In 1953, businessman Ernst Kronreif became a sizable shareholder Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen which was then renamed and registered as Kronreif and Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. KTM started serial production of R100 in 1954. With just 20 employees, motorcycles were built at the rate of three per day.
The company’s first title was secured shortly thereafter with the 1954 Austrian 125 national championship. KTM first made an appearance at the International Six Days Trials (Enduro) in 1956 where Egon Dornauer secured a gold medal. Racing continued to be a testing ground for production technology, but next in line was its first scooter, the Mirabell. It started providing a factory in 1964. As the company continued to expand, the workforce increased to 400 in 1971, and 40 years after it was founded, KTM was offering 42 different models
The year was 2012 when Bajaj Auto increased its stake in KTM from 14.5 per cent to 47 per cent, and it was also the year when the KTM Duke 200 was launched in the Indian market. Soon after, the development started to show its colours, and in 2008, KTM and Bajaj announced that they were going to develop two new 125cc, 200cc and 390cc mass-focussed motorcycles.
KTM also owns Husqvarna; their forthcoming Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen models are likely to be made in India at the Bajaj-KTM plant in Chakan, Pune. The news comes after Amit Nandi, the senior vice-president of Bajaj, hinted that a new range of 'made-in-India' Husqvarnas would be built at some point in 2017.
Bajaj plays an important role in this positive change for KTM. The mass-seller Duke/RC series is manufactured at Bajaj's facility in Chakan, and then exported to the world. Some of the markets which KTM-Bajaj exports the KTM Duke/RC to are: Europe, Australia, Nepal, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.