Indian Motorcyles: First You Get the Jacket, Then the Bike

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The rebirth of the Indian Motorcycle brand is scheduled for mid-2008 when production of the resurrected bike is slated to begin, about a year later than originally planned.

In the meantime the company is planning a January launch a line of Indian-branded apparel and related products and has broken ground on a 10,000 sq. ft. dealership in Lowell, N.C., the first of 50 planned dealerships.

The company announced the production delay on its website, which also features an area where buyers can plunk down a $1,000 deposit to reserve a 2009 Indian Chief.

"Mid 2008 is when we plan to come back to market. Developing a bike is long and complex task and we will only come back to market when we feel we have a quality product," Indian chairman Stephen Julius told Dealernews. "This is more important than timing."

According to the company, the apparel and accessories line will be developed and distributed by Iconic American Brands, a new company set up for this purpose. Apparel industry veteran Steve Miska will oversee the clothing project. The apparel collection will consist of riding gear and sportswear and be sold through Indian Motorcycle dealers and select department and specialty stores.

The Shelby Star reports that Indian recently bought 3.78 acres of land in Lowell, N.C., on which it will build its first dealership.

"It's taken us three months to do here what would've taken us a lifetime where we live in Florida," company president Stephen Heese told the paper. "We want this to be a destination kind of place — a landmark with profound design."

Indian announced last year that it was setting up its world headquarters in Kings Mountain, N.C., where it bought a 40,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing plant sitting on 11 acres.

Indian's comeback began in 2004 when Stellican Limited, a UK-based private equity firm, announced that it was buying the defunct brand with plans to resurrect it. An earlier attempt to revive the oldest motorcycle brand in America failed when an Indian factory in Gilroy, Ca., went bankrupt.