With the upcoming introduction of two sport quads and the continued growth of its motorcycle sales, KTM North America is considering spinning off a separate division dedicated to the ATV market.
It would be a major investment for the Austrian-based company, which originally entered the North American motorcycle market in 1978.
“We’re experiencing growth in our street market,” KTM media relations manager Tom Moen said. “We’re about tapped with everything, so we’re talking about another parts department, warehouse, service center, training center, everything separate.”
KTM’s pair of sport quads, a 450 and a 525 that were developed as high-end racing models, are both nearing the end of their two-year development cycle and are slated to be released in beginning to mid-summer 2007 and 2008.
The ATVs will share the company’s philosophy and tag line of “Ready to Race” and will be aimed at the top of their respective markets. Moen said the company’s quads will be priced higher than their competition, but designed to be fully race-ready, needing no significant modifications to be competitive on the track.
“It’s going to redefine the class and we’ve done that in a lot of our other models where we’ve been quite a bit higher in price, but there was a benefit,” he said. ‘We proved that there was a benefit in the cost and the Japanese have followed suit on a lot of that.”
Development of the 450 and 525 quads took longer than expected, with an extra year added to the process to further refine the chassis. Pre-production should be ready this spring, with production models hitting the market approximately three months later.
KTM North America’s headquarters are located in Amherst, Ohio. Moen said if the ATV division is approved, the added facilities would likely go to Ohio, instead of California, where a portion of KTM’s American division is located.
“We’re expecting big things,” Moen said of the quad market. “We didn’t get into it so much because there’s a place to make some money. We got into it because there was an interest in building a better quad. KTM likes challenges.” psb
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business