German car and motorcycle maker BMW announced Thursday morning that it has sold the famed Husqvarna brand, abandoning the 110-year-old Swedish dirt-bike manufacturer in order to focus more energy on building up its share of the fast-growing scooter market.
"In the context of changing motorcycle markets, demographic trends and increasing environmental demands, BMW Motorrad will expand its product offering to exploit future growth potential," the company said in a statement. "The focus of the realignment will be on urban mobility and e-mobility."
The historic Husky brand was once home to the biggest names in world off-road racing. Riders Torsten Hallman, Bengt Aberg, J.N. Roberts and Malcolm Smith dominated motocross and desert racing in the 1960s and '70s and helped make both forms of riding into viable American sports. The company, which had started life in 1689 as an arms maker for the Swedish crown and began selling motorcycles in 1903, also went on to rule Enduro racing from 1990 to 2010 and became a dominant force in the Supermoto category.
The new owner is Pierer Industrie AG of Austria, as in Stephan Pierer -- chief executive of rival brand KTM, which unlike Husqvarna during the BMW period has enjoyed huge success in the off-road world.