KTM boss claims COVID-19 has helped new motorcycle sales

The CEO of the KTM group has claimed that the global COVID-19 pandemic has actually increased sales

KTM 250 SX MY 2019

THE global COVID-19 pandemic has had a wide-reaching and damaging effect on pretty much every global industry. Face masks, bog roll and pharmaceuticals aside, if it’s manufactured for sale to the public, pretty much every area of commerce has been hit hard.

Indeed, motorcycle sales have also been hit hard, despite the glorious beginning of the summer that we encountered. Dealerships closed, test rides couldn’t happen, and manufacturers turned to home delivery to try and churn out some vital sales.

There are now signs that the downturn of sales is about to change, dealerships are beginning to open and the public in some parts of the UK can now ride for pleasure and recreation.

There is one manufacturer though that is claiming the downturn has made things better than ever, KTM. In an interview with Alan Cathcart for Le Repaire des Motards, KTM’s CEO, Stefan Pierer, claims the company may see more sales than expected as a result of the virus.

In the interview, he explains how instead of laying off or furloughing staff, KTM actually took on new 40 new members of staff.

He said, “We are now in a very favorable situation compared to other industries such as the automobile or aviation, where it is a nightmare. Fortunately for us, the powered two-wheeler industry is thriving to some extent after the COVID.”

KTM boss claims spotting pandemic helped him make quick decisions

Pierer credits the success of KTM on being able to spot the pandemic as an incoming threat early on, acting accordingly.

“It [COVID-19] was not unexpected! As an international company, we have connections all over the world and we saw very early on that there was a problem from China because it prevented our customers from buying our products in the Asian markets. When it started to cause problems with our Italian supply chain for the parts of the motorcycles we build here in Mattighofen, I had already planned to stop production in mid-March.”

He goes onto fly the flag of the motorcycle as the perfect post-COVID-19 self-isolation device, something UK motorcycle groups and the motorcycle media as a whole can fully get behind.

“By spending less than 10,000 euros, you can get away from the Coronavirus at any time, you can do it alone without worrying about social distance, you can leave the risks linked to urban density and visit the countryside, always with the best protection wearing your helmet; This is the main reason why we are facing huge demand for our off-road models in the USA.”

And it’s not just KTM that are seeing a spike in bike sales for off-road machines. We spoke to one Kawasaki representative who said that while riders were unable to ride on road, many have invested in off-road machines, to ride on their own, or private land. They advised that some dealers, who would sell around 20 off-road machines per month, had shifted nearly 200 units in a month, such was the demand.

At the start of this year, many were predicting the demise of motorcycling and a slow climb back to the top. If the news from KTM and Kawasaki is anything to go by, it might be a very different story.