“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” says Scott Wine, the CEO of Polaris Industries. After years of false starts and shattered dreams, it looks like Indian Motorcycle is really going to make it. The parent company of Victory Motorcycles just announced its purchase of America’s first motorcycle maker. So what kind of motorcycles is Indian going to make?
Polaris says, “Indian will operate as an autonomous business unit, building upon the potent combination of Polaris’ engineering acumen and innovative technology with Indian’s premium brand, iconic design and rich American heritage.”
We expect to see Victory slightly re-jigged so that the two brands will complement each other. That brand will keep making the performance cruisers and high-tech tourers it’s become known for while Indian will likely pursue a more retro future.
Indian made its first motorcycle in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1901 and continued to do so with some success until after WWII, when model development stagnated and quality declined, the company went bankrupt in 1953. Since then, revivals have been attempted more times than we have fingers and toes. Unlike most of those stories, this time isn’t a case of little investors with big dreams, it’s a large, successful powersports empire with an eye on expansion. Who knows, if Polaris actually gives Indian an R&D budget we might see something of an arms race in the American cruiser market, something which could even force Harley start making decent motorcycles. We’ll find out more and report back.