Indian shipments spark record-setting quarter for Polaris

Publish Date: 
Apr 23, 2014
By Vince Guerrieri

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Polaris gained market share in motorcycles – led by increased shipments of its new Indian models – and continues to add to its Indian dealer network, executives said in a conference call announcing quarterly results Wednesday morning.

“We are modestly more optimistic about 2014 as we enter the second quarter,” said Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of the company, which saw a 19 percent sales increase year over year, to $888 million, in the quarter.

North American sales are up 7 percent for Polaris, highlighted by motorcycle sales in the Sun Belt. In all, motorcycle sales are up 52 percent year over year as Indians are shipped, said COO Bennett Morgan.

Victory sales declined in the first quarter for Polaris, but executives expect a boost based on the introduction of the Gunner, which made its debut at the Chicago International Motorcycle Show and will be priced at $12,999. Its unveiling was met with positive reactions from dealers and customers, Morgan said.

A total of 150 North American dealers have been signed for Indian, and 70 international. Of the 150 in North America, about half are currently retailing.

“The global power of the Indian brand has been even more powerful than we expected,” Morgan said.

North American dealer inventory for the company was up 13 percent year-over-year, with 3 percent in existing models, 3 percent in new dealers and 7 percent in new models and categories.

Snowmobile sales are up slightly, but Polaris had a slight loss of market share during the snowmobiling season. Morgan said preseason orders for 2015 are up thanks to the introduction of the new AXYS platform, which is advertised as being 38 pounds light with a 15 percent increase in power-to-weight ratio.

Executives said second quarter figures will likely be impacted by the company’s acquisition of Kolpin Outdoors, which was announced early in April. The company estimates the purchase will yield 20 percent growth in PG&A, thanks to new distribution networks and channels, Morgan said.

The company is planning to celebrate its 60th anniversary during its dealers meeting this summer.