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Husqvarna rides into town

A sales representative checks display models of Husqvarna motorcycles at the brand’s showroom in Phnom Penh yesterday.
A sales representative checks display models of Husqvarna motorcycles at the brand’s showroom in Phnom Penh yesterday. Pha Lina

Husqvarna rides into town

Cambodia's first Husqvarna Motorcycles showroom and dealership has opened in the capital’s upscale Boeung Keng Kang 1 neighbourhood, giving off-road sport aficionados more toys to play with.

The Swedish brand name, better associated with chainsaws and outdoor power tools, has a storied history as a motorcycle manufacturer.

However, the Swedish conglomerate offloaded its motorcycle arm to Italy’s Castiglione Giovanni and Varese (Cagiva) in 1987. The unit was later bought out by BMW before its 2013 acquisition by Austrian motorcycle manufacturer Pierer Industrie AG.

Husqvarna’s line of motocross, enduro and supermoto bikes are currently produced in Mattighofen, Austria, in the same plant that manufactures KTM motorcycles.

Ming Wuoy Metropolitan International Brand Co Ltd (MW Group), which has held exclusive distribution rights for the expensive yet widely popular KTM Motorcycles since 2012, said it aims to extend its reach by offering the Husqvarna line in response to growing local demand for high-speed adventure sports.

“Our company noticed that more and more Cambodians and foreigners are interested in using motocross and enduro [off-road motorcycles,] and we saw a big increase in racers,” said Than Dara, MW Group’s marketing manager. “So that’s why our company brought Husqvarna to Cambodia.”

He said demand by individual Cambodians and foreigners was high, while some travel agencies are looking to use the high-performance motorbikes for adventure tours.

“A few [travel agencies] have been interested in our bikes, but they are still thinking about it because our bike is more expensive than other brands,” Dara said. “The cost of the tour depends on which brand they use as well.”

Dara expressed confidence that the $7,000 to $11,000 price tag on Husqvarna motorcycles would not deter off-road motorbike enthusiasts committed to a quality brand-name, adding that within its first two days of opening the dealership sold two units.

“If you think of the other brands, they’ve introduced mixed categories of bikes, but Husqvarna focuses solely on dirt bikes and we have more experience with dirt bikes and developing the brand to the highest level,” he said.

Peter Brongers, president of the Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation, said demand for off-road bikes was growing quickly, creating more opportunities for various brands to enter the market.

“[The market] is growing and it is growing fast due to more disposable income for a wider group of people,” he said.

MW Group said it plans to hold dirt bike racing competitions throughout the year.

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