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Polaris Shutting Down Victory Motorcycle Brand

MD just received the following press release from Polaris Industries regarding its decision to “wind down” the Victory Motorcycles brand and related operations. To say that we are shocked would be a gross understatement.  Victory has undertaken high profile, and expensive, promotional activities just recently at Pikes Peak and other venues, so it appears that this decision has been quite recently reached by parent company Polaris.

Indeed, we have a Victory Octane in the garage for testing (you can see one of our photos above) currently. The entire press release follows, but we want to note that Polaris will be supporting dealers in its liquidation of inventory, as well as providing parts support for an additional ten years.

You might also be interested in a local Minnesota news report concerning this matter. Here is the full press release from Polaris Industries Inc.:

MINNEAPOLIS (January 9, 2017) — Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today 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.”

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, Ala., 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.

Polaris will release its fourth quarter and full-year 2016 financial results and provide 2017 guidance on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.


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162 Comments

  1. road. dog ( says:

    Yea further more,I went.to ocean city Maryland bike week I did not see one Indian. I did see a dozen or so victorys. They say Indian is#2 selling American cruiser. That’s because there are only 2.Harley and Indian.it’s not because there selling. I never see one on the road. If I spend 30g for same price I can get the real deal.a Harley with the New Milwaukee 8,117 cubic inch.

  2. road. dog ( says:

    Soon. As Polaris. Looses. Profits. It will bail on Indian.Indian will fail as have in the past. Who can trust Polaris after dumping victory,they. Could. Have kept. Baggers. For a while in their line up.and gave them a new look and more chrome. I have the cross roads classic. The only decent one they really made.there selling nothing more than the Indian name.it’s not or ever going to be the original.Luke Harley. Why pay 30 g.for an Indian when you can buy Harley #1.seriously you think you will ever see an Indian police bike.Harley already beat Indian with the Milwaukee 8.Indian will. Not survive. Victory owner a will dump Polaris Luke they did their vox customers and jump right on Harley. Not Indian.there fools

  3. BikerBredSL says:

    *NOT TO DERAIL FROM THE DEMISE OF VICTORY*

    But in lue of Victory closing its doors it made me scratch my head, what the heck is Buell doing to make THEIR comeback!

    Why doesn’t Buell actually bring back a bike that the general population gave two rats about and could really get them back on the map. Seriously, the Blast fundamentally changed the motorcycle industry for the better from the inside out.

    People cry, ‘boring beginner bike’, ‘under powered’, ‘ugly’, and blah blah blah. But I can bet within good reason that not one of these fair weather, couch riding, keyboard warrior has ever thrown a leg over one. I can assure you, you will be blown completely away.

    It’s time for the Blast to step in and fix what Victory did wrong with their niche market. Buell needs to release a resigned (But sticking to its roots) Blast and bring their brand back to life!

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      This is a joke, right?

    • todd says:

      I test rode a Blast. Terrible. I say it would compare to a Honda Nighthawk 250 but not as smooth or comfortable and also difficult to look at. There are better ways to design a Blast, maybe look at the Kawasaki and Suzuki 650s for inspiration – though I understand that’s what the 900cc Buells were up against.

      • mickey says:

        Just read that Buell is closing doors again and liquidating tooling and parts, mainly because he couldn’t line up a dealer network and that production and sales numbers were below expectations.

        The only Buell people seemed generally in love with was their ADV bike.. XB9 or something

        You can’t say the guy didn’t give it a shot.

  4. z1 says:

    Polaris announces they are dropping the dead weight of Victory…and their stock soars today. Must really make those Victory riders feel good.

  5. ThomBoz says:

    I wondered how Polaris came out with the new Indian motor so fast. Perhaps it was already in the works for Victory, but certainly with the flathead look a like styling its a much better fit in an a Chief. But I can’t see how Indian & Victory can exist together, and Indian has the better ‘marketing’ name. So will Indian have the Victory motor in its line up next year?

    • Bob says:

      In my opinion, the air cooled Victory V Twin was overdue for a major redesign. I’m sure the timing of that eminent redesign and Polaris’ decision to drop the brand rather than invest in an all new engine was not coincidental. So, other than the similarities between the Octane and Scout motor, no, you want be seeing the Polaris motor in Indians.

  6. Gary says:

    Well now, that’s a damn shame! I would have bought a Victory over an HD just about any day. I did like the styling, but wasn’t in the cruiser market, and don’t plan to be for a while yet. I will say they did try to compete with HD too much, just like some others with having v-twin cruisers, black out cruisers, and even a so called performance octane that still was just a glorified cruiser with not that much extra performance. I had hoped they would go a more different approach with their bikes (more non v-twins), and leave most of the cruisers to Indian. I hope Indian does not stay with the same old air cooled stuff like HD has done for so long. Classic only goes so far with me, I like modern up to date, and I don’t see that happening with Indian so much, except the Scout is a good shot in that direction. I was also encouraged with the Victory Empulse electric bike even though it was for the time being a mostly redone Brammo. RIP Victory, maybe make a run again in the future with something other than so many same old same old cruisers when the economy is finally better.

  7. Carl says:

    Agreed Polaris failed Victory, since they had Indian they could have gone in a whole different direction, they had the technology with the octane/pikes peak bike to prove it. They could have increased that engine to 1800cc water cooled and made their super comfortable tourers into something even better. Ya the styling wasn’t for everyone but then again if I wanted a harley clone I would have just bought a HD.

  8. Jim vincenti says:

    Hell this absolutely sucks big time. Can anyone remember Buell motorcycles? Last week I stopped at a harley dealership and test rode a 2017 Sportster 48. It rode nice but guess what, my 2000 Buell m2 cyclone smoked it in all out acceleration and handling. The only thing the harley had over it was a nice paint job! Come on folks 17 years ahead technology and fuel injection. Now let’s look at the Indian. I test rode a new Indian Chief last summer. Nice bike, nice engine and a big price. I compared it to my 2004 victory tour cruiser and guess what, my Victory manages the heat way better. The Indian was a right leg cooker. Now they decide to stop production of a perfectly good motor. This what I am going to do, I’m gonna keep my two great bikes because they are well paid off, do everything well and there really isn’t anything out there that is worth the payments for. Sad day for the VOG!!

  9. BearChicken says:

    I test rode the first bike they built. I want to say it was in ’98. I enjoyed it, but I withheld purchase because it was a new brand. As many have said, once Ness got involved with styling, there was just no way. I thought it was comically horrible. That Cross Country thing, or whatever it is, makes me laugh out loud. So ridiculous. I remember thinking “I wonder if there’s a good motorcycle under all that superfluous crap?”.

  10. HS1.... says:

    It was a silly brand based on an oxy-moronic concept. There never was and never will be a market for modern styling wrapped around base motorcycles with dynamics and specifications that were far surpassed in the 70’s. Classic styling atop modern running gear is workable, but not the exact opposite. They jettisoned the popular look of traditional cruisers and kept everything that people who aren’t already in the Harley fold despise, like exaggerated rake and trail, portly weight, and moderate power. Victory never produced a bike that was anything more than just some kind of cruiser conspicuously screaming out its apology for being some kind of a cruiser.

    • SeTh says:

      There was a niche for heavy, stylish sport/standards that aren’t adventure bikes, competition to Suzuki Bandit 1250S, Honda VFR1200F, etc. It only made sense to try to fill it, especially with Arlen Ness styling cues.

    • Grover says:

      HS1- you’re spot on. It was a flop from the beginning. Hard to believe they stuck with their plan to offer bikes that were always slow sellers and unprofitable at best. Too bad because Victory could have been so much more than a cruiser builder, especially with the financial backing from Polaris.

  11. Mbrem says:

    Besides any employees let go as a result of this move, the dealers are the ones who may take the hit on bikes they’ve agreed to floorplan and will be tougher to sell for a reasonable return. The Des Moines Register reported a local Iowa dealer as finding out about this via social media-a real classy way to treat their dealers!!

  12. JoeyD says:

    Sad to see it happen. I’ve ridden all their bikes at demo rides and they handle better than anything in their class. I almost bought one but I couldnt warm up to the styling, too bad they were not more attractive. They will do well with the Indian line up, need to come out with a standard or adv touring bike and I’m in.

  13. ledcat says:

    Guess I can stop hoping for the Pikes peak bike to come to market as a standard non cruiser bike? Something Ive been waiting for for almost 2 years now. SO much for a standard US made motorcycle, long live the cruiser, NOT. The US motorcycle market is dead as the median age for purchasing is > 50 years old. What a shame.

  14. Artem says:

    H-D is more of metal. Really?
    Hanson is still poular all ower the world.

  15. ERADICATOR says:

    It was never any secret within Polaris that their future rested with the Indian name once they spent tons to secure it and settle the outstanding claims.

    They did the research and found that the Indian name, despite who builds them, remains strong due to the history of the brand and not necessarily because of the actual product. That sentence is worth re-reading because it epitomizes their entire business philosophy behind making this decision.

    I can promise you that you will see many of the same components in future Indian brand bikes, cutting re-tooling and more importantly, re-engineering and recertification costs!

    Part of Polaris wanted to exercise their engineering prowess by introducing 150-170HP cruisers but they were stopped because the management didn’t want the bar to be set so high for Indian who would find it impossible with air cooled machines.

    This decision will allow for some lucky buyers who have their cash ready when the “time” comes to liquidate the inventory. There will be “out of business” sales, then BOOM, the REAL price cuts will arrive….if you want a good bike, be ready!

  16. Ferd says:

    Well Polaris can sell there products to the buyers south to the border. I really hate to see good American jobs lost to Mexico.

    • gks says:

      Mexico????
      I saw nothing in the press release of any production being shifted to Mexico.
      They are eliminating the Victory brand. Indications are that most employees will be shifted to other Polaris divisions.

  17. Frank says:

    Sad news. Build a better bike and they will come? Not so Victory. Indian, yes. Tradition rules in this market segment.

    • Grover says:

      I wonder how many $35,000 Indians they will sell before they go belly up? I’m sure hope the Scout/Octane will be able to carry the company before they follow Victory to the grave.

      • Scottie says:

        The reason Polaris is having success where Stellican did not is Polaris is pricing their bikes on par with H-D. Stellican’s entry point was $35,000, Polaris’ is $18,500.

      • Chris says:

        Really? Please show me your $35k Indian. Even the highest spec Roadmaster is skirting $30k. My Springfield ended up being right around $20k and, as a long-time BMW rider, I love it.

  18. Vrooom says:

    Shame, hate to see a large US brand like that go away. Unfortunately they never made a bike that appealed to me, they basically stayed in Harley’s segment of the market, where sport tourer or ADV bike with a normal seat to footpeg relationship and I might have been there, but they didn’t design for me. There’s probably some deals available now.

    • Scott says:

      Yep. Same here. I can’t comment on the world of cruisers and their market, because that type of bike has never appealed to me, and never will. The only way Victory would have gotten me as a customer is if they had built something in the neighborhood of a street tracker/performance standard, based on the 156. Instead, they built the Octane. So here we are.

      • mickey says:

        By all accounts it was a thouroughly modern gem of an engine, wasted in an archaic design of a motorcycle

  19. Z1 says:

    Good riddance. This should have happened years ago. Or, better yet, Victory should never have happened. A dreadful ridiculous-looking motorcycle. Better to put their energies into Indian.

  20. Carl says:

    Well sad day, Victory threw us under the bus. I’m not a fan of V-twins but I came off a 2007 goldwing to the Cross Country Tour because you can’t find a more comfortable motorcycle on the market for long distance. I tried them all but the 18 inch floor boards, seat combo is just fantastic and just ask any Vision rider their thoughts, it may be ugly but owners will not part with them. I was hoping they would update the CCT with electric shield and a Octane based water cooled engine in the future. My 2012 has worked flawlessly, only oil and tires, and I primarily use it for long distance weeks long trips.

    Sad day because I usually change bikes regularly but nothing has matched the comfort on these bikes. Here is hoping Yamaha gets off its butt and builds a new full size tourer with their new V-max engine. Not holding my breathe though since motorcycle market has been on a decline for years and the US market can’t seem to give up Harley Davidson no matter the crap they put out.

    • Grover says:

      Riders seem to like the “crap” (as you call it) that Harley puts out and are willing to pay a premium price to get it. After owning bikes from all the major manufacturers I can tell you that the quality of build and the reliability of Harley is on par with the rest of the industry. The performance of Harleys that many complain about is of no consequence to the riders that buy them. If they want performance they just turn to the Japanese, Brits or Italians and pay good money for that experience. Riders will continue to buy “crap” bikes because they push all the right buttons.
      Victory had its run in the marketplace and the riding public decided it’s fate. That’s the bottom line.

      • Carl says:

        They are still crap, I have owned my fair share of HD’s. Service department always full, I know how many damn times they broke down, I started on a shovelhead all the way to the new crap. Still crap with great great marketing department!!

    • Bubba Bleu says:

      Most Harleys are really nice rides. The Dynas especially, the Super Glide and the Low Rider, are really very affordable, delightful bikes to own and ride. And they come with friends everywhere you go.

  21. Ed in AZ says:

    I have wondered how Polaris could sustain two separate marques that occupy essentially the same market niche. Although this announcement is surprising, it’s not entirely so. BTW, the article linked by downgoesfraser in his post is nearly 7 years old and appears to have little or nothing to do with motorcycle production but instead relates to Polaris ATV and “side-by-side” products.

  22. dt 175 says:

    Couldn’t sell cruisers in America. Sad…

  23. Norm G. says:

    game over man…!!! GAME OVER…!!! (Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson)

    • MGNorge says:

      Story is almost 7 years old! Brings to mind the price pressures faced. Build them here and not be as competitive price-wise as those that produce across the border. Build them there and be criticized for doing so.

      • downgoesfraser says:

        Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki all have facilities in this country. I believe the reason folks buy Polaris off road products is price and American product.

  24. downgoesfraser says:

    https://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/05/21/polaris-folo

    Wonder how much the tariff will be on hecho e Mexico product?

    • Ricardo says:

      Polaris already makes most of their four wheelers and the can-am spider in Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico.

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        Can-Am is made by Can-Am, a brand of BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products), and has nothing to do with Polaris AFAIK.

        • Mindspin says:

          You are correct. It’s amazing how many people think that Polaris owns Can-Am. I think it has a lot to do with Polaris making the Slingshot now and how similar it is to the Spyder. Polaris is American and BRP (Can-Am, Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo, Evenrude, Lynx) is Canadian, and they are huge competitors. BRP also owns the Austrian engine manufacturing firm Rotax.

  25. SmokinRZ says:

    I hope they don’t let unnecessary Ness in the door at Indian. Then it will all be over.

    • Grover says:

      When you’re building boutique motorcycles it does not matter if Ness stays at the party or not, your time in the market is limited. Victory enthusiasts will tell you that Ness hasn’t been involved with the design for many years, but you’d never know it to look at his influence on their bikes.