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Polaris "gets it" when it comes to acquiring Indian Motorcycles



It's been a little over a week since Polaris announced its acquisition of Indian Motorcycles and owners of this iconic bike are still buzzing about it. In my informal survey of Indian enthusiast websites, the temperament was one of hot & cold. Well, mostly cold. Owners fear that their beloved company, albeit famous and iconic, would be swallowed up in corporate smoke, or worse yet, shuttered in boardroom dealings to stifle competition with Polaris' own Victory Motorcycles.  Owners' rants predicted an end to the brand as they knew it, and the birth of a "big box" bike from the new kids on the block. I chalk that up to people not really knowing Polaris.

 

Today, as if Polaris foresaw the panic, they set up a online survey for Indian owners to get their input on what makes an Indian an Indian.  The poll url has been distributed through online Indian communities (similar to our websites). Remarkably, post-survey comments from Indian owners have been upbeat and enthusiastic. While the results of the poll are confidential, just as past surveys by Victory, we can tell you that Polaris wants to confirm (and most likely already knows) the features (styling, engine & drivetrain design, etc) that owners identify as uniquely Indian and whether they are critical or generic to the brand. Basically, Polaris is checking its homework and wants to proceed in managing, producing, and expanding the Indian brand but without being construed with Victory.

 

In the months leading up to July 1998, Polaris didn't just decide,"Lets' enter the motorcycle market." The decision was based on several years of research and then several more on R&D. They identified a niche and used their formidable manufacturing & distribution chops to get it right. Since then, they've refined their developement and manufacturing knowledge to produce very high quality, icon-designed bikes and high owner satisfaction. When it comes to seeing an opportunity and 'reading' its customers, Polaris "gets it."

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Comment by Glen (Minjin) Wintle on May 10, 2011 at 4:13am
Thanks Jeff for the above report and also to Ross for his comments. I will be waiting in confidence that Victory will ensure the Indian will live on, so to speak.
Comment by Ross Thacker on April 29, 2011 at 9:38am
As with any change, there are unknowns and insecurity amongst those who bleed, in this case, Indian Motorcycle heritage.  Victory doesn't have the same image as HD and Indian, therefor the emotional concerns are valid.  As with any confidence building effort, the proof is in the pudding, not in the words.  As quality leaps, design style remains Indian, accessories and clothing remains available and remains Indian, then confidence and trust will grow.

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