In a highly publicized move, Husqvarna was acquired by BMW in July 2007 from Cagiva and from under its management by MV Agusta. BMW wasted no time with their new purchase and they promptly began flushing the company with both development and marketing dollars (Euro?). This attention given by the parent helped the new adoptee actually gain ground even during the worst recession the world has seen in the modern age.
Husqvarna North America is near the top of that increase in sales as they have aggressively expanded around the US and Canada. In fact, Husqvarna NA is doing so well that they have hired a new management team and have opened a new HQ in California to start 2011. They have big plans in store for their current and potential customers.
The new Husqvarna NA headquarters is located in the city of Corona in California, a central location in the world of off-road motorcycle sports. And that is the precise reason that Husky decided to make the move there. The increasing success of their competitive riders has put them in the enviable position of gaining market share, and the company wishes to exploit that by being in the middle of the action.
Having all of the various important divisions of Husqvarna under one roof will provide solid benefits; one of which is the ability to have all necessary people together in one place so to allow for quicker and better product development for the North American market. Of course, the new digs also help Husqvarna provide superior service for those which compete on or simply ride their machines.
The staffing updates are quite extensive; Husky has effectively doubled the staff at their North American operations and a slew of new people have come on board. The first big announcement was in December when Husqvarna NA hired its new president, Kris Odwarka. He comes to Husqvarna from Alpina GmbH, an aftermarket tuning specialist akin to Mercedes’ AMG but for BMW automobiles.
This followed Odwarka’s long experience working for BMW in many different positions throughout Europe. Odwarka is also no stranger to motorcycle racing having started his career working for motorcycle dealerships to support his time as a competitor throughout Colorado and New Mexico. That extensive experience with BMW will help the new office keep themselves ahead of the curve and on mission, making Odwarka essentially the perfect selection.
Coming over with some 12 years of experience at off-road dominator KTM is Revelle Harrison, who will take the position as Husqvarna’s National Sales Manager. Being an avid racer and trail rider has given Harrison the experience both inside and outside of the office which any manufacturer can benefit from. He is known for building very strong sales programs to help dealers move motorcycles off the showroom floor and into customer’s hands. As leader of Husky’s North American dealers, Harrison should do very well in increasing the marque’s presence at off-road events all over the continent.
Andy Jefferson has a different set of skills which he will apply at Husqvarna NA. Jefferson raced professionally for Husky in the 1980’s on the Pro Circuit Husqvarna team until an unfortunate knee injury caused him to retire from competition early. He has been working in the document management industry ever since. This has given Jefferson a wealth of exposure to organizing and managing complex operations; he will use that in his new position as National After Sales Manager to handle parts and accessories, service, projects and the all-important Husky customer. His continuing involvement in off-road racing should benefit him greatly as well.
Coming into the marketing side of operations is former Cycle World VP for Brand Development Corey Eastman. Seventeen years in the motorcycle industry working in the marketing area will give Eastman a very good start in his new role. His position will give him control over Husky’s marketing, product development and racing activities as soon as he steps into the office on the first day. Eastman has the knowledge to build the Husqvarna brand and keep it in its solid position as a leader in the off-road motorcycling world.
2011 is looking more and more like Husqvarna’s year. The new North American headquarters and the new staff and management are only the beginning. Rumors have spread recently that, like KTM before them, the off-road focused brand is also looking to expand their on-road segment. BMW has done well by keeping the core of the Husqvarna marque together and expanding in areas in which Husky is already a leader. The new offices in California will work as a solid platform from which Husqvarna North America can continue to lead their growth into the hands of Canadian and American motorcyclists.
Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com