It was a dream weekend designed to wow dealers. Starting with a trip to the San Diego Supercross, a ribbon cutting at the brand new facility, wining and dining (at a winery, no less) and concluding with a chance to ride the entire 2014 range of new Mattighofen-made Husqvarna models, it really was an opportunity to see history in the making.
“We want you to be able look back at the pictures taken this weekend and see that you were part of history,” Husqvarna Motorcycles North America president Jon-Erik Burleson proclaimed during the ceremonial ribbon cutting and champagne toast.
“Tonight is about dreams… whether you start out to win a Supercross or a Superbowl, it all begins with a dream,” noted Husqvarna VP Brad Hagi during the dealer meeting portion of the whirlwind weekend. Hagi’s comments were presented against the backdrop of a big screen TV on which dealers had just seen the Denver Broncos get demolished by the Seattle Seahawks in the big game.
In an odd coincidence, the MVP for the big game was Malcolm Smith — not to be confused with the legendary Husqvarna dealer and On Any Sunday star by the same name who was among the legends in attendance.
“Edison Dye had a dream to bring to bring Husky and the sport of motocross to America,” added Hagi. “Malcolm Smith had a dream, which inspired an entire generation of riders; first AMA 500cc champ Mark Blackwell had a dream to win; Chuck Sun started his dreams on a Husqvarna… Husky has always been the stuff of dreams.” However, the “new” Husqvarna is no pipe dream! KTM boss Stefan Pierer purchased the brand less than a year ago, but has already committed the full resources of Pierer Industrie AG to completely reinvigorate the venerable brand.
“It is no secret that the U.S. is the biggest market for Husqvarna,” said Husqvarna Sportmotorcycle GmbH Managing Director Reinhold Zens. “Our global vision calls for a rebirth of the brand,” he said, battling jet-lag from flying in on the red-eye from Austria specifically to meet with dealers. “We are ready to invest in the future of Husqvarna.” Given the fact that more than 300 existing or potential Husqvarna dealers were on hand, Zens had his work cut out for him.
“We have an opportunity and a responsibility to return the brand to its iconic stature,”Burleson told the dealers with his customary candor. In fact, the plan calls for a completely stand-alone dealer network from parent company KTM. “We plan to have unique dealerships where possible,” Burleson explained to an audience largely comprised of existing KTM dealers.
“Husqvarna’s marketing, customer service and racing efforts will be run completely separate from KTM North America.” Contrary to the complaints that the new Husqvarnas are little more than white KTMs, Burleson shared the long-range vision with the dealers, with the caveat that some dealers may have to make a choice between white and orange in the near future. “Bottom line: Husqvarna will have its own dealer network.”
Pierer Industrie AG wants to win the marketshare race against the Japanese Big Four, even if that means cannibalizing some of the KTM dealer network. “We’re excited to have two European brands to challenge the four Japanese brands within the marketplace instead of just one,” explained Burleson. “Personally I’m really looking forward to going to the races and seeing Husqvarna and KTM battling each other for the win.”
Although he is president of both KTM and Husqvarna, Burleson literally grew up a Husky fan as his childhood was spent watching his legendary father “King Richard” create the mystique of the original Swedish-made Husqvarnas. “Husky stands for premium components, Swedish culture, heritage and of course, racing… we remain dedicated to these values with the rebirth of Husqvarna,” Burleson explained during the Sunday evening address to dealers.
These remarks were presented at the Ponte winery in Temecula, California, just down the road from the new 15,000 sq./ft. facility purpose built to house the “new” Husqvarna North America… the paint was still drying in some of the offices!
Sunday concluded with legendary Husky historian/racer/engineer Gunnar Lindstrom, 8x Enduro champ Dick Burleson, desert racing hero Larry Roesseler, Malcolm Smith, MX des Nations winner Chuck Sun and former Husqvarna exec Mark Blackwell being joined by the next generation of Husqvarna champions, including Mike Brown, Andrew DeLong and Jacob Argubright.
Hagi concluded the meeting by giving a special shout out to John Moore, a Husqvarna dealer since 1966! “To borrow a phrase, from John, ‘Husqvarna is back!’”
No More Pasta Bikes: Husqvarna’s 2014 Made-In-Mattighofen Models
With the North American facility now operational and a revamped dealer network being established, Husqvarna is offering the first of the bikes built in KTM’s Mattighofen factory in Austria. The new Huskys began arriving on showroom floors in early March. The MSRPs for the 2014 models were announced at the national dealer meeting, as was the coming of a 2015 model year lineup in summer 2014. After seeing the Supercross in San Diego, treated to a historic ribbon cutting and then wined & dined at the Ponte Winery, dealers were taken to the track and turned loose on the ’14s the next day!
2014 Husqvarna Motorcycles
TC 85 $5,399
TC 125 $6,549
TC 250 $7,249
FC 250 $8,049
FC 450 $9,049
TE 250 $8,349
TE 300 $8,549
FE 250 $8,649
FE 350 $9,549
FE 501 $9,899