As you all know, I just spent a full day at the new Indian Motorcycle factory. I will start posting tomorrow all what I learned about the company, the executive team, the business plan and the new models. On your behalf, I asked a lot of questions and will publish the answers. I came back with very positive thoughts about the way Chairman Stephen Julius and his team intend to re-launch this iconic brand. Before leaving the factory, I suggested to him to make a public statement in my Blog to explain why his company has been silent until now. Here it is.
“Indian Motorcycle was delighted to have Mr. Cyril Huze tour our facility today. Cyril thought it would be a good idea for me to address, in a general way, certain issues which many of you have raised. Since buying the company in July 2004, we have purposely kept a low profile and said little about our plan and our progress. The reason for this is that we felt it was more important to speak with the results of our labor rather than to generate a lot of media and consumer hype about work yet to be done. To that end, Indian Motorcycle has been very busy working to bring to market a high quality, engineered Indian Chief with a fuel injected 105 cid PowerPlus engine. For the last 24 months, our engineering staff of 23 dedicated professionals has been focused on engineering, testing and validation. The product is now in the final product testing and validation stage of delivery. We are committed to doing this work in a disciplined way to ensure that the bike we bring to market is worthy of the brand name which brought America its first production motorcycle. We will not launch until we have satisfied ourselves that we have achieved this objective. That is why we are able to offer a two year warranty on the 2009 Chief.
The official market launch date will be set as soon as testing is complete. The launch date will coincide with the opening of Indian’s first 11,500 square foot flagship retail store near Charlotte, NC. The store will retail not only motorcycles but also parts and accessories, apparel, gifts and collectibles. We will be inviting all Indian Motorcycle enthusiasts and fans to the launch. It will also be our way to thank you for your patience and support.
It is the intention of the company to create a dealer network not only in the USA, but internationally. Initially we are focusing on the top 50 markets in the USA. We are more interested in building low volumes of quality product than mass production. This is a long term venture, a marathon and not a sprint. We intend to grow the business slowly and, we hope, profitably, so that we can reinvest in continued design and development of new products.
In the next two weeks we will be publishing detailed specifications and photographs of the 2009 Indian Chief on our website. I encourage you to follow our progress on the Indian Motorcycle Website.
Although economic conditions are generally depressed in the power sports business, we are optimistic that our premium product will find a ready market. Some have asked why we expect to succeed where others have failed. We have done our homework carefully and we intend to grow the business slowly; we have a great team; we have a proven management track record in rebuilding heritage brands; and we have a beautiful, quality product. Every time I see our bike on the factory floor, I get emotional and I think many of you will be equally excited.
I hope you will understand that, given my workload, I will not be able to respond to individual questions which may result from this posting. However, feel free to direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org". Regards. Stephen Julius Chairman Indian Motorcycle Company, 116 Battleground Road, Kings Mountain, NC 28086.