Husqvarna was founded nearly 300 years ago as a weapons factory for the Swedish army. It grew and diversified, and in 1903 it produced its first motorcycle—making it the oldest continually produced motorcycle brand in history. Husqvarna’s motorcycle line continued to grow, and by the 1930s they began competing in—and winning—international races.
By the 1970s, Husqvarna literally dominated the off-road race scene, and continued to do so through the early eighties. However, broad changes in the company’s focus and product offerings, combined with strong foreign competition, pushed Husqvarna Motorcycles to the edge of going out of business. Recognizing the inherent value of the name and the off-road market, in 1986, a small Italian motorcycle company named Cagiva, purchased the Swedish company and began rebuilding this historic brand.
In 1996, after the Cagiva Group sold one of its premier brands, Ducati, to a group of American investors. Husqvarna was left without a U.S. distributor for its products. Recognizing the potentially tremendous demand for Cagiva and Husqvarna motorcycles in the United States market, the owners of Cagiva, brothers Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni, sought to establish a viable U.S. distributorship for Cagiva, Husqvarna, and the reintroduced MV Agusta marque.
They approached longtime friend Eraldo Ferracci to investigate the possibility of establishing a new U.S. distributor.
During this time, Eraldo Ferracci, founder of Fast By Ferracci Racing Products, was head of the Fast By Ferracci Race Team which won two World Superbike and two AMA Superbike championships. En route to the these titles, FBF’s race team defeated huge factory racing teams despite the seemingly overwhelming odds facing a small motorcycle shop from suburban Philadelphia. Fast By Ferracci Racing Products grew from a small machine shop in a garage behind the Ferracci’s house to a multi-million-dollar international corporation dedicated to designing, manufacturing, and selling top-quality aftermarket performance products.
Based on the success of Fast By Ferracci, the Castiglioni brothers recognized that the Ferracci organization had the drive necessary to reestablish the Cagiva, Husqvarna, and MV Agusta brands in the United States, and established a joint venture between Cagiva and the Ferracci organization in 1997. This new company, Cagiva USA, was granted exclusive rights to import and distribute Cagiva, Husqvarna, and MV Agusta products in the United States and Canada.
In 2009 BMW acquired Husqvarna Motorcycles, Dr. Herbert Diess, General Director of BMW Motorrad, and Claudio Castiglioni of MV Agusta signed a contract on July 19th to initiate the sale; f
Diess says that, With the Husqvarna models targeted at the sporty competition, we will be able to extend the BMW Motorrad range to include younger groups of customers as well as the entire off-road and supermoto sector much more quickly and effectively than with our core brand alone.
While BMW has dabbled in the off-road market with its rapidly expanding line of enduro bikes, the acquisition of Husky should enable near-instant leverage in this growing segment. BMW says they plan to operate Husqvarna as a separate enterprise, and that operations will remain at their current location in Northern Italy.
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