KTM is a unique company. They have had a meteoric rise in World Motocross, with MX1, MX2, and Women’s World MX Championships by Tony Cairoli, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, and Steffi Laier. And now they are embarking on achieving that same meteoric rise in America by joining former AMA Supercross and MX Champion Ryan Dungey, two-time World MX2 Champion Marvin Musquin, 2011 FIM MX2 World Motocross Champion Kenny Roczen, together with Team Manager Roger De Coster and crew. Their goal is to tackle the 2012 AMA Supercross Series Championship & AMA Motocross Championships in both the MX class, and Lites class.
With KTM’s Ryan Dungey in the AMA Supercross points lead as the 2012 series enters Round 4 in Oakland, we thought it’s a good time to share with you a little bit about KTM, and their ‘home’.
KTM’s home – the factory, is located in Mattighofen, a small quiet village in Austria.
Our tour guide, Mr. Martin Schaumloeffel
The KTM story starts in the 1930’s, here in Mattighofen. But not as motorcycles. It started as a work shop for machines, like gardening and kitchen appliances, by Mr. Hans Trunkenpolz. (Trunkenpolz stands for the “T” in KTM.)
In 1953, Mr. Ernst Kronreif became involved (Kronreif stands for the “K” in KTM.)
Then, in 1954, they started with motorcycles – the very first serial motorbike production for KTM, with Rotax engines. Soon, KTM were producing three finished motorcycles per day.
So it was Mr. K and Mr. T setting up shop in the village of Mattighofen. The “M” in KTM stands for Mattighofen.
In motocross, KTM scored big with their first World Motocross title – the 250cc championship in 1974 with Russian rider Guennady Moiseev.
Today, KTM has won over 180 World titles in off-road motorcycle racing.
In 1993, Mr. Stefan Pierer bought the company. And this is the start of KTM as we know it today.
There is a design and marketing agency in Salzburg, Austria, called KISKA, and is headed by Gerald Kiska. Mr. Kiska become involved with KTM thru Mr. Pierer in 1993. They wanted something ‘new’ for KTM. They wanted a strong brand and design, something aggressive and edgy … and that’s where the ‘Orange’ of the ‘new’ KTM came about.
In taking our tour of the KTM facilities in Mattighofen, we noticed something as we interacted with many people in many departments. People here do not work simply for money. They work here because of ‘passion’. And the love the family spirit of KTM. People come here to work in Mattighofen from all over the world to be involved in this ‘family’, and their passion.
The KTM spirit is alive and evident – you can see it. And it all starts from their home, here in Mattighofen. Staff go out on the weekends and ride their bikes – some mx, some enduro, and some on pavement.
Some might come in Monday morning with bruises or scratches or maybe even a broken bone or two. It’s part of living with passion.
KTM is really led by racing. It is the driving force of the company. Along our tour, we stopped and talked with Juergen Weisz of the Sports Marketing department of KTM, and he spoke about what the Racing Department aims to do, and believes in strongly:
First, we consider ourselves a big family. We try very hard to make sure our customers and fans are part of our ‘family’. One example – at the World Motocross Grand Prix races, all the riders, and 10 time former World MX Champion Stefan Everts, sign autographs – we are the only team I believe to do this, and it is because we want the fans to be part of our family. We are proud of what we have done in motocross, enduro, rally, off-road. We are proud of our team structure, and appearance … you can see it each year in all the riders we support. And we work very hard to make sure business partners and sponsors – they get 100% support from us.
Our goals for 2012: We want to repeat as World Champions in the MX1 and MX2 series. We have Tony Cairoli two years in a row as MX1 World Motocross Champion, and three years in a row with Marvin Musquin and Kenny Roczen in the MX2 class. We also want to bring and support new young talent. In always looking towards the future, you need young riders with talent. So maybe in a few years we will also have the next Kenny Roczen or Jeffrey Herlings. In Enduro, our focus is coming back into it with a strong team, and the best bike on the market.
So, we are a big family, we want our customers and fans to be part of this, and we are proud of our racing teams, support, and riders.
As we continued on our tour of the factory – we are now where the bikes are made!
The “Assembly Hall” has four ‘lines’. Each of the lines can produce all the models KTM sells. And it takes approximately 45 minutes to assembly a motorcycle from start to finish. In that 45 minutes, there are 19 ‘steps’ to make the final motorcycle after the engine goes into the frame. And it’s all done by hand!
After the bikes come off the assembly line, they go straight to the dyno. (Then they get shipped off to dealerships all over the world, which is where we got our SX-F 350 in southern California.)
Hopefully the photos give you a little taste of the factory headquarters of KTM in Austria. To us, it was quite impressive.
KTM is real people. Like Sel, Pit, Juergen, Bjoern, Martin, Valentina, Roger, Christy, Stephanie, Stefan, Paolo, Tania. And many, many more. KTM has over 1400 employees in just Mattighofen!
They are very proud of the phrase “Made in Austria”.
And they are at ‘home’ in Mattighofen.
Yes, KTM makes street bikes too
KTM celebrates their first AMA Supercross Main Event win Ryan Dungey on the number 5 machine