Polaris brand sees 25 percent growth from January-May
Victory Motorcycles is on a roll. Launched in 1998 by Polaris Industries, the Spirit Lake, Iowa, manufacturer of V-twin powered cruisers and touring bikes has established itself as the No. 2 heavyweight motorcycle brand, behind Harley-Davidson.
Victory has done an impressive job competing with Harley-Davidson in terms of engineering and styling, but it has stood in the long shadow of Harley’s 110 years of heritage. Polaris’ 2011 acquisition of Indian Motorcycle, the only American marque whose history and brand recognition can stand toe-to-toe with Harley, has lifted a burden from Victory’s shoulders, allowing it to go in new directions. Victory recently unveiled a bold new logo, along with a new model, the classically styled Boardwalk, to replace the Kingpin.
An aggressive approach to product releases and marketing has helped Victory achieve 25 percent North America retail growth during the first five months of 2012. Over the past year, Victory has seen 20 percent growth. Over the past 18 months, Victory has released five new models, partnered with “The Gunny,” R. Lee Ermey, for its “Ride One and You’ll Own One” campaign and offered demo rides around the country. And it’s teaming up with Indian at a new, larger display site during the 2012 Sturgis Rally. Powersports Business spoke with Steve Menneto, vice president of motorcycles for Polaris Industries, at the press launch for the Boardwalk in Santa Barbara, Calif.
PSB: Where does Victory expect to be in the marketplace by the end of the year?
SM: Victory is on the gas like no other motorcycle brand. Led by our new badge, new order process, new models and our new technical collection of apparel and accessories, we plan to grow our entire business around the globe.
PSB: Why should dealers be excited about the Boardwalk?
SM: The Boardwalk is exciting as it really helps round out our cruiser offerings. With its long floorboards, laidback seating position and wide beach bars, the Boardwalk is a perfect ride for your favorite cruise. The passenger seat and pegs can be quickly removed to turn it into a slick solo ride, or model-specific touring accessories can be added for a long weekend trip for two.
PSB: Is Victory growing its dealer base?
SM: We have a strong global distribution network with 500 dealers retailing Victory. We’re continually working to increase the quantity and quality of our dealership base, exploring additional markets to make sure our owners’ needs are met.
But as important as growth is, developing and improving dealer programs are just as important. We recently developed a flexible ordering program that eliminates the need for dealers to order a year’s worth of units in a single big order. Dealers can now place an order any time, eliminating much of the guesswork and the fear of over or under-ordering. This flexibility also allows dealers to stock the right product mix and quantity at all times for their markets, which ultimately satisfies the customer.
PSB: What are some of the technology innovations that dealers are going to be excited to see in the 2013 models?
SM: Victory Motorcycles continues to offer some of the best in standard technology features for cruisers, baggers and touring bikes, from frame construction, suspension, brake and drive components to our Freedom 106/6 V-twin.
We’re listening to our owners, and coming up with what we think is some of the best technological upgrades you can get, such as our Lock & Ride quick-release accessories. And our new apparel line, which uses top-quality materials, designs and protection wrapped up into Victory style, is as awesome as our bikes.
I think the dealers have a lot to look forward to from Victory these days, and wait ‘til they see what’s coming down the road.
I have a question, actually. Are Victory parts and accessories compatible with aftermarket OEM's that are purchased by Harley dealers?