Rumor has it that Volkswagen is in talks with KTM about partnering up to produce VW brand motorcycles. For you car folks, KTM is an Austrian firm known for its race-ready dirt and street bikes - think Ducati but with less of the pretense and more of the color orange. As the rumor has it, this could even result in production of the crazy GX3 trike.
The rumors follow an interview with VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech in German magazine Stern in which he expressed regret for failing to buy Ducati during the '80s when it was troubled financially. He then went on to say, "I would still like a small, valuable motorcycle manufacturer, I myself drive a Ducati. 180 horses and more power per kilogram weight than a 1,001hp Bugatti."
KTM would be a good fit for VW. Not only are they based just across the border, but the two already collaborated on the X-Bow track car. It's this, combined with Piech's statement, which is most likely fueling these rumors.
In our opinion, it's unlikely that VW would consider its own range of bikes. Not only is it litigation adverse, but there's a limited market for motorcycles that pales in comparison to that for cars. Neither does KTM need the partnership, after a fresh injection of capital from Indian motorcycle maker Bajaj, they're on course to become Europe's largest bike manufacturer by 2020, when they aim to produce over 200,000 bikes annually.
It's also extremely unlikely that VW would revive the GX3, an expensive program that caused much controversy within the company before being killed off.
It's much more likely that if VW and KTM are talking it's about producing a lightweight, high-tech, ultra-high-mileage car, something like the 1-Liter Car concept. KTM would be able to offer expertise in both carbon fiber and small production runs, VW could offer money.
[via Auto Express]