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By Robert Janis

KTM Brings Expertise of Racing Motorcycles to the ATV Market

Speed! That’s the tradition of KTM Sports Motorcycle AG. Founded in 1934 and based in Austria, KTM was originally a metalworking shop. It began to manufacture, market, and sell motorcycles in 1953. KTM has been on the leading edge of motorcycle development. It was the first manufacturer to produce a liquid-cooled four-stroke motorcycle engine for off-road motorcycles, was the first to include both front and rear disc brakes on an off-road motorcycle, was the first to offer hydraulic clutch mechanisms on all models of motorcycles, and was the first to offer a competition-ready Supermoto bike.

Today the company offers five brands--Super Minicycles (six models), Off-Road Competition (five SX models, three EXC models and 9 XC models), Supermoto (four models), Duke (one model), and Adventure (three models). It will be introducing two sport ATVs--the 450 XC and the 525 XC--by the end of the year.

Through the years the company has been able to build a staggering dealer network that includes just about every country in the world. Countries that have KTM dealers include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Kenya, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldovia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, Taiwan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, USA, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

The division responsible for sales and marketing in the United States and Canada is KTM North America which is based in Amherst, Ohio. Founded in 1968, it has a full-time staff of about 150. KTM North America is involved in the manufacture, research and development, marketing, and sales of the KTM Sports Motorcycle line. Also, it oversees a network of dealers in all 50 states.

KTM North America was a major contributor to the development of the 450 XC and 525 XC sport ATVs. According to Tom Moen, media relations manager for KTM North America, both the 450 XC and 525 XC ATVs were designed for the U.S. market. “The R&D was done here,” said Moen. In addition, according to Moen, KTM has decided to enter the sports quad market because the company recognized a need to bring a true ready-to-race ATV to the market. “The sport ATV market is strong and the interest in ATV racing has been growing year after year,” said Moen. The ATVs have been under development for more than three years.

The ATVs will be sold by the same dealers who are selling KTM sport motorcycles in all 50 states. Moen noted that the company has many programs to assist its dealers with advertising, financing, and floor displays. He said that these same programs will be used to help market the ATVs.

Moreover, the KTM North America Hard Equipment Department, which makes KTM’s power wear and power parts clothing and accessories, will also be making clothing and accessories for the ATV line.

Racing and Marketing
Moen asserted that KTM Sports Motorcycle AG is, after all, a racing company. So it is not surprising that it will be creating a racing team to help promote its new ATVs. KTM North America recently hired Tim Farr, 11-time Pro ATV Champion, to race the 450 XC Sport ATV and to be involved in further research and development of both the 450 and 525. Farr has already participated in his first event, the first round of the Extreme Dirt Track Series, held in Greenbrier, Arizona on June 8 - 9, which he won. In fact, it was a good weekend for Farr and the KTM 450. On Saturday, Farr set one of the fastest lap times during practice. KTM also used the opportunity to showcase the 525 at the event.

Creating a racing team as well as organizing races and participating in them should come second nature to KTM. The KTM factory team includes international motorcycle racers from Japan, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Norway, Italy, France, Czech Republic, and Hungary. The team competes all across the world in such events as the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.

The KTM North America motorcycle racing team competes in the GNCC Series, the AMA Motocross and National Enduro Series, and the WORCS Enduro Series.

So it shouldn’t be all that difficult for KTM to attract the top racers of ATVs to be a part of its ATV racing team. Also, don’t be surprised if the newly-created team wins its share of ATV races at GNCC and WORCS in its first year.

KTM has also created a number of events that are used to promote their motorcycles. One such program is the KTM Festival. Held every year, the festival visits different countries around the world and includes races, stunt riders, and presentation and sale of KTM PowerWear clothing and PowerParts and SpareParts accessories. The festival is also used to showcase the company’s entire line of motorcycles and to introduce the KTM factory team racers. This year’s festival will be held in Hungary September 7 - 9.

KTM North America also has promotional programs for owners of KTM motorcycles and for those who may be in the market to buy a motorcycle. For example, there is the KTM Riding Experience. During the spring and summer KTM North America sends out a crew and rig which includes the company’s on-road street motorcycles to permit potential buyers to experience the use of KTM products. There are also training programs like the two-day Advanced Off-Road Enduro Training Camps. KTM’s seven time Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty directs an intense off-road training class focusing on off-road riding fundamentals. There is also a KTM Supermoto Camp that teaches fundamentals of Supermoto racing. Instructed by Kurt Nicoll, KTM Race Team Manager and former AMA Unlimited Class Supermoto National Champion, the camp goes into technique including the right position on the bike, braking drills, properly applied acceleration and other Supermoto techniques. KTM also holds KTM Adventure Tours. Tours in the U.S. include off-road routes in and around the Las Vegas basin including Old Mint 400, Barstow to Vegas and World Championship Hare and Hound Courses. The tour includes the use of one of two KTM bikes, the KTM 450 EXC or the 525 EXC. Another Adventure Tour is KTM High Sierra Adventure Rider Rally. During the rally participants are permitted to demo ride KTM street bikes. In addition, new bikes are displayed and members of the KTM racing team instruct seminars on fundamental riding techniques and off-road race secrets that helped them become champions.

No doubt, KTM North America will be using similar programs to promote its ATVs and ATV racing team.

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