250 Words: Reformation  of an Iconic Brand

250 Words: Reformation of an Iconic Brand

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By now, many of you already know that Husqvarna has merged with KTM for 2014 and beyond. Perhaps you heard that Tyla Rattray would be leaving the U.S. to race the GPs on a Husqvarna next year. That news is certainly enough to spark one’s curiosity. Big moves such as the KTM/Husqvarna merger naturally stir up chatter and rumors, and those rumors are often times presented as facts. Like the “fact” that the 2014 Husqvarna models are essentially KTMs with white plastics. While that statement isn’t entirely accurate, it’s not entirely false. In fact, Rattray has been in California putting down laps on a KTM in preparation for his transition.

This week, Racer X was invited to the Husqvarna Media World Launch in Sweden to get a firsthand look at the 2014 models, and I was fortunate enough to attend the event and witness the beginning of a new era. The reunified Husqvarna staff was excited and ambitious to begin work on a new canvas, as they should be. Some consumers may view the beginning of this era as the initial steps of integration between Husqvarna and KTM into one motorcycle, but I believe the obvious similarities will actually begin to drop between the two individual brands as they continue forward. But consider the rollercoaster ride Husqvarna has been on through the years, including the buyouts and selling of assets (ownership by Electrolux, Cagiva, and BMW), geographical relocation of manufacturing, Husaberg splitting into its own faction and more. The recent merger may prove to be the grounds of stabilization Husqvarna has needed to move forward and become a major player in the worldwide motocross market. They are, and have been, a strong force in the off-road market since the beginning, but unifying with Husaberg after a 25-year separation should only strengthen their efforts.

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KTM already owned Husaberg, so 25 years later, Husqvarna and Husaberg reunite. Like the last few years of 'Bergs, the new Husqvarnas are similar but not identical to KTMs.

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This is a big deal, and it's only just begun.
Jordan Roberts photos

Husqvarna will undoubtedly experience growing pains in the first few years with their distribution and yet another relocation of manufacturing and assembly to Austria, but could there be a better time and opportunity to do so? KTM has solidified their roots as the dominant force in European motocross and is beginning to put pressure on the Japanese manufacturers in America. Climbing to these heights was certainly not an overnight excursion for the Austrian brand, nor will it be for Husqvarna. For now, Husqvarna seems poised to take small steps and keep it relatively simple to strengthen their foundation as well. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the iconic brand will fare in its new environment. Keep an eye out for more on the evolving saga of Husqvarna and the potential rise of European off-road motorcycles as a whole.

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