Polaris Acquires Indian Motorcycle

04/19/2011 @ 3:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Polaris Industires has just announced its acquisition of the historic Indian Motorcycle company. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the deal sees one of the most historic names in American motorcycling finding a home with a major player in the motorcycle industry. The move is an interesting one for Polaris, as the company already owns cruiser and touring motorcycle manufacturer Victory Motorcycles.

According to the company press release, Indian will function as an autonomous business unit, but will likely gett help from Polaris’s engineering department, along with the obvious supply chain and purchasing power of the larger brand.

“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Polaris. Polaris will utilize its well-known strengths in engineering, manufacturing, and distribution to complete the mission we undertook upon re-launching the brand in 2006: harness the enormous potential of the Indian brand,” said Stephen Julius, Chairman of Indian. “Polaris is the most logical owner of Indian Motorcycle. Indian’s heritage brand will allow Polaris to aggressively compete across an expanded spectrum of the motorcycle market.”

The deal is a win for Julius, who is likely seeing a profitable exit from his endeavor to reboot the once defunct American brand. Since he bought Indian back in 2006, the company has been producing only a limited number of near-collector status motorcycles. The deal also seems like a win for Polaris, who adds another vector of attack to its assault on segment giant Harley-Davidson.

What will be interesting to watch is how Polaris will manage the two brands of Victory and Indian, and whether they substantially cannibalize sales from one another while under the same roof. We have a feeling Indian will play to its historic past and be the vintage side of the Polaris’s cruiser equation, while Victory will continue its more modern approach to the cruiser design.

Interesting stuff, and we’re sure Milwaukee will be watching this one closely, as the announcement comes well timed with Harley-Davidson’s Q1 earnings report.

Source: Polaris Industries