Who makes KTM motorcycles? KTM Motorcycles are an Austrian manufacturer of off-road and sports motorcycles, headquartered in Mattighofen. The company was established in 1934 by engineer Hans Trunkenpolz, and the first production model was released in 1953.
KTM is one of the most popular motorcycle brands in the world. Founded in 1934 in Austria (KTM origin country), KTM has become a leader in the off-road and street bike markets, producing some of the highest quality and most reliable motorcycles on the market.
Who makes KTM motorcycles?
KTM motorcycles are made by KTM AG, an Austrian motorcycle, bicycle, and sports car manufacturer. The company was founded in 1992 but traces its foundation to as early as 1934. KTM motorcycles are manufactured at the main production facilities in Austria, India, and Spain. However, KTM also has several production plants worldwide.
The KTM engines, which are the beating heart of every KTM motorcycle, are made in the engine plant in Munderfing, Austria. KTM motorcycles are known for their performance, handling, and off-road capabilities. The company has won numerous championships in motocross, enduro, and supercross racing.
KTM is a privately held company owned by Pierer Mobility AG and the Indian manufacturer Bajaj Auto. Pierer Mobility AG is majority owned by Pierer Industrie AG.
When did KTM start?
KTM’s history dates back to 1934, when Hans Trunkenpolz set up shop in Mattighofen, Austria, initially repairing cars and motorcycles under the name Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, but it took nearly two decades before a motorcycle bearing the name would appear.
The first was the R100 that reached production in 1953, making 2023 KTM’s 70th anniversary as a motorcycle maker.
The same year, Ernst Kronreif took a major shareholding in the firm, which was renamed Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, the real essence of the ‘KTM’ brand that it retains to this day.
However, while there’s still a Trunkenpolz connection in the current iteration of KTM, with Hubert Trunkenpolz as part of the management team, KTM as we know it really started life in the early 1990s.
Having passed to Hans’ son Erich in the 1960s, KTM expanded fast, starting to build bicycles as well as motorcycles, but the firm hit trouble in the 1980s and in 1991 the brand’s ownership was transferred to creditors.
They split KTM into four parts, selling the motorcycle-making section – renamed KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH – in 1992 to Cross Industries, an investment company set up by a young mechanical engineer called Stefan Pierer, who’s overseen KTM’s rise to dominance since.
Who owns KTM?
Today, Cross Industries has morphed into Pierer Industrie, which in turn owns Pierer Mobility AG, the parent to KTM and a host of other brands. Stefan Pierer remains the driving force behind the company’s direction to this day, his own fortunes rising alongside those of KTM.
He entered Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires in 2018 and remains on it today with a $1.2 billion fortune that makes him the tenth wealthiest person in Austria, according to Forbes’ 2022 ranking.
It was under Pierer’s guidance that KTM started to edge further towards street bikes. The Duke 620 was launched in 1994, and four years later work started on the LC8 V-twin engine, a project that would come to fruition in 2003 when the 950 Adventure reached production – making 2023 another anniversary for KTM, marking 20 years of multi-cylinder models.
The RC8 superbike appeared 15 years ago in 2008, as did KTM’s first car, the X-Bow, which has expanded into a range of track-focussed machines since then.
In 2007, Indian automotive giant Bajaj joined forces with KTM, buying a 14.5% stake that it would later extend to 46.5%, owned via its Dutch subsidiary, Bajaj Auto International Holdings BV. In 2021, Bajaj swapped its stake in KTM for a share of Pierer Mobility AG, which now owns 98.2% of KTM.
What brands are owned by KTM?
Pierer has never been one to miss an opportunity and KTM isn’t the only company he’s snapped up when the right chance has arisen. In 2005, KTM grabbed control of Husaberg, and two years later started a gradual takeover of WP suspension, eventually integrating the company completely with KTM in 2017.
In 2013, a change in heart at BMW – which had bought Husqvarna from Claudio Castiglioni’s MV Agusta Group in 2007 – saw the brand come on the market again, and Pierer was quick to add it to the KTM portfolio.
That spelled the end for Husaberg which had been established in 1987 by ex-Husqvarna employees when Castiglioni bought Husky. Since the two brands were reunited under Pierer ownership, there was little sense in keeping them as separate entities.
In 2019, Pierer bought Spanish brand GasGas, adding it to the KTM arm of Pierer Mobility. Today all three brands – KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas – use as many shared parts as possible to keep R&D and production costs down, while retaining their own identities thanks to distinct styling and marketing.
But they’re far from the only companies owned by Pierer Mobility, which also owns four bicycle and e-bicycle makers – Raymon, Felt, Husqvarna E-Bicycles and GasGas Bicycles. Notably, the company doesn’t own KTM Fahrrad, the bicycle brand that sells pushbikes and e-bikes under the KTM name and logo.
It’s been a separate entity since way back in 1991 when creditors split up the remains of the original KTM brand, and trademark rights mean Pierer Mobility can’t sell bicycles or e-bicycles wearing the KTM name.
In a third division, Pierer Mobility owns a 50% share in Kiska, the design agency that’s been responsible for the appearance of KTMs for years and now also designs Husqvarna and GasGas motorcycles, as well as working for other motorcycle companies, notably CFMoto, and doing product design for a host of other industries.
Alongside Kiska, the design arm of Pierer Mobility also owns 100% of Pierer Innovation, which works on concepts like AI, blockchain, big data and machine learning, and software developer Avocodo.
How big is KTM?
In 2022, Pierer Mobility sold 375,492 motorcycles. That’s 42,611 (13%) more than the previous year, and reflects the sort of spectacular growth that’s become the norm since Pierer rescued KTM from insolvency in the early 90s.
The 2022 figures show KTM is the groups biggest player, accounting for 258,494 sales, followed by Husqvarna on 70,938 and GasGas on 29,691. The remaining 16,369 are electric balance bikes. Add e-bicycles to the mix, and Pierer Mobility’s sales in 2022 rose to 449,971.
The growth is essentially exponential. A decade earlier, in 2012, KTM sales passed 100,000 for the first time, and a decade before that, in 2002, sales first crossed the 50,000 mark.
Growth has been largely constant since Pierer bought KTM, with the exception of a dip in 2008/9 that coincided with the global financial crisis and took a couple of years to recover from. In 2020, the sales dip caused by pandemic-related shutdowns and supply problems was offset by Pierer’s perfectly-timed entry to the e-bicycle market.
Where are KTM motorcycles made?
KTM motorcycles are manufactured at the main production facilities in Austria, India, and Spain. However, KTM also has several production plants worldwide. More importantly, the KTM engines, which are the beating heart of every KTM motorcycle, are made in the engine plant in Munderfing, Austria.
Is KTM part of Husqvarna?
In 2013, KTM AG (Husaberg’s owner) bought Husqvarna Motorcycles, marking the reunion of two halves of the original Husqvarna brand of the 60s and 70s! The Husqvarna Motorcycles brand returned to its glorious origins with state-of-the-art technology and the iconic Swedish blue, yellow and white colour scheme.
Is KTM a good brand of motorcycle?
Today, KTM has some of the most sought-after adventure motorcycles, a diverse range of off-road bikes, and an impressive array of streetbikes for all skill levels.
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