Indian Motorcycle Future. What’s Next?

The announcement of Polaris Industries buying Indian Motorcycle Limited from the UK based Stellican private equity firm was quite a surprise to many. But the fact that Indian Motorcycle would go for sale was not unexpected by most industry insiders. Not because they thought that the Kings Mountain company was in financial trouble but simply because Stellican specializes in the purchase, turnaround and re-launch of iconic brand companies which have gone bankrupt (like Chris-Craft and Italian Riva boats) with the intention of reselling them as soon as they are back on their feet.

For sure Stellican could not anticipate how deep and long our US recession would be, and it may have pushed Chairman Stephen Julius to loose patience and decide to resell Indian Motorcycle sooner and for a lower price than initially expected (since Polaris Industries is a public company, transaction amount and terms will be disclosed later in its financial reports.) Indian’s plant is ceasing operations with about 25 employees and was opened only 3 years ago. With sister company Chris-Craft installed next door (closed in 2009 after only 1 year of operation but still with a base in Tampa, Florida), nearly 800 jobs were expected and the Cleveland County paid more than $1 million toward the 2 plants purchase with the city promising reimbursement of property taxes for a decade. At least, even if slowed or stopped in its plans by the recession, Stephen Julius must be credited for putting back Indian motorcycles on the road and creating a small but very good network of dealerships (21 in North America)

Beyond Polaris Industries CEO Scott Wine’s expected statement – “We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand”  and “Indian will be an autonomous business unit” – very little details were given about Polaris business plan for Indian models. Since Tuesday’s announcement I learned that the North Carolina Indian’s Kings Mountain plant already stopped production and that it will take at least a couple of months to move machinery and re-establish the manufacturing at Polaris Industries 600-worker Spirit Lake factory (Iowa), where it already makes Victory cruiser and touring bikes. The Minneapolis company says it’s too early to determine how many jobs will be added at its northwest Iowa plant, where it introduced the Victory motorcycle 13 years ago. Marlys Knutson, spokeswoman for Polaris, said it’s also too early to say when Indian production will begin in Iowa. Victory dealers will have the choice of adding the Indian motorcycles to their lineup. For the rest, future of the 25 employees of Kings Mountain, status of existing Indian dealers and type of Indian models to be marketed, it looks like Polaris is still brain storming about a strategy.

After contacting some Indian and Victory collaborators (corporate and dealers), it seems that: 1- no Indian Motorcycle employee has yet received an offer to move to Iowa or if a few have received such an offer, it’s unknown by the others. They all have worked very hard at re-establishing the brand and I think they should all receive an offer to join Polaris. 2- after a couple of days of anxiety for some, all Indian dealers seems now convinced of an even brighter future becoming part of a larger company and expect a more diversified models line up at more affordable prices. Because they believed in the resurrection of Indian, they have invested an average of a couple of millions in an exclusive quite luxurious dealership. They see Victory dealers selling Indian motorcycles as a strong positive for clients because they will now have access to a wider number of shops and mechanics having expertise to work on Indian Motorcycles. Some just wonder how some territory conflicts between an Indian and Victory dealer are going to be handled by Polaris management. 3- there is a consensus among dealers that even in an economy not back to full strength, a lot of disposable income is still available for expensive bikes like the Indian Chief, although all wish at the same time a couple of lower priced models in the 18-22k range. The name “Scout” was pronounced  by all Indian dealers I talked to…In a few months it will be very interesting to observe Polaris marketing strategy and how it intends to position Indian versus Victory models.  (to follow)

64 Responses to “Indian Motorcycle Future. What’s Next?”

  1. 1 Brandon Apr 23rd, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Except if Polaris does stupid things I think that Indian has a bright future. Like you Cyril I hope that the Kings Mountain employees receive an offer from Polaris, but I guess moving to Iowa from NC is not necessarily appealing to many.

  2. 2 Hamilton Apr 23rd, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Really wonder about the price of the transaction. Did Stellican made or lost money? 600 bikes per year is quite low when you consider the investment made during 3 years..

  3. 3 kc cheef Apr 23rd, 2011 at 10:15 am

    How did you arrive at the 600 bikes per year figure.
    Estimate I’ve heard are more in the range of 750 TOTAL.
    I’m confused.
    Was Stellican Indian a private equity firm or was Novator involved financially?

  4. 4 Dave Blevins Apr 23rd, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I would think that Polaris will not produce an Indian motorcycle and acquired Indian to simply remove a competitor. With BigDog, American Iron Horse, Titan, and the other volume producers of the production-custom motorcycle out of the way, it now becomes a choice between Victory or Harley for an American V-twin cruiser.
    Sad too, I liked the idea of Indian being back on the road… oh well.

  5. 5 Cyril Huze Apr 23rd, 2011 at 10:47 am

    My sources state 700 Indians sold in 2010.

  6. 6 Bago61 Apr 23rd, 2011 at 11:24 am

    11 million (sales in 2010) divided by 700 bikes sold in 2010 is around $15.7K per bike. Either 700 bikes is way wrong or Indian dumped product overseas to boost sales numbers before the merger. Nobody in USA is saying they bought a new Indian for $15K That just did not happen.

    I think sales numbers are more like 450 for 2009 and 250 for 2010 and not much at all for 2011. Just a guess but 700 in 2010 just doesn’t make sense. I’m betting it’s 700 bikes sold by end of 2010 not 700 sold in 2010.

  7. 7 Jose Apr 23rd, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Bago61. Where did you take this number of 11 million? Are you the bookkeeper?

  8. 8 TimeWillTell Apr 23rd, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    If Polaris intends on building an Indian branded model it shouldn’t be expected for several years. Given their large corporate structure, they are not as nimble or willing to take risks like the small volume manufacturers who accept the calculated risks of quickly turning out a new model. Polaris will undoubtedly put whatever model they introduce through serious long term testing before introducing. For this reason, I find it hard to believe Indian dealers will be able to hang on long enough to see any new Indian model. I agree that Polaris purchasing Indian is a good thing long term. Good luck to those Indian dealers hoping to live long enough to benefit from this transaction.

    My personal opinion of Polaris’ styling of it’s Victory line is cheap and looks very metric. I hope Victory can learn something about the fit and finish of the current Indian models. Pair styling with Victorys track record for price and reliability and it might be a winning combination.

  9. 9 Bago61 Apr 23rd, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    @Jose – 11 Million for Indian sales in 2011 was mentioned a few days ago on the Polaris webcast on April 20th 9am. This was a web audio broadcast with a follow along slideshow that was open to the public but was geared towards Polaris investors. This 11 million figure is also all over the internet on various websites.

  10. 10 Just a thought Apr 23rd, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Sales from a manufacturer are not retail sales. Indian would release its sales numbers not those of its dealers.

    No matter the numbers, Polaris is not the size they are by being stupid. They must have done their due diligence. They know exactly what Indian was doing and they found value in the brand. Value that was not there in 2003 when the last guys crashed and burned.

    Looks like Stelican saved another brand. Wonder who they will bring back next?

  11. 11 fluke Apr 23rd, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    “Looks like Stelican saved another brand. Wonder who they will bring back next?”

    If someone could wrestle the Brough Superior brand name from David Upham I reckon that would be the next ideal candidate. Perhaps just wishful thinking, but Triumph showed the way that there is big money in old brands. Triumph had 3 or 4 failed attempts at resurrection before one stuck, a bit like Indian really.

  12. 12 Cedar Hill Phil Apr 23rd, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    They should start building a new breed of American Sport Bike. A real Indian.

  13. 13 Brett Apr 23rd, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I will have to see it to believe it in that Polaris keeps making Indians. It is the same type of bike as the Victory bikes, so it makes no sense. It is basically a Victory bike with the Indian name.

    I believe this is once again the end & hopefully this time, they let it rest in peace. Not a single company who resurrected the brand has done any real good for it.

  14. 14 kc cheef Apr 23rd, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    My numbers would be closer to yours than Cyrils.
    With the codicil that it was 450 (tops) built in 2009) not sold. They are still trying to sell the last of the 09s.
    250 (tops) sounds about right for the number of 2010s. Still looks to be half that I count on the dealers floors.
    2011s are going to be the rare KM bikes.
    I’m seeing the Charlotte dealership with 17 of them claimed to be in stock. I see dealers inventory on other sites, and can only track down about a dozen more 2011s.
    700 Indians sold in 2010?
    I can’t see how that is possible.
    And when you say sold?
    Do you mean sold from factory to dealer?
    Or dealer to buyer/rider?

  15. 15 Seymour Apr 23rd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    To me, Victory might as well just change their name to Indian now, keep making the bikes they are making, and drop the whole mess that came from Kings Mountain. Just buy the name Indian and make bikes like you have been and like your going to. Skip that whole big fendered mess, nobody is asking for it anyway. The name Indian should be on a bike that can stand on its own and deserve the name.

  16. 16 Black Shadow Apr 23rd, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Cyril wrote: Indian’s plant is ceasing operations with about 25 employees and was opened only 3 years ago. With sister company Chris-Craft installed next door (closed in 2009 after only 1 year of operation but still with a base in Tampa, Florida), nearly 800 jobs were expected and the Cleveland County paid more than $1 million toward the 2 plants purchase with the city promising reimbursement of property taxes for a decade.

    It sounds like Clevkand County NC got the shaft.

  17. 17 1550tc Apr 23rd, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    unreal 700 bikes at what 20k each and a company stock goes up 28% and people tell you there is no money out there?? nuts how wall street works …..HYPE

  18. 18 Hondo Cat Apr 23rd, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I too fell that $30K plus for inferior bikes from Gilmore and Kings Mountain is in no way a sound business strategy. Also the current Victory line up is a bit too metric for me. Why in the world can they not use their technological expertise and produce a bike that performs and looks great as well? Sorry, Ness is not the answer. Cosmetic add-ons isn’t the core essence one hope for. The Victory CORE concept comes closer to the general idea.

  19. 19 Hondo Cat Apr 23rd, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    You know, I wonder if Polaris can ever break free of the metric image. I like their technology. However, the new High-Ball is an example of a half-hearted attempt. The totally incongruent headlight, the abbreviated front fender is not synchronized with the totally incongruent huge rear fender that’s way too high off the rear tire. Did they think they could simply throw in some RSD style ape hanger handlebars and wide white wall tires call it a fait accompli?

  20. 20 Sonnet53 Apr 23rd, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    To those above who feel that Victory’s are too “metric” … enjoy your HD’s. Personally I think that the Vic line is about style and function and my 07 KP turns many an HD owner’s head. That being said I want both HD and Victory to be profitable and to grow by trying to better one another. We need American bikes and American jobs. Polaris will have a line of Indian bikes out in approximately 2 years. It will follow the iconic brand’s styling cues and will represent a line-up of bikes for Polaris that will embrace the nostalgic age of bikes and the modern one. Hopefully HD comes up with something similar because their line-up is getting old same as their customer base. Their new “blackline” is just a night train or blacked out wide glide. The local dealer has declared it a dud and feels that if they can sell the two they have on the showroom then they will be lucky. Look for Polaris to get into the sport bike arena within the next two years…like Erik Buell Racing, perhaps.

  21. 21 Sad America Apr 24th, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Julius made a mistake and Stellican got out becuse Indian was a flop.
    End of story.

  22. 22 stu Apr 24th, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Sad America…. Julius was the flop…. my hope is Indian will do much better under Polaris… keep the styling provided by Gilroy and continue on producing quality less expensive machines….

  23. 23 Boomer Apr 24th, 2011 at 8:07 am

    What’s the back story on the current Indian engine? Is it any good? Is there good reason to believe Polaris will keep the same design? Polaris has a good reputation for building rock solid products so I don’t think they would risk a mediocre motor with their name on it; even if the Indian unit is autonomous.

    I too hope the current Indian employees get job offers. Maybe even consultant positions for some of them to see how they would fit in. There’s always a risk when melding two companies and their employees.

    Hondo Cat – If by metric image you mean forward-thinking design and technology; I have to agree. The fit and finish on Victory’s just keeps getting better and better. After 31 years and 8 Harley’s I switched to Victory. The new X bikes are the best in its class – bar none. Ride one; you’ll see.

  24. 24 Bago61 Apr 24th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    @ KC Chief – Bikes sold from factory to dealer not traditional dealer to end user. This is counted as a sale for Stellican. Dealers have to pay factory first to get bikes on their floor. Usually a 3rd party involved such as GE Capital.

    The last batch of 2009 chiefs floating around were 20-30 from a Texas dealership that was going to open and then did not – those bikes got spread through dealerships that were doing well. Some other dealers with poor sales had a few leftovers also. I gotta think a bunch of 2010 and 2011 are still sitting mostly on dealer floors and a few at the factory.

    Like Polaris, Indian export sales was doing well, Polaris USA sales of Victory bikes was actually down 4% in 2010. Tough economy still in USA. Oddly enough Harley top end $25-$40K CVO bikes are selling well. People with money will always have money.

  25. 25 Louis Louis Apr 24th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    The “new’ Indians were beautiful to look at. The leather finished was outstanding. A few problems. No signal light canceling, no gas gauge, ubearable/uncomfortable vibration after you passed the 60 MPH and…price!!

    You have lots of choices out there with proven long lasting quality bike…at half the price.
    I was looking to buy an Indian but….when I was ready to pull the trigger, I realized al the small problems that made a big problem. Even if i had swallow the hefty price, I couldn’t bear the out of control vibration for such an expensive bike.

    Hoping Victory get it all right including pricing. Just wishing them success.

  26. 26 Mr. Potts Apr 24th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Great reporting Cyril! I have’nt heard this info from any other source! Thanks

  27. 27 Greg Apr 24th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I think Seymour hit closest to what I’m thinking. Use Polaris’ ingenuity, money, drivetrain technology, and the safety of a product line beyond just motorcycles to resurrect the only name that can compete with H-D.

    This may work as a branding exercise. Make Victory a lower priced cruiser to take on the Dyna line and use the Indian name to take on the Softail and Touring lines.

  28. 28 Bago61 Apr 25th, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Louis Lous….. You gotta be kidding me. You driving a Goldwing or what?! I rode my KM bike to Sturgis and back no problem. Sure my butt was a little sore but nobody makes a custom seat yet for an Indian. I used a gel or air seat pad instead. I put hundreds of miles a day on the bike. Yes it vibrates a little as it’s a solid mount engine. I just rode 70-80mph yesterday for Easter to visit family. In reality it’s no worse than riding any other large cruiser style V-twin bike. High rpm over 4000 and yes, I will give you that it’s vibrates more than a rubber mounted engine. However with the 6 speed transmission your operating range is 2000 – 3500 rpm. Lots of tourque and pulls like a diesel truck. It feels like your driving a real motorcycle. If you want no noise or vibration, go buy a scooter or get back in your car.

  29. 29 Vrat Apr 25th, 2011 at 7:30 am


    I am not sure where you are getting your numbers from but the Victory arm of Polaris increased their sales 8% in the 4th qtr of 2010 with growth all 4 quarters. They are seeing similar growth 1st quarter of 2011.

  30. 30 MDK Apr 25th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Would be a mistake to change the design or engines but the price desperately needs to drop.

  31. 31 Englishman Apr 25th, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Fluke; Curious where you get the three or four failed attempts to resurrect Triumph.

    When they went out of business in 1983, John Bloor bought everything with intent to relaunch a modern version, in the meanwhile he licensed Harris to make the 750 Bonneville in Devon until the late 80’s and then the new watercooled triples were released and the company has been going pretty strong ever since.

    Had the original Indian survived, it seems unlikely they’d be making HD clones with big fenders.

  32. 32 Jason Apr 25th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Has planned parenthood actually gotten the axe yet? If not, I hope they step in. This entire thing is, was and always will be an abortion… An Indian is an Indian, not a reworked Harley using off the shelf parts to sell a name. It kind of reminds me of what American Motors was to the big three…an outlet to sell surplus parts that never made it to production at Ford GM & Chrysler’s cars. I hope it fails.

  33. 33 BigWave916 Apr 25th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    For those speculating on Indian motorrcycle sales: I know that an Indian supplier shipped 330 units to Indian in 2010, one per motorcycle. It’s not likely that Indian had enough additional inventory on hand (thats like leaving your money lying around) to build and sell 700 or even 450 as some have claimed.

    $11 million in sales? In rough numbers, if they get 25K (I have no idea what the dealer mark up is) on each bike and then sell $3 million in apparel and other branded merchandise, it’s plausible they only sold 330 in 2010. If they’re getting more than that per bike and selling less in apparel and other merchandise, the $11M number and 330 bikes still makes sense to me.

  34. 34 Rick Lossner Apr 25th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    @boomer Engine is fine… More vibration that an HD, but part of the fun… Lots of Torque… not a HP monster, but they’ve got a new Stage 1 avail to help with that ( then again, a base HD is not either)

    @louis .. you missed out.. hopefully you can get the scratch the $ together in the future to enjoy ..

  35. 35 Kenny Price Apr 25th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Indian should succeed now with new management. I know Polaris will do a much better job.

  36. 36 SJB Apr 25th, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I worked for an Indian wanna be dealer so let me shed some light on a few things.

    First of all, Indian started out with a crew that didn’t know the absolute first thing about running a motorcycle manufacturer. The motorcycles left the factory without even being started and without being ridden. 99% of the bikes we received wouldn’t even start when they rolled off the truck. The dealer’s mechanics would have to work on them in order to get them running.

    Any time of day without warning, a big white truck would pull in the parking lot of the dealer and unload 8 to 10 bikes without the dealers prior knowledge that they were coming. Making the same mistake Big Dog did, flooding their dealers with inventory. Right now this dealer has so many new Indians packed on his floor that he can hardly walk thru them and is struggling to pay the monthly interest payments to the finance company.

    When opening their stores the Indian dealers were required to spend an exuberant amount of money on the decoration of their stores and were required to spend a ridiculous amount of money on clothing and accessories. The dealer’s cost of the clothing and accessories were priced so high that their retail mark up made them so much that the average person could not afford them.

    The Indian motorcycles are just too expensive for what you get. They sure look nice but we all know from Big Dog that looking good is only half the battle. In this day and age it is just too difficult for people to get approved to pay a monthly fee of up to $800.00 for a motorcycle.

  37. 37 BraveChief. Apr 25th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    SJB. I doubt very much most of what you wrote. Went to the KM factory. Met a lot of people there. Several from Harley & Victory. Good team. I also saw bikes being started and tested. If KM Indian would have delivered 10 bikes any day to dealers without warning, Indian would have sold a ton of bikes. A lot of what you say is BS. Disgruntled employee? BTW KM Indian never did any marketing & advertising. A huge mistake when re-launching a brand.

  38. 38 Jason Apr 25th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Brave cheif…spot on here. As someone that has owned and operated a motorcycle shop since 2003 and managed a large volume Ford dealer prior to that you are correct. Big Dog definitely contributed to their demise but they at least tried to build an “aura” around their brand. Indian has failed on all fronts. I found out that Indian was being re-launched in Sturgis 2008 when they had a trailer there. They are trying to rely on a brand that has left dedicated consumers high and dry several times in the last 100+ years. Two of those times were during the chopper “gold rush” going on the last 10 years. There is an old saying that goes: “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”. I have no time to empathize with prospectors and capitalists with questionable ethics nor do I have any sympathy for people that bought their overpriced garbage wagons in volume to re-sell. I consider it a half-a$$ed buy-in at best and I blame the manufacturer for not propping their dealers and their brand up with adequate marketing. Good riddance! My guess is that Polaris bought Indian for its name and I expect them to launch a quality built motorcycle bearing the Scout name but powered with Victory engines and adorned with huge ugly body panels, leather and fringes. Barf!

  39. 39 Rick Lossner Apr 25th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    @bravechief .. well said.. I came close to getting a Gilroy 10 yrs ago several times… ( I thought they were expensive back then.. lol ) .. I had ZERO idea they were back in business until June 2009 at ROT ( Republic of Texas Bike Rally). I was one week from getting a new bike ( i was sitting on a Boss Hoss ), getting a feel for it, asking questions.. when.. I noticed a large red Indian trailer across the parking lot with a 1/2 doz beautiful Chiefs out front…… one sit in the saddle, fit like a glove, broke a nervous sweat when I saw the cost of the Vintage model……… and … done!

    Two years later … as you hint at … except for 2 or 3 magazine articles.. i’ve NEVER seen a single advertisement for them… to this day, 90% of the people that see my KM ’09 … think it’s a Gilroy since they though Indian was still out of business…

  40. 40 Geno Apr 25th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    These are very sad times when the Tuttles keep going and a great brand like Indian goes away, not that most of us didnt predict this money making only sham with Indian would’nt last, my God is was so obvious. If your heart isn’t into what you are doing you won’t succeed.-You can also credit the Tottles with part of this demise as they made a big joke out of the whole cycle scene, they helped to kill the mystique.
    Man just don’t watch that Tattles if you need crave some idiotic comedy go rent some 3 stooges movies

  41. 41 Bago61 Apr 25th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @SJB I’m with Brave Chief. Most of what you said is simply false. I have been to factory and many dealers before I purchased my KM bike. KM put about 20 miles on my bike before it got to dealer. Dealer did prep work and put another 20 miles on it. That was part of the hand assembled, hand tested reliability factor. Bike is right before it’s delivered to customer. I also know if my dealer did not order bikes from factory, there was no magic white truck that would show up and dump bikes onto their sales floor.

    The true part is the bikes and clothes are expensive. They were expensive back in the Gilroy days too. Were do you think the phrase if you can’t afford an Indian buy a Harley came from? Another truth is when you put the big engine, custom leather, and tons of chrome on a Harley you have one of their CVO line of bikes. Those bikes are the same price as an Indian $25-35K. And you know what, CVO bikes actually sell pretty well.

  42. 42 SJB Apr 25th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Bago61 & BraveChief: The bikes that were delivered to the dealers were indeed ordered by the dealers but were not on a schedule and Indian delivered them when the bikes were finished, without prior notice to the dealers. I know for fact that in the beginning the bikes were not tested before they left the factory to make sure they ran correctly. The dealers did all of the PDI work on the bikes before they were delivered to the customer. I’m sure as time went on, Indian realized that this was not a good idea and changed their procedures. I was there in the beginning and saw first hand many of the mistakes that the new Indian was making even though they had knowledgeable people in the business trying to guide them by telling them the correct ways to do things. They thought they could make it just simply withthe Indian name. I am most definitely not a disgruntled employee as I love motorcycles and left on my own accord.

  43. 43 Bago61 Apr 25th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for clarifying SJB. That story I totally believe.

    The very beginning was a little mixed up and I still believe they rushed the bike to market and did not do enough real world miles testing in various driving conditions, elevations, temperatures, etc. First clue was vibration in windshield mount and can’t see dash indicator lights in full sunlight. But after 3 model years, the bugs are well known and well taken care of by the factory, dealers, and owners. Transition into Polaris hands should be pretty sucessful. As I said before, Vicotry bikes had their lumps and bumps to get over when they first started too. The key to the sucess was take care of customer and the problems.

  44. 44 kc cheef Apr 26th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Have to disagree with you on the test miles put on by Indian Bago61.
    I have correspondance from Indian Kings Mountain General Manager stating that they put on over a hundred thousand test miles in all conditions.
    He told me they had video of a 2 up test ride where both rider and passenger have their hands flung up into the air at nearly 100 Miles an Hour.
    That’s some dang good test riding in itself.
    Have you ever seen the pics of the ride they took through the Dragon Tail?
    Camera man setting on the luggage rack backwards in tennis shoes and a half helmet in his shirt sleeves and jeans?
    Those were some test riding/picture taking boys for sure!!!

  45. 45 nubs66 Apr 26th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    “Triumph had 3 or 4 failed attempts at resurrection before one stuck, a bit like Indian really.”
    I don’t think it was three or four rather the union took over and carried on for a year or two and for a couple of years after that one guy had the rights to manufacture spare parts.

  46. 46 nubs66 Apr 26th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I think it was Norton that had 3 or 4 failed attempts and I suspect will endure another one soon if they can’t start turning out a Commando that A.) is much cheaper than presently offered, and B.) looks alot less like the ‘superbike styled’ abomination they are offering now and more like a classic Commando.

  47. 47 nubs66 Apr 26th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Polaris has an opportunity with the Indian brand to make it successful/profitable if it is smart enough to start offering a mid priced medium weight (900-1000cc) retro/classic standard model.

    Think an American Bonneville or Commando, vertical twin air cooled, classic lines. This type of bike style will be a big seller going forward.

  48. 48 Bago61 Apr 26th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    kc chief – one of my favorite pics – the video guy sitting backwards using the turn signal brackets as a foot rest filming on the dragon.

    The general manager at Indian is the guy that gave me my factory tour. Good dude but like everyone at the KM top, I learned that what they said, and what was reality often times ended up being two different stories. By the way, rumor has it when you have a complete profile on Linkedin, more than likely you are keeping your options open and/or looking for a job. Sucks to be them right now. Hope they land in good positions quickly.

  49. 49 Bruce Rogers Apr 26th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Bago61. In Linkedin, Chris Bernauer lists Cyril Huze as one of his connections. Just saying.

  50. 50 kc cheef Apr 26th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Chris B?
    Well I have my own opinion of him and the treatment I got from him while riding the 09.
    I do wish him well though–I don’t like seeing any one job hunting–especially now days.
    Bernauer had a tuff job at Indian.
    The owners were not motorcycle people–they were deck shoes and boat people.
    Different strokes for different folks.
    Still amuses me that Chris was willing to at least give lip service to every issue I reported on the 09.
    Right up to the fork lug popping off of it.
    He refused to discuss that PERIOD.
    No matter though–it is what it is, and I’d imagine Polaris is aware of it.

  51. 51 kc cheef Apr 26th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    @ Bago61.
    Copied from a previous post of yours.

    “The last batch of 2009 chiefs floating around were 20-30 from a Texas dealership that was going to open and then did not – those bikes got spread through dealerships that were doing well. Some other dealers with poor sales had a few leftovers also. I gotta think a bunch of 2010 and 2011 are still sitting mostly on dealer floors and a few at the factory.”

    I was under the impression that batch of 09s were from a Kansas dealership that had originally tried to open a dealership in TX, and backed out. Those bikes (around 20 or so were stored for about a year in a warehouse.)
    Then the dealership in TX was nearly taken by an existing Indian dealership in NoDak.
    Seems the NODAK dealership found out there was going to be about 2 years of right in front of the parking lot/close the freeway down construction and decided to back out.
    Then the bikes were sold off as “The Very Last of the Rennaisance” Model 2009 Chiefs for about 18 months–a few still for sale today.
    Cool looking store — at one time it had been a high end BBQ joint of I remember right–lot of rock and wood inside, and nice looking place.
    Friend of mine had planned to move down there and run the place when the deal fell through.

    As for the 2011s?
    Only place I see them listed much is in the Charolette dealership.
    He claims 17 on his Current Inventory page.
    No one else I see has more than one or two.
    Seems strange to me that the California Dealership (Fresno) list one 2011 in current inventory.
    Those 2011s were either selling like hotcakes, or no one was ordering or buying many of them.

  52. 52 kc cheef Apr 27th, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Maybe the rest of the 2011s are still being delivered>
    Cyril states there were 700 sold in 2010.
    Might be a big part of those 700 were 2011s and were sold, and not yet made or delivered.
    Be interesting to see if Polaris makes a public statement as to numbers, and financials.
    I read somewhere that Polaris did not plan to divulge anything about the purchase unless required to.
    And a question for you Bago61,
    I keep hearing about the foreign market being a good sales source for Indian.
    Europe has a few dealerships I think.
    Have any of the bikes gone to Asia?

  53. 53 Tom Apr 27th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Another failed attempt to bring back Indian. Good people losing their jobs and being duped by false, unsubstantiated, unresearched, uninformed promises. Julius is not a biker and knows little to nothing about bikes. Apparently his pockets are not as deep as he asserted or he would not be bailing so quickly leaving the King’s Mountain workers jobless, and the dealers who took considerable risks in limbo. There is a reason Indian failed many years ago. Harley builds an outstanding product at a fair price and there just does not seem to be a large enough niche for expensive heavy duty bikes out there to support two similar companies. Chris Craft failed for a good reason. Their boats are seriously overprices and just not worth it. The same is true for Indian. Buying the rights to a defunct brand does not mean the brand is back. Nostaligia aside, just as Jurassic Park fans dream about bringing back genetically engineered dinosaurs, even if someone succeeded, it would not be the same. It would not be the genuine article. Let the dead stay dead.
    Stephen Julius’ bikes are not Indians. Indians stopped being produced when the Indian Plant in Ma. closed it doors. Gilroys, and Julius’ bikes are not Indians.

  54. 54 Tom is dumb.. Apr 27th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Tom, harley sucks and you all look alike when you ride them. Shut up idiot. END OF STORY.

  55. 55 Bago61 Apr 27th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    KC Chief – scroll to bottom of dealer locator website on link below. Japan and South Korea are dealership locations in Asia aka far east.

  56. 56 kc cheef Apr 27th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Interesting Bago61.
    I took a quick look at the Indian Spain website.
    I don’t speak Spanish so I might have missed it.
    Looks to me like they have one Indian in stock.
    A 2003 Gilroy Vintage.
    I’m aware of a few of the other dealerships in Europe.
    Emailed a few of them and only Switzerland Indian seems to have any number of KM bikes that would mean anything more than a wannabe Indian dealership selling used.
    I need to figure out how many KMs went to Asia.

  57. 57 kc cheef Apr 27th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Arlen Ness Korea?
    Seems to kind of confuse my browser for a minute before it kicks over to the Korean Motorcycle site.

  58. 58 J Apr 28th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    No big mystery- although there are some mild updates, the current model is not substantially different from a 10 yr old Chief….. Since it’s not a serious riding bike, I’ll go on Ebay and buy an older one for $11K, park it in my garage, and show my neighbors how cool I am, for $20K less….

    Hopefully with some Polaris R&D money and expertise, the Chief can evolve into something I’ll gladly be willing to pay $32K for- otherwise, this is just a hot potato that will sink like a stone.

  59. 59 Bruce May 2nd, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I think it would be awesome to see this American Legend Ride come back big. They have a long way to go…but if the gas prices keep rising like they are…who knows, even 100 year olds might be buying motorcycles. Better to buy them made in America than anywhere else. Polaris has done a good job with Victory, I see no reason why they would not do even better with Indian.

  60. 60 DC May 2nd, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Even at first blush this seems like a phenomenal business move. And, at the end of the day, a corporation – by law and/or statute – has to make money. Polaris has top flight engineers guru’s who pump out exquisite machinery in all segment they sell. Polaris didn’t develop Victory, they created Victory to tab into a certain segement and to slowyly grow. Polaris didn’t purchase Indian to compete with HD either, they purchased Indian to grab 1-3 % of a certain segment of bikers. If Victory and Indian capture just 3-5% of the bike segment over the next couple of years – they are a HUGE success. They don’t need to compete with HD to be hugely profitable.

    Will Indian and Victory share parts? Absolutely f’n yes. The same way Ford / Lincoln, Toyota / Lexus, Guvt motors Tahoe / Escalade share parts. It’s simply ridiculous not to, and it’s extremely cost effective.

    Both bikes will be assembled at the same Polaris plant with the Polaris employees who assemble the Victory. Indian prices will automatically come down 20 % to maybe even 30 % just on the sheer volume that Polaris / Victory purchases parts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Indian re-wired with all Victory wiring harnesses. It’d be cost effective both on parts, easy of assembley, and in the service department. As well, they will probably lose the baker 6 speed, and implement Victory’s new 2011 fully re-manufactured bullet proof 6 speed tranny.

    Add in the sheer volume of tires, rims, brakes, hydro lines, etc, etc. ….and the price comes down immensely.

    Now throw in the all the Indian clothing….lol, Polaris will make their money back 10-fold just in this segment alone. Again, Polaris bought ‘em to make money…and they ain’t going to make much money on the Victory clothing line.

    The riders / engineers will probably ride the chit out of the remaining Indians all summer, placing 100k’s of miles on them to find out exactly what needs to be tweaked if anything. Probably make the engine rubber mounted as well. Probably roll out new models by August 2012…. spring of 2013 latest.

    Btw, to say the new Indian is not an Indian is nonsense. So a Boeing isn’t a Boeing because they made technology advances from the 30’s? So since the new Cadillac’s look different than the Caddie’s of the 50’s with newer technology than they’re no longer a Caddie? Since a ‘Jeep Wrangler’ looks different from a Willy’s it’s no longer a Jeep? Since the 2011 Mustang makes a 65 stang look like a toy, they’re no longer mustangs?

  61. 61 mcjitsu May 3rd, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Why would Victory (Polaris) buy a nearly identical competing market item, unless to bury the company to keep it out of the competition.

    There is no reason for Polaris to have two similar motorcycle companies. I am afraid our heritage motorcycle company, Indian, the Inventors of the modern production motorcycle in America is going bye the way again. Mismangagement, lack of vision and integrity with America’s Greatest Motorcycle prevails again.

    Hawaii – 1946 Indian Bonneville Chief – 88 CI stroker.

  62. 62 kc cheef May 4th, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Hey mcjitsu.
    Are you saying you own a ’46 Bonneville Chief stroker?
    Like to see some pics of that.
    I’m thinking Polaris WILL bring Indian back.
    I’m just hoping they lose the ICONIC elitist thing and make it a ride for everyone.

  63. 63 Rick May 6th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I have only two concerns,
    The first is for the King Mountain worker, I hope they will be offered a position at the new plant.
    The second is styling. I have long been a fan of Victory engineering, but not their Styling.
    To me, the Victory touring bikes look more at home in a comic book. Bring the engineers over to Indian, they can refine the Chief and bring manufacturing costs down, but keep the comic book styling on the Victory side of the building.

  64. 64 Bert Jul 19th, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I was one of the two Councilmen that asked Stellican to base the “new” Indian company in our town (Loudonville). After consideration we were one of two towns in Ohio that were on Stellican’s list of possibilites for a factory and headquarters. At the time I was very disappointed that we did not get the Indian plant when they made the announcement that Kings Mountain, NC would be the new home to Indian. Now, I’m thinking it was a blessing in disguise. You know what they say about unanswered prayers. I hope Polaris offers the Kings Mountain employees who worked so hard to get Indian off the ground, a job and relocation. It’s the least a “Good” company can do.

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Cyril Huze