KTM Sportmotorcycle AG is an Austrian motorcycle, bicycle and moped manufacturer. The company was founded in 1934 by engineer Hans Trunkenpolz in Mattighofen. It started out as a metal working shop and was named Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. In 1954 KTM began producing motorcycles.
KTM is most commonly known for its off road motorcycles though in recent years it has expanded into street motorcycle production.
The company was founded in 1934 by engineer Hans Trunkenpolz in Mattighofen. It started out as a metalworking shop and was named Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. In 1937, it started repairing and selling DKW motorcycles, and Opel the following year.
After the Second World War, Trunkenpolz started thinking about producing its own motorcycles, a first prototype was finished in 1953.
Serial production started in 1954, almost all of the components being produced in house, with the notable exception of engines, made most often by company Rotax. With just 20 employees, motorcycles were built at the rate of three per day.
In 1955, a businessman Ernst Kronreif became shareholder of the company, on acquiring a sizable portion of the company. It was then renamed Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. KTM's first moped, called Mecky was launched in 1957, followed by Ponny I in 1960 and Ponny II in 1962, and the decade saw the beginning of the bicycle production.
Beside, KTM was also able to produced motorcycles for the racing industry. Kronreif died in 1960 and Trunkenpolz two years later, of a heart attack. Company name was changed back to Krafträder Trunkenpolz Mattighofen with his son Erich taking managing the company until his death (1989).
At that time, KTM had about 180 employee and a turnover that would represent €3,5 Millions. In 1978, US subsidiary KTM North America Inc. was founded in Lorain, Ohio. International business amounted then to 72% of the company turnover. In 1980, it was renamed KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau KG.