INDIAN MOTORCYCLE AGAIN? WHY?
Originally posted by Buck Lovell on Friday, 04 November 2011 in Buck Lovell’s – American Biker Blog
HOW MANY TIMES CAN A COMPANY DIE?
This was headline news April 19th 2011:
Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today announced the acquisition of Indian Motorcycles. The business was acquired from Indian Motorcycle Limited (“IML”), a company advised by Stellican Limited and Novator Partners LLP, U.K. Private Equity firms. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”
MY TWO CENTS:
An announcement was made very recently by Polaris that it may take as long a two years to have an Indian motorcycle model for sale! I say so what! I’ve heard the Indian Motorcycle revival song and dance so many times, it’s credibility is moot. The drums are not loud enough for me, Indian is dead. The Indian name has been literally beaten to death by the various entrepreneurs attempt to revive the marquee and make a profit doing it. I have yet to be impressed with the efforts of any so far. The last few years of Indian motorcycle production was disappointing. Marketing was even worse. All the Indian motorcycle models were out outrageously priced, the company claiming that Indian motorcycles were” premium” motorcycles. That I suppose was to justify the excessive 30K plus starting price on most models. My first motorcycle was an Indian (a 1947 Chief with sidecar), and I was 100% loyal to the brand until maintenance time outreached riding time.
I predict Polaris will have no more success at marketing Indian motorcycles, than any of the previous 6-7 companies have had. If Polaris tries to use the same old tired “Indian is special” or “Indian Motorcycles are Premium Motorcycles” to justify excessive purchase prices they will be digging a new grave for the motorcycle brand that keeps sitting up and trying to walk. The very first thing Polaris should consider is a competitive retail price schedule. I would buy a “new” Indian if the price was even close to being competitive, but when I can purchase and brand spanking new Harley-Davidson Dyna-Glide for around $12,000.00, why would I pay double or even triple that for anything else? The basic Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide is to me the Zen bike of the world. It consists of a motor, transmission, wheels, tires brakes, and all the basics. No frills whatsoever. It’s a Zen two wheeler. Dyna Glide motorcycles have excellent canyon carving characteristics, and are equipped with a 96 cube motor which has enough beans for almost any rider. And that as a stone-stock motorcycle. Included with every purchase is participation in the history and tradition of Americas only surviving motorcycle brand. Victory motorcycles are priced competitively, why not do the same with the Indian brand?
Again…..a note to Polaris……how about manufacturing a motorcycle that at least tries to compete with Harley Davidson at a price point?
Indian folded up in the early 1950s because of bad management, and a refusal to recognize the then market trend in two wheelers. Oh sure, they produced 500 additional Chiefs for the New York Police Department in 1955, using existing stockpiled parts and components. But Indian was still producing flathead powered motorcycles more than 10 years after Harley-Davidson was producing and successfully selling OHV (overhead valve) powered motorcycles, and Indian was trying to charge a premium price even way back then. And even when on the verge of bankruptcy.
I have an Indian motorcycle tattoo on my right arm. I built an Indian (flathead powered) Chief that holds a land speed record, and I would love to purchase, own, and ride an Indian motorcycle again. So would thousands of other motorcycle riders in the United States. The market potential is there for the Indian motorcycle company, with many potential customers, but only if the product is priced to sell. Priced to sell….what an innovation!