Let’s All Tell Indian Motorcycle What to Do
Iconic name has grown considerably under Polaris’ guidance, but is it doing enough?
Not too long ago we here at RideApart got it into our heads that it would be a clever idea to sit down and tell Harley-Davidson how to run its business. Because, you know, guys on the internet know everything. We even have a Twitter account, which is apparently the only requirement to being president.
Shortly after publishing the article, we received a very gracious note from the boys and girls in Milwaukee, thanking us for our guidance and wisdom, and promising to do all the things suggested both by ourselves and RideApart’s always-polite readers (NOTE: Some or all of this statement may be a lie). And this got us to thinking: we should share the love. It shouldn’t be just Harley that benefits from our genius, but any number of manufacturers.
So, why not turn a constructive eye to the brand seeking to become Harley’s biggest rival: Indian Motorcycle?
Revived in 2013 by Minnesota-based Polaris Industries, the brand has seen growth in almost every quarter since. True, Polaris doesn’t release specifics, so it’s difficult to fully gauge Indian’s success against Harley’s more detailed numbers, but growth is growth; more is more regardless of whether it’s one more or 1,000 more and the execs seem happy with Indian’s direction. In a recent Q2 earnings report, Indian was the only bright spot in an otherwise underperforming division that includes the Polaris Slingshot and the remnants of Victory Motorcycles. Meanwhile, Indian has gone all-in with its efforts to compete against Harley in the flat track arena, dominating this year’s American Flat Track series thanks to its race-focused Scout FTR750 and the shrewd recruiting of a pack of all-star riders for its so-called Wrecking Crew.
Along the way, the Indian Motorcycle model lineup has expanded to include up to 17 models, depending on your definition of what a model is (I’d argue there are at least five different models). Either way, a lot of money and time has been sunk into the brand. But has it been a wise investment? And what should Indian do as it looks toward the future? What would the brand be doing if you were…