I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed a tour of KTM’s production facility in Austria. I was shown around the company’s HQ facilities in Mattighofen and engine plant in nearby Munderfing, met with chief designer Gerald Kiska at his studio near Salzburg, and had the chance to ride the 990 Super Duke and 950 Supermoto R through the surrounding Alpine mountain range. Here’s what I learned, saw and experienced:
KTM currently employs about 1,600 workers in Austria. The company’s HQ in Mattighofen includes business offices, R&D, production, quality management and a motorsports department. The company also operates an engine factory a few miles down the road, in Munderfing. Worldwide, KTM currently employs about 1,960 workers, up from 1,778 workers in the previous business year.
KTM’s on-premises R&D division, an area teaming with engineers and artists, works in concert with the OEM’s nearby design firm, Kiska Design. Gerald Kiska’s studio has been designing KTM product since 1991. The company works not only on vehicles, but also on ancillary product like PG&A, brochures and advertising.
The bike-building process begins at the Munderfing engine factory, which has doubled its capacity in recent years. Produced entirely in-house in a step-by-step procedure, each engine is hand-built and hand-inspected piece by piece before it’s fired up for testing of function, power output, torque and emissions. The engines are then loaded onto trucks and transported to the Mattighofen production facility.
KTM production is “just in time”. There are 23,000 parts needed to produce the model line. Parts not built in-house (like Brembo brakes, WP suspension parts and Excel rims) are delivered as needed, which minimizes warehousing costs and optimizes logistics. Approximately 800 shipments are received every month.
All “function-defining” parts – such as the engine, frame, swing arm, exhaust system and chassis components – are developed and manufactured in-house. The pre-assembled components then come together at four assembly lines capable of producing up to 450 motorcycles a day. KTM ended its business year Aug. 31 with sales of 92,385 units, up from 90,306 units sold during the previous business year.
After assembly, every new KTM undergoes a complete functional check-up on the test stand before being prepared for worldwide shipment. Approximately 92,400 motorcycles left the KTM factory in 2008.
The management board of KTM Power Sports AG includes, from left to right, Stefan Pierer, CEO, responsible for company strategy, product strategy, racing and quality management; Patrick Pruegger, responsible for finance, legal matters, insurance and personnel; Werner Wilhelm, responsible for development, purchasing and production of the automotive division; Harald Ploeckinger, responsible for development, purchasing and motorcycle production; and Hubert Trunkenpolz, responsible for marketing, advertising and sales.
See the 950 Supermoto R shown above? No kidding, I was guided in my excursion by a gentleman who rode it like this: