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Harley-Davidson drops Buell, MV Agusta

October 15, 2009
Filed under Features

As part of its strategy to concentrate on growth through a single-minded focus on the Harley-Davidson brand, Harley’s board of directors yesterday agreed to discontinue its Buell motorcycle line and sell off MV Agusta, the company reported in its third quarter results.

“While the environment remains challenging for us, we are mildly encouraged by the moderation in the decline of dealer retail Harley-Davidson motorcycle sales,” Keith Wandell, CEO of Harley-Davidson, said in the press release. “And moving forward, our strategy is designed to strengthen Harley-Davidson for long-term growth and deliver results through increased focus.”

The company will discontinue production of Buell motorcycles. Remaining inventories of Buell motorcycles, accessories and apparel, while they last, will continue to be sold through authorized dealerships.

Warranty coverage will continue as normal for Buell motorcycles and the company will provide replacement parts and service through dealerships.

The decision will result in a reduction over time of about 80 hourly production positions and about 100 salaried positions at Buell. Employment will end for a majority of Buell employees Dec. 18.

Harley-Davidson Inc. expects to incur approximately $125 million in one-time costs related to the discontinuation of the Buell product line. The company expects to incur approximately $115 million of that amount this year.

Relative to MV Agusta, the company will immediately commence efforts to sell the business, which is based in Varese, Italy.

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