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Moto.IT interview with Husqvarna NA President.

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  • Kris Odwarka speaks of Husqvarna USA


Kris talks about the Husqvarna Odwarka Use

The U.S. branch manager told Moto.it what are the programs of the House of Varese in the overseas market |
M. Zanzani

Today is the Director of Husqvarna North America, but Kris Odwarka started cleaning the garage and through the ranks in order, taking the first mechanical tools in a company in Colorado and then New Mexico, on the mountains in 1969 when he started doing motocross and enduro . "I remember that in New Mexico there were not many people like today - explains Odwarka - now has more inhabitants than Germany when I was a kid there were only 83,000 inhabitants in the whole state and then you took the bike home I infilavi directly in the desert with no problems. But I was not a great rider, and that's why now I do a different job. In the meantime I worked at American dealers BMW motorcycle and car, then directly to the U.S. subsidiary company Bavaria and then move to Europe where I worked in Monaco for eleven years, while last year were U.S. President Delepine

On January 1 last year have moved the headquarters from New Jersey to California, how did this decision?

"It 'was a very important step, because after buying the Husqvarna, BMW has focused first on quality and production capacity , then enlarging the network of international sales of the importers in countries around the world and, in the case of the U.S., to expand its presence through BMW dealers. Consequently it was decided to move to Corona because it is the world center of motocross, where their base teams, suppliers, development centers and there is plenty of room to turn the car and then even the trials. Since then we have increased two and a half times the number of employees, tripled the number of people working in service spare parts, and we have invested in the market to achieve the goals we set ourselves.

A special attention is also given to the service.

"The European market share between 50 and 60% is related to the proceeds of the sale of new bikes, and only the remaining covers spare parts, in the U.S. is rather quite different. American like you in fact get their hands and customize their bikes, so that the profit on the sale of motorcycles and assistance was only 18%, the rest was on the sale of spare parts, apparel, exhausts, tires. The people here consume the bike, and an owner expects to spend each year on items for the bike an amount equal to the value of the new bike. Here the bike if you enjoy it, have fun and use it a lot. It goes without saying that the U.S. and Canada, the sale of spare parts or special series is much more important than in Europe, so it is logical that we take care of this area well. "

You will then employees have a good experience, maybe former pilots.

"Absolutely, the choice of BMW was to focus on quality and investing in the Husqvarna brand we try to make use of the best people. For example, we wanted to have a good marketing for which we have assumed that Corey Eastman for 14 years he was vice president of Cycle World, one of the most popular motorcycle magazines of the world, we have assumed the sales of KTM sales manager who was with them from twelve years, the after sales service we have Andy Jefferson, who has worked 27 years for the former management for eight seasons, but he was also a Pro Circuit Husqvarna factory rider and ran the National in the 70s and 80s. Exceptional individual talents, which are united in a powerful and efficient team. For staff in the field we have an experienced staff that has been mechanically Jeremy McGrath and another who has followed the Enduro Champion Kurt Caselli, one of the components has won eight medals in the Six Days, another is in contention to win the 17th coin to ISDE breaking the record of all time. Everyone knows to fit in motion, and everyone understands the meaning of riding, including the world of racing. "

One of your goals is also to customize the range to ensure you have suitable models for the American market.

"That's right, there is constant communication between Italy and the United States about what the Americans want when choosing a motorcycle. In motocross, typically, the setting of the suspension and the engine starts here and is adapted for Europe, the Enduro is the opposite. The person who works for Corey to product development is periodically Varese working shoulder to shoulder with the engineers and the product planning department. "

How is the development will be undertaken with regard to the racing department?

"We have several teams competing in different categories of off-road racing at the highest level, who are constantly improving the bike, make test, and all information collected is collected and sent constantly in Italy. And the engineers and designers are Italians in the United States to see the races, to learn from the pilots and study the motion, experimenting with various types of races. "

In your future plans are the National and Supercross?

"I think the first step is to focus on what we do best, or what in Europe is called Enduro and that we have different facets. Husqvarna has won several Baja 1000, has had excellent performance all'ISDE and U.S. national championships where he set nine times, eight of them in a row. Of course I also aim to motocross, we have good strengths and TC250 is an excellent bike but it is an area where we can addentarci completely at this time. "

What is the situation in the market today, regarding the sale of off-road bike?

"43% of offroad sold in the United States, while Canada accounts for 7%. Last year's market share has declined, as every year since 2007, and is currently half the numbers that are most used, but despite the difficult market Husqvarna has achieved the highest sales level ever reached since with BMW , higher than even the pre-crisis years, and our share in the U.S. market has almost doubled between 2010 and 2011. "

As for road bikes?

"After the remarkable success reported in Europe from Nude are also considering to bring in the American market, but must have a fair price because that's what American consumers want today. Compared with the global market for motorcycles, the segment of road is a small slice since last year in the U.S. have been sold around 370,000, of which only 5% naked or traditional. Here the market is very different, people love the Cruisers, touring bikes imposing reflecting the large size of trucks and cars, even a twin-cylinder 900 cc motorcycle is considered a medium-small, but in the end of a 600 cc supersport is a beginners bike so much that most road bikes sold in the United States has more than 1000 cc. "

The successes of the past and the great tradition of Husqvarna definitely helps you to keep up the brand to an audience rather advanced in years, how you act towards the younger generation?

"It 'a point on which we are focusing carefully, and that is why led us to choose a very aggressive price for our CR and WR 125 2 stroke, 144cc kit that includes making them accessible to even more riders and race categories. But we must also understand the world of off-road racing in America, based on the very figure of the mentor. Young people can not drive an SUV or a van, and even a high-powered motorcycle, and the bond that you may have with motocross rider through a more experienced of them that says: This is a bike, this is a style, you're you're on the Queen on a Husqvarna motorcycle. The Americans are at the bottom of nostalgia, probably because we have a very recent history, for us the sixties and seventies seem far away, not like in Europe where the history goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. The cars are popular machines are "sentimental": the Mini is going very well, even with the new Volkswagen Beetle, the Ford Mustang's design is reminiscent of the 60s, cars created as a tribute to earlier models. This helps the brand Husqvarna was an icon of the golden years, one of the pioneers of motocross for collectors who are growing in number, there are three fabulous museums motocross within a hundred miles, and a Husqvarna has the most rare exist in the world, have not even in Sweden and Italy combined. Another has 800 Japanese and Husqvarna motorcycles all air-cooled engine size and number of years and all in perfect condition. Then there is another gentleman who has competed in the national championship on the track, a good driver who is still a few races Over Sixty Expert motocross and has four important collections with probably the oldest motocross bikes to be found, even with pressed steel frame, the Benelli, the first single shock absorber with Yamaha, Husqvarna first two cylinders and the first four days. "

Speaking of Japanese, should not be easy to compete with them.

"It 's true, so if we choose to compete in the Supercross and National would have five opponents, while focusing for now on what we do best which is the enduro and its branches have only an antagonist and a half, considering that in addition to KTM's Yamaha but that is only involved in half. With our TC 250 have gained ground, and with the 310 we have something that the Japanese do not do and that is very popular with many amateurs who want an easy and entertaining, which enhances the ability to drive and has a power to be exploited up. "

What goals you have faced?

"Currently in the United States regarding the motocross one can say that we are the Big Five and Husqvarna. Well, in the future we want to talk about the Big Six, to be considered on a par with Japanese and KTM not only impact on the market, where we are already in good shape, but in terms of quantity. We have a ten-year plan that reflects the thinking of BMW, during which we want to compete in the total number of units sold in each area and quality of competition. "

Maximum Zanzani

Edited by HuskyRips

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No mention of dual sports? I guess they're off the radar for now.

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