Citing poor market results, Polaris Industries has announced that it will terminate the Victory Motorcycles brand. The process of winding down all Victory-related operations will start immediately, as Polaris concentrates its efforts towards the development of Indian Motorcycles.
The announcement came as a surprise to most, as until just a few weeks ago Victory was displaying its 2017 line-up at motorcycle shows all over the world. According to the press release, Polaris will set the process of liquidating existing inventories across its dealer network in motion immediately. As far as current owners of Victory motorcycles are concerned, the company guarantees parts, service, and warranty coverage for the next 10 years.
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"This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors," said Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine. "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. Since inception, our teams have designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that have been honored with 25 of the industry's top awards. The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we've built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.
"This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry. Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimize and align our resources behind both our premium, high performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand, enhancing our focus on accelerating the success of those brands. Ultimately this decision will propel the industry-leading product innovation that is core to our strategy while fostering long-term growth and increased shareholder value."
Polaris doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to justifying its decision; after 18 years in existence Victory simply didn't manage to get a piece of the market pie big enough to sustain profitability. With sales in a steady decline since their 2012 peak, Polaris has effectively been losing money in Victory for three of the past five years (2011 to 2015).
Facing continuously escalating development costs for new models, the apparent choice for the parent company is to shift its focus to the Indian Motorcycles brand. Acquired by Polaris in 2011, Indian bears a name of great historical significance, and is recognizable all over the world. Enjoying strong market performance in recent years, it is understandably considered to be a brand with far bigger growth potential, and hopefully the one to take the fight straight to Harley-Davidson in the years to come.
Although shutting down Victory means that Polaris' motorcycle division will enjoy more resources for Indian and the Slingshot three-wheeler, it is still unclear what it entails for the future of electric motorcycles like the ex-Brammo Empulse TT.