KTM Receives Heated Welcome At Gas Gas Headquarters

Jean Turner | August 4, 2015

After having filed for bankruptcy in May of 2015, Gas Gas has been seeking new investors to help regain its footing, but despite their efforts, and even a small loan from the Spanish government, the brand now faces liquidation.

On July 30, a group from KTM and Pierer Industry reportedly visited the Gas Gas facility in Girona, Spain, where they were received by a rather unfriendly display. Gas Gas employees, who don’t wish to suffer the fate of the former Husqvarna plant in Varese, Italy, sent a loud and clear message to the Austrian visitors with a hanging effigy dressed in KTM attire and a pile of burning tires with a sign that read “KTM this is not your home.” (In English and German, just to make the point abundantly clear.) 

Here is a look at the scene as captured by Enduro Pro off-road magazine.

Rumors swirled early this year about KTM buying Gas Gas, but the Austrian camp previously denied any desire to do so in a statement denying any possible acquisition. In the statement issued by KTM on March 2, Hubert Trunkenpolz stated “KTM AG wish make it clear that there is no intention by the company to acquire Gas Gas brand. The KTM AG group is in a moment of complete dedication to its two brands, KTM and Husqvarna, … totally discarding the incorporation of new brands to the group.”

The recent visit by KTM AG, however, has Gas Gas employees believing otherwise, as the reported purpose of the meeting was to negotiate a possible purchase.

In response to the looming prospect, Gas Gas workers published a heated statement, on the “Salvemos A Gas Gas” website (translation: “Save Gas Gas”), punctuated by their defiant display in front of the building.

The statement read (translated into English): “The fact that the former CEO (which today, is not linked to this process) are present at Gas Gas, not knowing the plan he and the Austrian brand have for the company, has put all staff on notice. Looking back on the purchase history of KTM, other companies acquired have ended with the closure of its facilities. This is not the future we want for Gas Gas.

“With the message that ‘this is not your house,’ we want them to know we will not allow our facilities to close, and deteriorate what little we have left of our national industrial fabric. The national off-road industry will not remain idle while opportunists seek to profit and monopolize the European sector of the motorcycle using a maze of companies to take over the entire market.”

View the full statement.

Gas Gas workers (94 in total) remain hopeful in the effort of finding an investor who will purchase the brand and continue operations at the Spanish factory. In the meantime, the company has expressed its commitment to maintaining support for Gas Gas dealers and distributors worldwide.

Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.