If there was ever any doubt about KTM’s status as the biggest motorcycle brand in Europe, the Austrian brand answered it emphatically in 2014 by selling a record 158,760 bikes for the year. Not only is that a record number for KTM, but it was also enough to hold of BMW Motorrad’s own record-setting sales year in 2014. Take that, BMW!

Ironically, Team Orange’s performance for the year was aided by Husqvarna’s own sales figures even if said contribution to KTM’s bottom line could be described as minimal at best. But hey, Husky likely gave KTM the sales it needed to keep its former parent company in line. KTM also got some boost in sales from its Indian operations, thanks in large part to minority partner Bajaj. The Indian market has proven to be a boon of good fortune for the Austrian brand, especially its small displacement bikes like the RC and Duke models, which incidentally are being manufactured in the country.

For the year, KTM’s sales growth increased by an impressive 28.2 percent with revenue also going up to 20.7 percent for the year at €864.6 million ($967.6 million). Likewise, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) are expected to reach as much as €75 million ($84.4 million). The company’s impressive sales numbers from 2014 could be attributed to a strong second half of the year, one that saw KTM overtake BMW’s sales numbers thanks to the aforementioned reasons above.

In fact, the two brands were neck-and-neck in the first half of the year in terms of sales with KTM’s 70,469 units trailing only BMW’s 70,978 units sold. But just like in 2013 and 2012, KTM relied on a late push to eclipse BMW’s numbers yet again.

If the company’s recent history is to be taken as a meaningful trend of things to come, then you can expect to continue pushing to become bigger and better than ever before.

That should bode well for the Austrian brand as it embarks on what could be a landmark 2015. At this point, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep these guys from breaking records so might as well cheer them on to bigger success moving forward.

Why it matters

The motorcycle industry is becoming more and more competitive as European bike makers are reporting record-setting sales numbers in 2014. First, it was Ducati. Then it was BMW Motorrad. Now, it’s KTM. Other companies like Piaggio and MV Agusta have yet to announce their numbers, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if both brands also report strong sales returns for the year.

Based on KTM’s numbers, though, it appears that it’s got the largest-selling European bike maker title locked up. Selling over 150,000 units is an incredible achievement. It’s more amazing that KTM basically overtook BMW in the latter stages of the year to retain its crown as the largest selling European bike brand.

That’s the kind of achievement you can’t just poo-poo and say "meh". Moving forward, Im expecting bigger things to come out of the Austrian brand. It’s not a stretch to say that it can break the 150,000 sold units threshold again. But KTM shouldn’t just stop there, either.

It’s got a world of momentum on its hands and it should roll that tide straight to 2015 to achieve even more sales success than it has ever had. Whether it can do it or not remains to be seen, although I wouldn’t put it past the company to actually achieve it.

That’s the cache you get when you’re selling motorcycles in record numbers.

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