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Harley Shuts Down Buell

October 21, 2009 by  

Harley-Davidson will shut down its Buell high performance division and seek a buyer for Italy’s MV Agusta as part of a drive to bolster its core motorcycle brand.

The Milwaukee-based bike maker, which has been hit by a steep decline in sales during the recession, also said on Thursday that it would put a growing emphasis on markets outside the US. It aims to boost foreign sales from 31 per cent of the total this year to at least 40 per cent by 2014, appointing 100-150 new dealers outside the US.

Keith Wandell, who took over as chief executive in May, said that “growth is the single most critical need for Harley-Davidson right now”. The company announced an 84 per cent plunge in third-quarter earnings and a 21 per cent drop in revenues.

While the Harley brand is recognized worldwide, Mr Wandell said that “we have great conviction that there is much more we can do to tap into the power of that brand and extend it further”.

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