When it comes to off-road power sports, the name Polaris is synonymous with fun. As the owner of the United States’ first domestic-based snowmobile company and an outright leader in off-road goodies, Polaris is now setting its sights on taking over the paved routes of this great land.
In 1953, the popular Indian motorcycle brand went belly up in a bankruptcy largely brought on by the popularity of the famed Harley Davidson. Then, 58 years later in 2011, off-road giant Polaris scooped up the remnants of the Indian brand with a promise to take over the American motorcycle industry. For hardcore Harley fans, this idea may seem far-fetched, but industry analysts raise a good point: Polaris knows what they’re doing, and there’s no doubt that if anyone has a chance to resurrect the Indian, it’s them.
Based in Medina, Minnesota, Polaris boasted some brave predictions in October of 2012, releasing statements that they expected 2012 to be a record year, with profits up 20% from 2011 to an astonishing $3.2 billion. That’s right. I said billion. Furthermore, net income was projected to be up at least 35% from 2011’s 228 million. With shares trading at $82/share, Polaris is in no risk of falling off the motorsports map anytime soon – and with a proven track record of performance and leadership in the industry, they may just be the perfect people to take on an on-road project with their off-road prowess.
While Polaris is widely known in America for their off-road vehicles, such as the Ranger XP and RZR ATV’s, the brand has already made vast headway in the motorcycle market after bringing the Victory brand back to life in 1997. In the 15 years since Victory launched, the brand has become a leader in heavyweight motorcycles, selling nearly 13,000 units per year. While Harley sells nearly 230,000 motorcycles each year, Victory isn’t exactly a competitor.
However, Polaris hopes that one day Indian will again be a major player in the motorcycle market. The new Chief, set to launch in the Summer of 2013 will be the first release under the Polaris Indian market, and details about the bike are few and far between. Although, price point is reported to be between $8,000 and $24,000, in an effort to keep in line with Harley-Davidson price points.
As a fan of the old Indian cycles, I can’t wait to see what Polaris produces. While Harley Davidson’s are a nice thought; they’re entering the realm of over-played, and this just may be a great addition to the garage with that Polaris ATV. Don’t you think?