Polaris Industries is shutting down the Victory brand after 18 years and is putting all its motorcycle chips behind the Indian brand.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors," said Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine in a news release announcing the change. "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."
The news release stated that the company sees greater potential and strength with the Indian brand it acquired. "This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry," said Wine.
Polaris said the company will help dealers liquidate existing inventory and will provide parts support for 10 years.
Polaris has been hit by several blows lately. The company suffered expensive recalls for its RZR off-road vehicles (owners were told not to ride them because of fire hazard) and the on-road Slingshot. Sales of snowmobiles and ATVs have also been declining. While motorcycles have been a relative bright spot for the company, they still account for a small share of revenue.
Obviously, Polaris feels it has a better shot at hitting critical mass in the market with the Indian brand than with Victory.
I don't have to tell you what this means if you're one of those who have commented on our previous stories about how you're hoping Victory will be the American company that finally produces a high-performance sport standard or ADV bike. Indian is investing in flat-track racing, but other than that, it's hard to see how this will lead to any performance bikes. Instead, it looks like a retreat to the traditional position of big cruisers forever for the U.S. market.
Also, be sure to see Lemmy's take on the news.