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Demo rides a home run for Minnesota Indian dealer

Twin Cities dealership triples allotted sales

You could’ve sold tickets to get into this line.

The first worldwide dealership demo rides of the 2014 Indian Motorcycle lineup took place at Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities in the brand’s home state of Minnesota, and the local dealer partner certainly didn’t let down Indian’s new owners at Polaris, only miles away.

Arturo Welch, co-owner of the St. Paul-based dealership along with his mother, Kathy, offered four days of demo rides within days after the official launch, with each of the three new models available. The Chieftain ($22,999), Chief Vintage ($20,999) and Chief Classic ($18,999) all came away winners.

“We blew away their expectations,” Welch said. “They anticipated 50-80 a day, and we did over 500 demo rides, averaging over 120 each day.”

The rides, 17-20 minutes in duration, gave riders ample time to form an opinion about the bikes.

“Everybody came back with smiles on their face,” said Welch, who was proud to see members of the St. Paul Police Department come back with favorable reviews after their demo.

Welch wasn’t exactly crying himself. His store took pre-deposits on the bikes before they were released, and “We definitely had people buying during the demo rides,” he said. “The stock that I was going to get from Indian? I sold that three times over.”

Photo by John Galvin
Photo by John Galvin

The demo rides were just part of an ongoing run of events that created a weeklong buzz.

After beginning the demo rides on a Wednesday, Welch took a small group of riders on an exclusive visit to Polaris R&D facilities in Wyoming, Minn., the following day. On Friday, it was time for a trip — 89 riders strong — to the Spirit Lake, Iowa, Indian factory. An Indians-only ride to Stillwater, Minn., brought out another slew of riders the following day, and the dealership capped its memorable weekend with its annual Ride for Children’s School Supplies, which raised more than $25,000.

Photo by John Galvin
Photo by John Galvin

Welch certainly likes what he has experienced from the new addition to his product lineup, which also includes Triumph.

“The only way you can possibly dump an Indian Chieftain is if you did it on purpose. It’s the most stable bike you’ve ever ridden,” he said.



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