Like many, 2020 has been challenging for KTM due to declining sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. The Austrian brand sold 212,713 units of motor vehicles in 2020, which is 9.3% less than in the dock 2019.
Pierer Mobility Market Share
But despite declining sales of orange motorcycles (not to mention a two-month hiatus), parent company Pierer Mobility’s market share has grown, driven largely by the group’s other two brands, Husqvarna and GasGas. Husqvarna sales rose from 45,650 units in 2019 to 49,046 units in 2020, and GasGas sold 8,648 motorcycles in its first year with Pierer Mobility. Not enough to cover KTM’s sales gap, but enough to sweeten the pill.
Pierer Mobility’s approach, where the same technique (with slight differences but fully compatible) is sold under three brands, is currently unique in the industry. However, such a marketing technique is quite traditional in the world of the automotive industry: large automakers unify production, creating platforms that are widely used under different brands. Thus, General Motors controls the brands Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group includes American brands Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, along with Italian Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati. There are also widely known cases of separation from the parent company of luxury brands – for example, Toyota and Lexus, or Honda and Acura.
In the motorcycle world, the situation is closest to the Piaggio Group, which manufactures products under the brands Aprilia, Vespa, Moto Guzzi, Derbi, Gilera, and, in fact, Piaggio. The scooters of the concern have many common components, and some differ only by the cladding, but motorcycles, especially Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, are equipped with completely different engines.
Pierer Mobility motorcycles under the Orange, White and Red brands (KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas respectively) are very similar to each other and are based on almost identical engines and frames. It is easy, but not entirely true, to assume that the models produced under different brands are identical, and differ only in color. In fact, Pierer Mobility took a really curious approach: they divided the three brands by target audiences, not only in advertising brochures, but also by equipment and characteristics.
KTM was and remains the main brand of the company, and it is in the products under this brand that the new developments of the Pierer Mobility design bureau are first of all embodied. The oldest of the three, the Husqvarna brand produces premium motorcycles, which in the case of road models have a special aesthetics that combine modern and retro nuances of design, while the off-road models of the White brand are aimed at semi-professional riders who do not need advanced technology and maximum performance. the manufacturer declares). As described by the Pierer Mobility themselves:
Every Husqvarna motorcycle comes with only the features you need, while remaining attractive, sophisticated and smart enough to appeal to the discerning rider.
GasGas, a less popular brand, is known mainly for trial and enduro motorcycles. Within the Pierer Mobility range, GasGas-branded models are positioned as entry-level motorcycles, combining affordability and riding pleasure. It’s funny that while the KTM and Husqvarna websites have a lot of boring technical details, the descriptions on the GasGas website are written in a simpler and more cheerful language.
Together, the three Pierer Mobility brands are poised to compete for the title of Europe’s largest motorcycle manufacturer against German rival BMW.
Differences in rulers
KTM has the broadest product portfolio of the trio, with a wide range of on-road and off-road models. Husqvarna offers quite a few off-road and a few on-road bikes, mainly on the Duke platform – the Vitpilen and Svartpilen naked, which are hypothetically to be joined soon by several touring vehicles starting with the Norden 901.
GasGas, however, was the first to offer cross models only as part of Pierer. At some point, the idea was considered to add a tourenduro and naked to the GasGas lineup, but at the moment this brand is positioned precisely as a new off-road vehicle. However, KTM gained control over it only in September 2019, and it is surprising that they even managed to release at least something under a new name, albeit based on common platforms with two other brands.
Speaking of off-road models, the KTM brand produces the widest range of cubes: the range includes four-stroke cross-country motorcycles of the Austrian brand with a volume of 450, 350, 250 cc, as well as two-stroke in the classes 250, 150, 125, 85, 65 and 50 cc. Husqvarna’s lineup is pretty much the same, minus the 150cc two-stroke model. And the GasGas crossover line is even smaller, lacking 250 and 150 cc two-strokes and a 350 cc four-stroke.
The same is the case with enduro and cross-country models: under the KTM brand, the most complete range is produced, and the Husqvarna and GasGas lines consist of a reduced set of cubes.
Differences in models
The models under the three brands are similar, but not identical: they have technical differences for different market positioning. Prices also differ: Husqvarna models are usually $ 100-200 more expensive than their counterparts under the KTM brand, and GasGas of the same KTM are 600 dollars cheaper. The SX-F and Husqvarna FC 450 cost $ 10199 and $ 10299 respectively (prices are taken from the US market, for example).
The engines are the same in all three variants, but the four-stroke GasGas models lack a resonance chamber in the exhaust, unlike the Husqvarna and KTM. The chrome-molybdenum steel frames are identical minus the orange, blue or red powder coating, but Husqvarna’s off-road models are equipped with carbon subframes that weigh 1.4kg. This lightening results in a different weight distribution than on the KTM and GasGas with aluminum subframes.
GasGas models are equipped with forged traverses, which are cheaper than those milled on Swedish and Austrian counterparts. In addition, GasGas models are not equipped with an engine map switch on the steering wheel as standard, but it is available as an option. Another way to make entry-level models cheaper is to equip them with cheaper tire options.
Most models from all three brands are equipped with Brembo brakes, with the exception of the Husqvarna enduros, which are equipped with Magura components. Magura supplies a hydraulic clutch for all Husqvarna off-road vehicles, and KTM and GasGas are equipped with Brembo.
Husqvarna has Renthal handlebars, while KTM and GasGas are equipped with Neken handlebars. Three more brands differ somewhat in the design of gas tanks: for example, the two-stroke 125 cc crossover model GasGas MC 125 is equipped with a 6.8-liter tank, the similar to the KTM 125 SX has a 7.5-liter tank, and the Husqvarna TC 125 has an 8-liter tank.
In general, the body kit is different in design, with the KTM it is the most aggressive. Husqvarna’s off-road models are equipped with a different airbox cover for improved aerodynamics.
All three brands are equipped with suspension components from WP, which is not surprising given that the company is also part of the Pierer Mobility group. The components themselves are identical, but have different settings for each specific model. Most KTM off-road models have a rear shock mounted directly to the swingarm, while Husqvarna and GasGas have a link suspension.
Of the three, KTM offers the widest range of on-road models. These are naked, and tourenduros, and sports tourists, and sport bikes of various cubatures. Moreover, the mid-caliber 790 Adventure and Duke have already been replaced by the 890 series, but you can find both on sale.
Husqvarna’s road line has shrunk this year, as Vitpilen and Svartpilen have not been updated to Euro 5 requirements. They will probably be replaced by the 901 series at some point, for example following the release of the Norden 901 touring vehicle.
GasGas is currently a purely off-road brand, and apparently Pierer Mobility plans to keep it that way. Shortly after its acquisition, Pierer prepared an investor presentation featuring naked and tour enduros under the GasGas brand, but the company soon abandoned the idea.
Nevertheless, the possibility of the appearance of road models from GasGas cannot be ruled out. GasGas recently joined the Aspar racing team for Moto3, and while the Spanish brand’s support for a Spanish racing team with a couple of Spanish riders shouldn’t come as a surprise, it could mean GasGas is hitting the pavement.