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Polaris winds down Victory brand

Polaris Industries Inc. announced it will immediately begin winding down its Victory Motorcycles brand and related operations. Polaris will assist dealers in liquidating existing inventories while continuing to supply parts for a period of 10 years, along with providing service and warranty coverage to Victory dealers and owners. Today’s announcement does not affect any other Polaris business units.

“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.”

Victory MY2017

Several factors influenced today’s announcement. Victory has struggled to establish the market share needed to succeed and be profitable. The competitive pressures of a challenging motorcycle market have increased the headwinds for the brand. Given the significant additional investments required for Victory to launch new global platforms that meet changing consumer preferences, and considering the strong performance and growth potential of Indian Motorcycle, the decision to more narrowly focus Polaris’ energy and investments became quite clear.

“This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,” said Scott Wine. “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 will reduce the appropriate operating cost based on this decision, while continuing to support the future growth of the ongoing motorcycle business. Polaris remains committed to maintaining its presence in the Spirit Lake, Iowa community with Indian Motorcycle production and in the Huntsville, Alabama community with its Slingshot production.

Any one-time costs associated with supporting Victory dealers in selling their remaining inventory, the disposal of factory inventory, tooling, and other physical assets, and the cancellation of various supplier arrangements will be recorded in the 2017 income statement in respective sales, gross profit and operation expense. These costs will be excluded from Polaris’ provided 2017 sales and earnings guidance on a non-GAAP basis.

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  1. You focus on your “new” brand and do nothing for the established brand that allowed you to be where you are to purchase your “new” brand and wonder why the first is not succeeding? Makes perfect business sense to no one ever. The Victory brand has an established loyal base and you forgot about them. Now you have written them off completely. For the most part I can almost guarantee that they will not cross over to Indian. The Victory owners wanted to be different and were proud of having the best performing American V-twin on the market. You have left them broken and hollow, do not expect them to return to your other lines. Great job at cutting your own throat…. the bleed out will be slow and laughed at by those with HD oil stains on their garage floors.

  2. I agree with Justin. Looks like an oil stain on my garage floor From my next bike. Back to Harley at least you know they are not going anywhere.

  3. Absolutely. Having owned a Kingpin and currently on a Vision, I’m very disappointed.
    I went from HD to Victory. I won’t be going back to HD, and Indian is just another version of the same old thing.
    Looks like I’ll be moving over to BMW.

  4. However, let’s not kid ourselves on the funding for either of these brands (Victory & Indian), including the Slingshot fad that is quickly waning. It seems to me Polaris is too concerned about the market optics of growth of adjacent acquisitions and underfunded what built the company (Sleds and ORVs) and simply turned a blind eye or two … i.e. quality times 20. Indian is Scott Wine’s legacy now … the Chief just pushed in all his chips. But, will it be enough to save his backside? The market is losing patience and so are us dealers.

  5. This is the last straw!! I have been with Polaris since 1978. Snowmobiles, ATV, Ranger, and multiple Victories. I am going to Arctic Cat and HD. Don’t seem to need my business.

  6. As an industry guy i absolutley hate to see any brand or any dealer for tha matter go away. That being said, this is a business not a charity and a very tough business at that. I’d like to consider why there are no “stand alone” Victory dealers. The fact is that the brand is not profitible enough to support the expenses. I know several dealers that carry Vic and they are bummed but at the end of the day they will refocus on their other OE brands and still have plenty of selection for their customer base. Many people were ready for a Vic closure announcement years ago, it didnt happen and we got enthrawled with the idea that it was going to be around forever… Look for Indian to broaden the model offering and continue its missin to offer an alternative to HD.

    We will miss you Vic, it was a really good run and you proved that it could be done. In a stronger economy with less governmental regulations and Snowflakes telling the rest of us what, where, and how we can ride, there may have been enough opportunity to keep the lights on.

  7. As a former Victory Dealer (’99-’07), my heart goes out to all the Victory dealers and customers who stuck with the brand for all these years. Their investment, hard work, time and dedication to Victory will never be truly appreciated by former or current executives at Polaris or, their Board of Directors.

    Polaris is a corporate behemoth that missed the mark in supporting, consulting and working with the Victory dealer network, its loyal customer base and potential buyers. I can’t recall if there was ever a time where they they acted upon any advice or input given to them.

    Instead, Polaris focused on stuffing units down dealers throats at their annual meetings in order to increase revenue numbers on their P&L, please shareholders and make bonuses – despite heavy inventory levels and lack of sales. I had many Victory dealer reps during my time with Victory, all of them agreed with the issues we were facing as dealers regarding sell through of inventory and building the Victory brand. However, all of them claimed they couldn’t do anything about it. They were just “doing their jobs” and “how many units can we put you down for next year”.

    Working with dealers, listening to customers and understanding the wants and needs of potential buyers facilitates product development, styling and improvement along with increased sales and brand loyalty. It’s Business 101.

    Polaris missed the mark with Victory. Let’s hope and pray they don’t have the same disconnect with Indian.

    I’m not holding my breath…

  8. I sold Victory motorcycles as well as owned a couple of them. I am so bitterly disappointed in this move you can count me out as a customer of any Polaris product.

  9. My heart goes out to Victory dealers and Victory customers, as well as those who specialize in customizing Victory.

    Obviously a lot of unhappy comments found here. Having managed a Victory store for a few years I’m surprised Victory hung in there as well as it did. Fabulous motorcycle in terms of quality it just never moved the needle in the marketplace. I think Indian is going to go well beyond anything Victory ever did but time will tell. Ultimately the market place rules. Victory truly built a better mouse trap but the market basically had little to no interest in it.

  10. After a horrid experience with the Harley Davidson service network, while owning a Buell, I have completely soured on H/D. Not only are they VASTLY over priced their support network, while vast, is sub-par and elitist. I ended my relation ship with my Buell and purchased a used Yamaha Venture Royale to “bridge the gap” to my next new motorcycle. Looks like, with Victory leaving the picture, I will be turning towards either another Yamaha or a BMW. What a shame… $25K and up is simply too much for a damn motorcycle. I don’t care what anyone says… And Indian falls into that price range too. There simply aren’t enough “rich” people to support 2 different American brands that have the bulk of their model range more costly than a mid-size car. Period…

  11. Ditto. Enjoying my 2017 Octane for now, but next bike will be a BMW. Don’t care for HD and not really into Indians either. Total misread of the market by Polaris.

  12. Shame on Polaris:
    Having a 25+ year involvement in this Industry it is sad to see Polaris abandon their Dealers and their Aftermarket Support Groups. We the after market believed and sunk a Hell of a lot of monies and time into (Victory Brand) from Polaris to be kicked to the side None of us will ever recoup are tooling cost But the biggest shame is the Consumers who bought into it and were Proud of owning a Victory to find out they were abandoned for sake of the Indian Brand which has not Proven itself as the Victory already have. Its all about the Greed of the Board and Trusties that a great Marketing Exec pitched that the Indian Brand will have a bigger following more money to be made. I will no longer Support Polaris Products your Heart is not into the Motorcycle community . Former Indian R&D employee. The second coming Gilroy Ca. Indian Motorcycle Company.

  13. Well Said Justin Lowe. I was very close to buying a victory after my Harley Davidson was written off last year. Ever since the Victory brand hit the market i have been a big fan. Powerful bikes, good looks, and quality and reliability in a cruiser segment that was un-heard of. Even as i sit and type this response i can’t believe what i just read. I fail to understand Victory did not think it was established in the Market nor how the Indian Brand could live on. I like the Indian bikes but, all spite aside, the people that bought victory will not be the ones buying Indian. Even now as i think of the bikes i pass on the street all summer long, Indian remains to either be the most un-noticed or unpopular.

    What seems even a bigger shame then winding the brand down is that they did not shop it out for sale. I guess sticking to dirt and snow is more profitable. Truly a shame.

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