for restructuring KTM to the Husqvarna brand. We assume an announcement from KTM will be forthcoming, and will announce Pierer’s departure from the Austrian group, which will create a number of questions (even more questions if Pierer stays with KTM).
We’ll leave you with one thought though. What would Pierer’s departure from KTM AG mean for the company’s corporate structure, and Bajaj’s ownership minority?
Source: BMW Motorrad