The Buell brand has been killed by
Harley-Davidson management, according to a notice today (October 15) on the
official Buell web site. The decision will result in the loss of about 80
manufacturing jobs and about 100 salaried positions.
H-D also announced that it planned
to sell the Italian superbike MV Agusta brand that it only purchased last
summer for $109 million.
H-D has been restructuring to cope
with weaker sales. The company has cut more than 1,000 jobs, implemented
temporary production shutdowns, and is considering closing its assembly plant
in York, Pa. H-D’s new long-term strategy is to focus efforts and resources on
the Harley-Davidson brand.
"I want to personally thank all our
past and present Buell employees, dealers and suppliers for their efforts. I
also want to thank Buell motorcycle owners for their support and passion for
the brand," said Buell Motorcycle Company President Jon Flickinger. He added
that Harley-Davidson will continue to provide replacement parts and service
through dealerships, and that warranty coverage will continue as normal for
Buell founder Erik Buell said, "I
will always be proud of what we have accomplished. It is a testimony to what a
small group of passionate and inspired people can do, and with brilliant
innovations, we’ve produced some of the best-handling bikes of all time. I personally look forward to
exploring how I can continue to work with Harley-Davidson to bring advanced
product technology to riders."
The announcement came in
conjunction with H-D announcing a 21% drop in sales and an 84% drop in income
in the last quarter compared to 2008, and a 27% drop in shipped units.
"The fact is we must focus
both our effort and our investment on the Harley-Davidson brand, as we believe
this provides an optimal path to sustained, meaningful long-term growth,"
said CEO Keith Wandell.
The official release can be found