KTM sold 2,61,000 bikes worldwide in 2018, selling approximately 35,000 more motorcycles than Harley-Davidson did in outright motorcycle sales. So, in outright sales numbers, KTM has overtaken Harley-Davidson, but the American motorcycle brand has more high-value motorcycles and a massive accessory and merchandise line, which means that Harley-Davidson’s revenue is three times than that of KTM, which stood at $ 1.75 billion (over ₹ 12,000 crore). Now, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has set his sights on breaking into the top-three motorcycle makers worldwide, and overtaking Kawasaki in the process.
Pierer took the reins of KTM in 1991, after purchasing the troubled brand from then owners, and slowly and surely, turning the business around, focussing on off-road bikes. Under Pierer’s leadership, KTM sales has grown more than four times, and is poised to hit the 4,00,000 sales mark by 2022. The future may not be as easy though, with electric bikes looking like getting a lot of interest and sales as the world progresses towards electric mobility in the years to come. As a brand which has the DNA of performance and off-road machines, going electric to maintain and grow in pure sales numbers in future will be a challenge.KTM’s meteoric rise in the sales charts has also got to do with its strategic partnership with Bajaj Auto. Bajaj owns around 48 per cent in KTM, and that alliance has also opened new opportunities to use Bajaj Auto’s manufacturing capability and workforce to make small capacity KTM bikes in India, the world’s largest motorcycle market by volume. As things stand today, Bajaj is already working on its own range of electric vehicles under the Urbanite brand, which will include electric scooters for the future. KTM’s future will well depend on how this is leveraged to jointly design and develop future generation of electric motorcycles with the KTM badge.