VICTORY AND INDIAN: GAME CHANGERS?
Dealernews: Where does Victory Motorcycles fit into the present-day market?
Baker: It doesn’t right now. Maybe in 100 years. Harley’s 100-plus year legacy is a big pile of gold (and they know it), and is the foundation of the V-Twin motorcycle industry worldwide.
Yaffe: I think [Victory] is doing OK. I respect their efforts to create a brand and some unique styling. When you see a Victory, you know it’s a Victory. I’ve expressed interest to the company regarding creating some audio upgrade kits for their touring models and perhaps some styling accessories, but as of today we have not started down that road.
Fairless: Victory is firmly seated in this market and they will continue to grow and gain market share. It gets easier to sell a Victory each year.
Kanter: I am excited by what Victory has been doing and think they have a solid future in the American V-Twin market, especially when you factor in their potential with the Indian brand.
Koshollek: Victory [is] growing in market share. They are now the fuzzy little entity in Harley-Davidson’s rearview mirror. You can see it’s there, you don’t know if it’s going to be a problem, but you should be nervous. Victory Motorcycles are good products. They are made in America, and with Indian Motorcycles going into production soon, I expect exceptional growth going forward.
Dealernews: Care to make any predictions about Indian?
Yaffe: You understand the definition of insanity, yes?
Flintrop: Although this looks to be the best chance for success that [Indian has] had, I don’t hold out much hope. It’s a Harley-dominated market, and although I love the idea of an American company making a comeback, Indian has been without an identity for so long that I don’t think that there is any momentum any longer.
Baker: Indian is the only other significant motorcycle company with a rich heritage, and Polaris knows it. That’s why they bought it. I hope their 2013 redesign does not ruin it, because the other redesign was primarily driven by the need to reduce costs.
Koshollek: I spoke to Arlen Ness at the Drag Specialties Lone Star Ride, and without giving away any confidential information I just want to say he was extremely excited about the new product that is soon to go into production. He told me it is all new and maintains the critical vintage Indian style that makes it a classic. If the retail price isn’t through the roof, I would expect sales to do very well. It’s my belief that only Harley-Davidson or Polaris could have resurrected Indian from the ashes of demise.
Rymer: It’s all new, from the ground up. Kind of refreshing to hear.
Fairless: I’m on the design team, and I love the direction it’s going.
Kanter: I am excited about the possibilities of a relaunched Indian brand. The brand still has a big following, and it can be positioned as a real alternative to a Harley, which I feel would have appeal to some. I see the potential for an up-market product, and not just the price.