Fresh headquarters near Montreal signals growth
In late August, KTM Canada threw a party fit for a grand opening. Dealers, local dignitaries, local media and KTM executives from all over the world joined the KTM Canada staff as they unveiled their brand new headquarters in Chambly, Quebec.
The event featured a DJ, hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, Canadian motorcycle racers and, of course, a ribbon cutting and tours of the new facility.
“It definitely shows our commitment to the Canadian market,” KTM North America president John Hinz said about the new headquarters. “What we’re doing here for our brands, for our dealers, for our customers and very specifically for our employees, it’s almost like a breath of fresh air, a renewed commitment to the Canadian market.”
The new headquarters was needed, as KTM’s popularity has grown since the KTM North America subsidiary took over the Canadian market in 2003. And Husqvarna was added to the lineup in 2013.
“When we took over, we were doing 300 units (in Canada) at that time,” Hinz explained. “We’ve grown 20 times since then, in terms of motorcycle sales. And so as our business is continuing to expand, we were looking obviously toward the future growth of both of our brands, KTM and Husqvarna. And we definitely have plans for development, for expansion, continued growth and success in the Canadian marketing and needed a facility that had that capability for our future growth and to represent our brands here in the local market.”
The new facility has an air of familiarity to it for anyone who has visited KTM’s U.S. headquarters in Murrieta, California. The Chambly building, just outside of Montreal, was built by KTM from the ground up. It includes a showroom, displaying the latest KTM gear and bikes; offices for the permanent KTM Canada staff, as well as desks for the sales managers to use when they’re in town; conference room space; a race team workroom; a prep room for media bikes; and a technician training center.
“This facility will allow us to provide an enhanced environment to train our dealers with a fully dedicated and equipped service school, so they are better equipped on their end to support the increasing number of end customers,” said Adrien De Alexandris, general manager of KTM Canada. “In addition, our new administrative offices allow us to further interact with our network and the end users.”
Randy McLeod, co-owner of Freedom Cycle in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and technician Kyle McLeod attended the grand opening and were impressed with the new facility.
“It’s very cutting edge in the way the facilities are presented, but maintaining the heritage,” Randy McLeod said. “I had trained in the old facility, and this facility is a big step forward, quite improved.”
KTM North American designed the new facility to better serve is current employees and to attract future talent to the company.
“We’re here for the long term, and we’re investing in the market, and it’s important to us that we have staff that are local, that understand some of the differences in the market. They can connect to our dealers and also to our customers and understand some of the cultural differences and market differences and adapt to that quickly, and that’s been part of the success of our brands is having that connection to the market,” Hinz said.
De Alexandris added, “It also sends a strong message to the Canadian team: KTM Canada cares and is stepping up to be an employer of choice to retain and attract top motorcycle enthusiastic employees.”
In addition to investing in KTM Canada’s new building, the company has also invested in Canadian racing to grow its brand. At the grand opening, KTM showcased its new racing rig used to support Canadian motocross racers Kaven Benoit and Cole Thompson. KTM Canada has its own amateur racing contingency program as well.
The Canadian arm has also gotten involved in events, such as the first-ever KTM Adventure Rally in Silver Star Mountain, British Columbia, which was held in February. Husqvarna Canada also sponsored a Ladies Ride & Social in Ontario in August.
With this increased participation in the Canadian market, KTM Canada has seen its sales grow. “It’s been great,” Hinz said. “Specifically, KTM’s continued to grow. We added Husqvarna in 2013. The reception to the Husqvarna brand from the Canadian market has been amazing, so with both brands we continue to see growth in Canada and plan on continue growing in the future.”
Randy McLeod said as a KTM and Husqvarna dealer, he’s happy with the progress he’s seen as of late. “I think it’s awesome,” he said. “To see this in Canada is very encouraging from a dealer standpoint.”
De Alexandris, who was named GM of KTM Canada in March, is excited for the future of KTM and Husqvarna in Canada.
“KTM Canada’s future is set for growth,” he said. “We have strong growth plan in the street motorcycle market with the future Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen, for instance, and the already established strong KTM street motorcycle lineup. We plan on strengthening our network to have the right partners deliver this growth together, and our parts, gear and accessory business will play a key role in driving and supporting that growth. Fourteen years after settling in Canada, this new facility demonstrates KTM’s further commitment to the Canadian market.”