On January 9th, 2017, Polaris Industries Inc. announced that they will begin to wind down their Victory Motorcycle brand and similar operations immediately. It’s a blow for the Victory fans out there, and for anyone advocating for an American motorcycle manufacturer to compete with Harley-Davidson, and keep The Motor Company on its toes.
Victory, known for large V-Twin touring bikes, has been a competitor of H-D for the past two decades and was developed by powersports giant Polaris for that purpose. Victory initially did very well for Polaris, but sales have been falling over the past few years, in part due to the rise of Polaris’-owned Indian Motorcycles, a revamped version of the iconic American marque that Polaris launched in 2013.
Polaris will continue to facilitate Victory dealers in liquidating the current inventories, as well as supplying parts for the next 10 years. Polaris will also continue to provide services and warranty coverage to existing dealers and owners. The announcement to wind down the Victory Motorcycle brand will not affect the other Polaris’ business brands.
The decision to wind down the Victory Motorcycle Brand was influenced by various circumstances: Victory has had a hard time meeting the market share it needed to operate profitably. The demanding and competitive market that Victory Motorcycle competes in continues to increase, and Victory would need a large amount of investment to start a new global platform that can satisfy the latest changes in the consumer preferences. Indian Motorcycles have been performing extremely well and growing with promising potential, which assisted in the decision of narrowing down Polaris’ focus, energy, and most importantly, investment.
Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine shared his thoughts regarding the decision, he said, “This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors. Over the past 18 years, we have invested not only resources, but our hearts and souls, into forging the Victory Motorcycles brand, and we are exceptionally proud of what our team has accomplished. Since inception, our teams have designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that have been honored with 25 of the industry’s top awards. The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we’ve built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.”
The decision will significantly reduce the operation cost of Polaris Industries, while maintaining full support and future growth. The company will continue to push the Indian Motorcycle production with much more focus. “This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,” said Scott Wine. “Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimize and align our resources behind both our premium, high performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand, enhancing our focus on accelerating the success of those brands. Ultimately this decision will propel the industry-leading product innovation that is core to our strategy while fostering long-term growth and increased shareholder value.”
As of right now, it is still unclear what will happen to the Victory Motorcycle employees and how they will be affected. Jamie Kurkowski, assistant sales manager of Miles Outland Watkins, the biggest Polaris dealer in the United States, shared his thoughts. “We had years where we sold 150 Victories a year,” Kurkowski said. “Lately it was about 75 and 100 Victories a year. But what are you going to do? It sounds to me that it was a profit margin problem.”
RIP Victory. It was nice knowing you.