8. BMW Sells Husqvarna to KTM CEO Pierer
Let’s face it: BMW’s Husqvarna experiment was a failure. BMW acquired the company in 2007 just before the economy tanked and the demand for off-road motorcycles shriveled. BMW-branded motorcycle sales have since rebounded, with the company setting record after record with each passing quarter, but Husqvarna sales remained fairly stagnant, even despite branching out to street-oriented models like the TR650 Terra and Strada. By January 2013, BMW finally decided to throw in the towel, divesting itself of Husqvarna to focus on urban mobility and electric models.
That’s when KTM Chief Executive Officer Stefan Pierer swooped in like a valkyrie riding an orange dirtbike to carry the Swedish brand off to the hallowed halls of Valhalla. And by that we mean Mattighofen, Austria. Pierer acquired Husqvarna for an undisclosed sum and immediately set to work. First, Husqvarna moved its production from Varese, Italy, to KTM’s production base in Mattigohfen, and then came the merger of Husqvarna and Husaberg, another KTM-owned brand that was itself originally an off-shoot brand formed by former Husky engineers.
For 2014 Husqvarna dirt-bikes will essentially be rebadged KTMs, but we’ll have to see how Husky will evolve from there. The Husqvarna 701 supermoto concept gives us an idea about the company’s future, while Husqvarna’s Moto3 factory entry suggests Husky isn’t quite ready to give up on road bikes just yet.