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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the relaunch of Indian Motorcycles just around the corner, I thought it would interesting to get your thoughts on how you would differentiate Victory and Indian so that they compliment and not compete against each other. Understanding there will be some Victory dealers that will also be carrying Indian, one of the worst things that can happen is that the new buyer walks into a dealership and becomes confused between the two product lines and decides to do something safe such as purchasing a Harley, Yamaha, BMW, Honda or another competitive bike.

I think it's important to note that relaunching Indian is a very risky play for Polaris as other companies have tried and to date, none have been successful. While we know that Polaris has deeper pockets and good history of efficient production and has had its share of successes over the years, the territory they are about to enter could be considered dangerous and if both the marketing and the product introductions are not handled with precision, it could be a setback for both product lines. If they are successful in the relaunch of Indian and deliver products that capture the attention of those looking for a new heavyweight motorcycle, then it can be a game changer in the motorcycle world.

I'll start with my opinion and please note that I do not have any inside information:

I think it's easy to say that Indian will be marketed as a Heritage Line of motorcycles that will be targeted directly at the Harley-Davidson owner and potential purchaser. I also think it's safe to say that developing a full line will take a few years, so what they do with its first bike, The Indian Chief that Polaris has been teasing, will most likely be the most critical product launch in Polaris history. If they succeed, it's a game changer and if they fail out of the gate, it could be problematic. Simply stated it's my opinion that Polaris needs to get this right from the beginning.

If that above statement is correct, I can see Victory morphing into a more modern, futuristic lineup of motorcycles and, while it's been predicted for a few years, it could be the perfect time to introduce the next generation of Vision's to emphasize the future direction of Victory. This could also be Polaris's reasoning for removing the Kingpin from the Victory lineup.

So, what would you do if you were calling the shots at Polaris? How would you differentiate the two product lines so that each has its own target market and not be gaining new buyers for one line by stealing them from another Polaris product?
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, I think you use the auto industry as the model to use 2 lines to secure market share....which is what this all about. Using the Spirit Lake facility and one research and development team for 2 brands are obviously no-brainers on the cost side. Carrying 2 'parts bins' is really not a big deal, but unlike a lot of folk that think there will be no carry over from Indian to Victory (and vice versa) are absolutely fooling themselves. While you won't see re-painted bikes swapping fenders and seats, these 2 brands will most definitely have some identical components down the road as both brands develop.
Next, on the dealer front, we have all seen that the #1 problem with launching a new line is support form QUALITY dealers as there quite honestly are not enough good ones to go around....and neither Victory or Indian sell enough to warrant stand-alone locations. I do think that you might see Polaris requiring dual-branded dealers from setting up new bike lines in their physical stores to keep the competition to under control....IE: you don't want 'Robby, the motocross dude' trying to up-sell a buyer from a Star 1300 to a $26K Indian full dresser when there is an $18K Venture sitting 10' away. Now they have very little say in this right now, but I do think that will change as market share grows and Polaris can start demanding more in contract negotiations.
As for branding? Well, personally I think the 2 brands will blur lines more than people think. Bottom line, there can be room in the world for 2 styles of baggers, 2 styles of cafe racers, 2 styles of ape-hanger bar bikes.....etc. I think you will see more modern lines on the Vics, you can absolutely co-exist. Also, it's pretty easy to explain some level of price differentiation with paint/chrome/style/farkle to attend to all levels of buyers.
Advertising? This seems to be a big topic right now, but honestly Vic riders need to get over this issue! Quit being so sensitive! The girls down at Madison Ave will do and say WHATEVER they think will work to drive sales, so buckle up buttercup because there is more to come.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I really don't see a problem, Indian is a classic styled bike and Victory an modernized twist on the v-twin platform.
I wouldn't buy a Indian myself for the same reason I wouldn't buy a Ultraclassic over a Vision. If I by something new I want it to look new, not just a vin # that says it's new on a bike that looks 20+ years old.

Indian is going after that crowd, and there is alot of them.
Don't get me wrong the Indian is a gorguos bike, It's just not for me.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It will be interesting to see what happens. The Vision will probably be a safe bet for the Victory line. The cross bikes, who knows??? If you can get a Chief or a Cross Country for the same pricing range, sales numbers will probably be a deciding factor. Why bring out the Boardwalk instead of killing the Kingpin outright? Didn't make sense to kill a big fender cruiser and then turn around and build another big fender cruiser. And what about the highball, vegas, jackpot, judge, etc. Does Victory keep these production 'customs'? I would guess for the forseable future. But what if they come out with a modded Indian spirit or scout model?
And there is the question of dealerships. Would Polaris want to put the Indian line into a dealership who's bread and butter are foreign cruisers and sport bikes, who order a few Indians to be placed in the back with a couple of Vics they already have or are they going to demand an amount of floor space to be dedicated to the Victory and Indian brands exclusively.
In other words, who the heck knows, but it will be interesting to watch.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Being an Indian fan from youth I have to admit I am thrilled to have yet another comeback for the company. I think Polaris will follow Triumph's rebirth in the market.

I had a 1979 Triumph and dispite her quirks was on the sidelines watching the Triumph rebirth before investing. When I did buy I felt confident that the brand was back to stay.

I think the public will take the same path with Indian they will sell but slow because those without deep pockets will want to be sure the product and dealers are in it for the long haul.

Polaris is the best thing to happen to Indian having deep pockets and proven assembly .

The marketing has been slow and percise the word given that no DNA will swap between the two MC divisions must be kept or credibility will be lost.

I'm sure many Vic owners will be Indian owners because most wanted an American bike that was not HD.

Indian will be a third choice in that group but could very well surpass Victory with its built in herritage.

The hardest switch for current Victory owners will be the Vision Pilots we have great rides so to get our butts off of our Starships will not be an easy task for any MC company.

If Ma Vic builds a new and improved Vision it may never happen.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think it might be more like the Toyota/Lexus model with Vic being the standard brand and Indian being the premium brand. I don't think we'll see very many new stand alone Indian dealers as they simply won't have the models or inventory to make this cost justifiable for at least a few years. Look for 'store in a store' with the Indian's in the same facility, but somehow logically seperated and in a somewhat 'higher end' setting.
Obviously the first bike is the Chief honoring all of Indian's heritage, Scout is likey next continuing to honor their heritage and going after the Sporster crowd. Then it's going to get very interesting; I think we'll see some amazing bikes in the next 5 to 10 years from Indian. Glad I build a big garage!!
I do think Polaris has inherited some very unhappy customer with defective KM bikes including the ones that Polaris built and sold. I'd hate to see them damage the Indian brand further by repeating the early Victory Transmission fiasco. History has shown that its better to step up and fix things rather than trying to deny it (think Tylenol, Audi, Toyota,..). From folllowing the Indian boards, it sounds like they are hoping these bikes will go away, and I believe that's not going to end well. Most companies these days are run by the finance guys, and they simply do a cost/benefit analysis and go with the lower cost option. If I were in charge, I would step-up and do the right thing so they can launch without this hanging over their heads. They are likley legally protected, but sometimes you need to do the right think regardless of your 'legal' liability. Lets hope Polaris sees the light!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As long as Polaris/Indian keeps the classic lines, fit and finish and chrome, I honestly see no real conflict. Either you're a 'classic lines' guy, or you're not. Victory has made its own footprint in the motorcycle world with its forward thinking and styling. I've talked to plenty of guys who's only hesitation to owning a Vic is the 'modern' style.

The Indian engine has most of us drooling like toddlers, and if it's as good as we hope, that reliability and power and just plain penash is going to lure plenty to the Indian camp.

The heritage can't be bought for any price. My wife is already wrapped up in the history of the bike, the logos, the FRINGE and the tip of the hat to the wonderful American Indians. She's just waiting to 'go Indian' on me!

Competent dealers who REALLY know the bikes need to be there--- even if they are few and far between from the outset. So many Victory dealers really don't know the bikes. My knowledge since owning a Vic for 9 months has already surpassed that of the dealer -- thanks a lot to all you guys.

Hey, Victory! Look at us on the VOG when you're looking to staff these dealerships! We KNOW our bikes and love 'em. We could sell these all day long!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just my two cents: I dont really see Indian and Victory as competing much with each other. Even if Indian creates a Scout that is 'kingpinish' in design. The Indian has a strong heritage that is very different from Victory.

Marketing? They really need to push on getting the Indian name out there. I was talking to some buddys the other day (who are big car/truck guys but not really that into bikes) and not one of them knew that Indians were still around or that Polaris was making them again. Their consenses was that Indian disappeared like 30/40 years ago. Indian needs to have some really cool TV commercials running primetime.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I believe the single biggest factor that will determine the success or failure of this adventure is the dealer network. You can build the best bike in the world but if the dealer experience isn't there the product is doomed. Currently there is only one dealer in the world that is the model Polaris dreams they can achieve, Daytona Indian Victory. The only reason this dealer exists is because the owner was one of the original investors in the last Indian resurrection and does not require the dealership to run at a profit. It's not a business model that is likely to be repeated considering the back room dealings that got both brands under the same roof.

The model they need to follow for setting up new Indian dealers is the model used by BMW with the introduction of the Mini and Chrysler/Fiat with the reintroduction of Fiat to America, stand alone showrooms that are extensions of existing dealer networks. The sad part here is very few Victory dealers, or motorsports dealers in general have those kinds of deep pockets.

To be successful I believe they need at least 50 dealers off the bat with expansion to more than 100 by the time they introduce their second bike. Honestly, I don't how they will accomplish that goal without leveraging their Victory / Polaris network. While I believe it's impossible for a stand alone Victory or Indian dealership to succeed until sales volumes exceed 20000 bikes per year it's not impossible for a single line Polaris store to succeed. I would much rather see a Polaris/Victory/Indian store than a Hondayamakawazuki/Indian store.

Honestly, if I had a current Harley store and the land to expand I would consider a 'motorcycle mall' entity with 3 separate buildings sharing the same land. A Harley / Indian / Victory 'All American' Moto Mall would be great to see. The concept has worked well in the car world, I see no reason it couldn't work for motorcycles.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I guess if polaris do make a mistake, and fail with the release of Indian, like others before..At least Victory might have the choice of another variation, and utilize there time and effort with the new motor..maybe a Vicdian..lol.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2 said:
I can see Victory morphing into a more modern, futuristic lineup of motorcycles and, while it's been predicted for a few years, it could be the perfect time to introduce the next generation of Vision's to emphasize the future direction of Victory. This could also be Polaris's reasoning for removing the Kingpin from the Victory lineup.
I too agree with that statement. The new Vic logo speaks to that, it's clean, modern and simple. Also the Boardwalk, which I initially thought was a natural evolution of the Kingpin, is a retro 'new' looking bike. And as we know whats old is new again.
Victroy will likely loose a few riders to Indian but think they'll gain more by virtue of new found awareness and appreciation. Could be my hopefull optimism talking but I truly think Polaris has thought long and hard about all this and will be mature in their decisions.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Continuing the theme, if I were running Polaris, I would have firm plan in place to morph the entire on road division into Indian Motorcycles and I have to believe that was part of the thought process when they bought the brand.

Would you really not buy an Indian branded Cross Country simply because it didn't say Victory on the tank?
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Like others have said

Victory is the Modern Cruiser to take you through the 21st century.

Indian has the Classic styling with advance technology.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
2610 said:
To be successful I believe they need at least 50 dealers off the bat with expansion to more than 100 by the time they introduce their second bike. Honestly, I don't how they will accomplish that goal without leveraging their Victory / Polaris network.
Could Penske have something to do with achieving this? Menneto mention this along with a smaller Indian motor and a revamp of the Victory power plant.

Personally I would like to Victory to go in the direction of the bike in your picture and more technical advances rather then the direction they are going now with just a bunch of harley clones. Give me the Vision 800 and the core custom and there will be two more Vics in my garage. Give me the status quo and it looks like I will be looking at KTM, BMW and BRP for my future purchases.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First thing I would do with Indian is surprise some people. We already know that the Chief is going to be very retro/heritage cruiser styled. Ok cool. Take this platform and make a Softail, Road King, Street Glide, and Ultra Classic versions of the Chief. But then have some real fun. What would a modern sport bike look like if it was made 40-50 years ago? Everyone assumes the second Indian will be the Scout, so throw the mc world a curve ball. No Scout, but a new Indian 4 that's short wheel based and sport bike riding position. Now have the design department fit something of a more traditional bodywork to this bike. It won't look like anything else out there and I bet it makes a HUGE splash.
As for Victory I would free them up to go beyond air cooled v-twins. The Vision in particular could have a radiator and no one would know it.It's darn near a perfect bike already, but it should come stock with more rear wheel hp than a Goldwing or GTL. Cross Country, I would not fix what isn't broke. I see no reason why Victory can't have the XC and Indian have the Chief at the same time. Cruisers...simplify and improve. No more than three 'models' for the same platform. When Harley first intro'd the Vrod it had a 180 rear. They didn't change the name when it switched to a 240 rear. And when they gave it all new sheet metal, new seat, etc...it is still a Vrod. Victory can add sub models if they want. They can have a Vegas, Vegas Jackpot, Vegas Judge or Kingpin, Kingpin Boardwalk, or Kingpin Reaper...but they can not drop models and add new ones so willy nilly. That's the simplify. The improve part...look at the competition today and you'll find ABS, traction control, dual discs, inverted forks and so on. Have the regular Vegas or Kingpin have all those goodies, which gives you more to strip off for an 8-Ball. Lastly, I make a Victory surprise by moving Vic beyond the cruiser/tour market. I really think the Adventure bike market here and internationally is ripe for some Polaris off road intellectual property to make it into an on road vehicle, and it's a huge market.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
[attachment='15806:view']2013-06-30_100423.jpg[/attachment]
something like this for me please....
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I knew the owner of the local Indian franchise in my town and believe me, he spared no expense in setting up his dealership. Fisrt class building and inventory. Clothing and accessories. Very well advertised and attended open houses. Demo rides. Everyone loved the bikes, even some of my die hard HD, chain drive wallet toting, friends were seriously looking them. But, and it's a big but, the $38,000 'starting price' was way over the line. The general feeling in the store was like being in an exotic car showroom. Everyone was looking but you knew that only a very small percentage of those in attendance would actually be able to own one. Looking, wanting, and being able to buy are different things.
Polaris has seen the importance of making this new Indian an affordable option and I hope they continue to make it an 'every man's' ride.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Push the Indian Market without Losing Track of Victory as well .. This means Good Advertising and being at as many Rally's as possible for personal contact with the public . Even if it cuts into profits the First couple years .. Get them Selling before worrying about the Profit Margin .. Dealership Relation and Polaris Headquarters will be important as well .. Otherwise will end up like Cool Hand Luke .. 'What we have here is a Failure to Communicate' ..
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well I for one don't see a problem. Cars already do it. Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge, Lincoln - Mercury - Ford. They share the same 'heritage' and mostly are different 'Trim Levels'. Sure they share some parts here and there, but they really are different cars. One could say 'Why buy a Lincoln Navigator when you could have a Ford Expedition for less money?' The people who buy the Lincoln can afford and are willing to pay for what they get that is an 'Upgrade' over the Ford. Same with GMC Trucks over Chevy and. The Impala is a really nice car, but, it's not a Cadillac. I bet you dollars to donuts some of the inside parts are the exact same part.

So if I owned Polaris? I'd market them that way ... don't make them totally completely different, not cost effective. Why should they have totally different parts like wheel bearings, axles, etc. when nobody cares? Sure the STYLE would be different but the target audience would be different. But the two marques would be the same 'Family' and the 'Totally new Indian' would piggyback on Victory's reputation for making quality machines and reputable dealers. Car manufacturers know this. If you are a Die-Hard GM person who has owned and loved Chevys for years and your financial situation and status improves, you will look at a Caddy first.

In addition, aftermarket manufacturers would be more willing to make parts if instead of selling 500 accessories that only fit 1 particular model, they might sell 1,000 of the same thing if it fit more than 1 model.

One more thing: If I ran Polaris I would think about an 'entry level' bike the way Harley views the Sportster. There is no such thing as a $8,000 Victory. Sportsters enable many many riders who really really want a Harley to get one brand spanking new for not so much money. Once those riders are 'in the fold' when they are ready to upgrade, they buy another Harley. $13,000 is not really an entry level price. The other thing about the Sportster is the size. I am 5'-2' tall, and when I bought my Sporty I was not sure I could handle 700 lbs. of steel on 2 wheels. Now, with the years I've had under my belt, I can. I don't know what was the final straw that got me to buy a Victory, but believe me, I was not looking for one when I was ready to buy. I never even looked at any other brand than Harley, I was set on a Fat Bob. If the right bike had come along before I opened my eyes to the Judge, I would've bought it without thinking twice. I'm happy I did give it a chance, I love my Judge, but I'm just giving an example of Brand loyalty.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Polaris is becoming the new GMC (General Motorcycle Company), It hasn't hurt them (GMC) or the other auto manufacturers. You build it and someone will buy it. Kudos to Polaris for seeing the opportunity and since Victory is now it's own identity so make another bike, hey let's do the Indian. There are vechiles you will buy and some you can't afford, this is life and Polaris is giving those options to the consumer. HD services those that want the Harley experience and it's marketing proves it. They have their hand in stuff from baby and pet wear to scrapbooking items and kudos to them. Myself I ride what I can afford and want and if I have to wait then it will be appreciated more. Properly off topic but oh well.
Stay Safe All
Billy2looney
 
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