In 2014 KTM celebrates 80 years of company history. Eight decades of ups and downs that shaped and changed the company as well as its logo.
In 1934 Hans Trunkenpolz opened a fitter´s shop located in the guest-house “Zum Schwarzen Adler” in the small Upper Austrian town Mattighofen, that principally dealt wit the maintenance of motorcycles and cars. Within two years, Trunkenpolz passed the craftman´s examination as machinist and for motor vehicle servicing. In the course of years, the company Trunkenpolz became one of the biggest repair workshops throughout the region. For legal reasons the company was retitled “Moser & Co.” from 1948 to 1953.
As of 1950, the number of repair orders constantly decreased and Trunkenpolz was forced to operate in the industrial spare part production. Since the chances in this industry seemed less promising, Trunkenpolz was constantly looking for new fields of activity. At that time, a commitment in motorcycle production seemed to be the most promising chance, as mobility was considerably limited after the Second World War and the demand for simple but resistant and keen motorcycles increased. When Trunkenpolz started to put his plan into action, he was still searching for a striking brand name.
KTM got punch – the first models of the KTM R100 were adorned with a tiger logo.
The first official KTM logo was created when the future associate Ernst Kronreif joined the company in 1954. At this time, there was no consistent coloring: the oval was printed partly in orange and blue.
No official logo, but another alternative that appeared as of 1958.
Erich Trunkenpolz inherited the company after his father’s death and established the new logo with an “updated” lettering. After winning the first World Championship title in 1974, Erwin Lechner, former racer and at that time sales manager, decided to change the logo again: the oval was stretched, the blue color became more bold and the lettering “Austria” was added.
In 1978 the logo was again slightly edited. The lettering “Austria” disappeared and the blue coloring became darker. There were two versions: the original with outline and another one without.
After the acquisition by the TAUS-Gruppe, the KTM logo experienced a bigger change. The oval disappeared and the slogan “Fun in Motion” was added.
Three years later, Stefan Pierer took over the company and initiated the company´s re-launch. Pierer maintained the logo of 1989, but adapted it to the company´s core business “motorcycles”.
Since 1996 KTM is orange. KISKA reduced the logo to the lettering.
In 1999, the logo did not only change in terms of color, it also changed its shapes: the rear edge was adjusted and the T-line extended to line up precisely with K and M.
Down to present day, the logo created in 2003 remains unchanged.
There is no clear explanation how the three letters KTM come up. There are two versions of how it all happened:
At motorsport events Hans Trunkenpolz met Ernst Kussin regulary. He was a racer and sales director of Austrian motorcycle manufacturer HMW (Halleiner Motorenwerke). Trunkenpolz involved Kussin in the development and production of the R100 model and Kussin introduced Trunkenpolz with the head of the engine manufacturer Rotax, at that time the only engine manufacturer apart from Puch in Austria. The company name arouse from the initials of Kussin, Trunkenpolz and Moser.
Contrary to that, the KTM family and company history indicates that the initials derive from “Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen”.
Since mid-1950s, when the associate Ernst Kronreif joined the company, the meaning of the initials is however clearly defined. Ever since then KTM stands for “Kronreif Trunkenpolz Mattighofen”.