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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Indian Motorcycle Reports Increased Sales and Market Share in North America

Polaris Industries, owner of the Indian Motorcycle brand, just released financial results from the second quarter of 2017, including good news for Indian sales and market share.

Ignoring a big reduction in sales of Victory models, a brand that has been discontinued, but including the Slingshot three-wheeler, Polaris reported a slight reduction in quarterly sales for its motorcycle segment. Indian itself, however, reported “retail sales increased 17% and continued to gain market share ….”

Some of that market share gain for Indian is undoubtedly at the expense of heavyweight cruiser leader Harley-Davidson, which reported decreasing sales for the same quarter.

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  1. scott k. says:

    gotta love that engine

  2. Rob says:

    Consider that Harley introduced the Milwaukee-Eight in response to Indian’s superior engineered Thunder Stroke engines. The biggest comment about the new Harley engine? IT DOES NOT SOUND AT ALL LIKE A HARLEY, does not significantly vibrate, and runs at normal oil temperatures (no single cylinder running at idle needed, which I always found absurd). Goodbye the faithful. Polaris has done an excellent job with Indian. You don’t take market share overnight, but all indications are that significant gains will be made. Unfortunately, the total market has been shrinking for many years due to a population that is ageing out, replaced with millennials.

  3. mickey says:

    Just spent 9 days riding in the Rockies around Denver. Saw a total of 2 countem 2, Indians. 2 or 3 Wings, good smattering of KTMs. Saw dozens of Harleys, saw maybe 100 BMW GS’s. Good night they were everywhere.

  4. PN says:

    Let’s be honest. 65% of Harley riders are just posers, not serious motorcyclists. Do you ever see a Harley rider in an Aerostich suit? C’mon. They buy one thinking it looks cool, ride it for a year or two, and then sell it. Polaris whiffed on Victory but hit a home run acquiring and updating Indian.

    • Paul says:


      Many watched Arnold in T2 and then just had to have one. Nowadays it is getting tougher to sell them, our local market is just saturated with used H-D’s. Prices being asked will be coming down gradually, I’m sure.

    • beasty says:

      So you have to wear an Aerostich suit to be considered a serious motorcyclist? And where the hell does that 65 percent number come from? I’m not sure you’re being honest. Someone on a Harley didn’t wave to you did they.

      • Tyg says:

        Everybody knows that 86.79% of statistics are made up.
        There’s lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  5. takehikes says:

    HD down, Indian up. That much is clear. All the rest is marketing and numbers games…..
    I’ve been boggled for 40 plus years how HD sold bikes to anyone (I’ve owned some). Other than so called heritage they were not of value compared to the rest of the market until recently.

    • Dave says:

      It’s very possible that Indian’s fortune has nothing to do with HD. Polaris cancelled the Victory brand. Indian’s increase could simply be the displacement of lost Victory orders.

      • Linus says:

        It is certain that Indian’s fortune has nothing with HD. HD sold $1.2 Billion worth of motorcycles in Q2/17. Polaris sold $200 Million (Indian, Slingshot, Victory combined). HD sales dropped 9%, that’s about $110 Million. Indian-Slingshot-Victory sales dropped 13%, Indian alone up 17%. In other words, Slingshot is …shot.

      • todd says:

        I imagine all those Victory riders are still riding their Victory.

  6. rider33 says:

    you’ve got to love financial spin. No matter how you want to slice it their 2Q moto-sales were down 13%:

    Motorcyclesegment sales, including its PG&A related sales in the second quarter of 2017, was $198.0 million, a decrease of 13 percent compared to $228.4 million reported in the second quarter of 2016, which included $6.2 million of Victory motorcycle wholegood, accessory and apparel sales
    (from their q2 release)

    ‘Not that far off from Harley actually but a good chunk of that no doubt is Victory. If you think Victory was an expensive lesson, wait until they buy Ducati.

    • David M says:

      I don’t think Victory was so much and expensive lesson as Indian was a far better opportunity when it came along. I suspect that they felt keeping Victory would be a built in competitor for Indian; that would mean market dilution that would adversely affect the manufacturing and marketing economies of scale. The bean counters undoubtedly did all the necessary arithmetic on their Victory sunk costs and found it better just to cut it loose. I think it was a natural, and smart transition.

      • sbashir says:

        Victory was supposed to be the performance division and Indian the heritage division so they would not have taken sales from each other. If they cannot carry two brands at one time, it doesn’t say much for their financial strength or imagination. How long are they going to support Indian before dumping it in favor of quads or snow mobiles or industrial vehicles which are doing better than Indian?

  7. Neil says:

    I emailed them and asked them about the whole shock length reduction and why they don’t build a standard. The big answer is that Americans have been mostly buying feet forward cruisers for eons. A light frame solo seat bike is a thing of beauty, like the old 1930’s Indians. Forget all the chrome and just get back to basics. The Scout motor is certainly begging a standard frame. They’d sell some for sure. – Side note: The Kawasaki clutch on the Z900 is a thing of beauty, so light pull for a change. If you take the kind of spins most people take, and most bikes spend ages in the garage, then the Z900 is all you need.

    • Provologna says:

      “…The Scout motor is certainly begging a standard frame…” Motorcycle understatement of the year. I would be tempted…

  8. thrus says:

    In summary, Polaris was making two brands of bikes but now is making one. The one remaining saw a 17% increase while the other saw a big reduction in sales. The end result for polaris is what? total sales – bid reduction + 17% = ??? my guess would be a lower sales number then before.

  9. allworld says:

    The fact that Indian’s sales are up, is good news for Indian. The fact that Polaris has a reduction of motorcycle sales is bad news. Polaris needs to determine what sells and what doesn’t and adjust their product line
    Indian has potential to increase their market share, by a lot and IMO the best way to do that is to become a competitive player in all motorcycle segments.
    As far as Slingshot, they should take a closer look at novelty vs. practical.

  10. EZ Mark says:

    However you want to read the numbers, increasing sales when the market customer base is decreasing is a good accomplishment.
    Now it’s once again up to the Japanese to increase the new rider base so the American companies can steal those customers later.

  11. Denny says:

    Even look from distance is suggesting that Indian has more open V-engine layout. This by itself is huge progress over obsolescent H-D.

  12. Auphliam says:

    “Polaris reported a slight reduction in quarterly sales for its motorcycle segment.”

    The only sentence in the article with any meaning. No matter how they try to dress it or hide it in phantom “sales percentages”, their sales did not increase. They decreased.

  13. sbashir says:

    “Polaris North American ORV unit retail sales were down low-single digits percent. Motorcycle segment sales decreased 13 percent compared to second quarter of 2016. Indian motorcycle wholegood sales increased significantly in the second quarter driven by new product introductions and increased awareness of the brand. This increase was more than offset by significantly lower Slingshot® sales.”

  14. downgoesfraser says:

    Numbers. real numbers…………

    • Auphliam says:

      They don’t give real numbers cuz then they’d have to stop lying.

      • Jason says:

        They don’t give production numbers because investors only care about the financials.

        • sbashir says:

          So they are eager to announce to the whole world that they are selling more Indians but won’t say how many? Why not? Harley reports all their numbers in their financials, why not Indian? This is how Victory went down the tubes suddenly (keeping people in the dark) and so will Indian (eventually). And why are you defending Polaris anyway?

  15. Gershzilla says:

    I do a bit of calculating based on the total dollar amount of motorcycle division sales divided by a rough price estimate. Using this I get a figure of about 50,000 total Polaris motorcycle division sales. That includes Slingshot, Victory and Indian sales. I estimate Indian’s current sales at around 30,000 per annum. May not sound like much, but they have only been back in business for four model years. If and when they make a 750cc bike, their sales will likely double. That puts them at making one-quarter of Harley’s sales. That impresses me.

  16. Tommy See says:

    Indian Scout Adventure Motorcycle. Just wondering ?

  17. JPJ says:

    Why is motorcycle sales not published ? Automobile sales are published monthly here in the US. What information needs to be hidden from the buying public.

  18. JPJ says:

    Jeff is so correct. I often wonder why it’s such a big secret to publish motorcycle sales. Automotive sales are published monthly, yet who knows what motorcycles truly are.

  19. Ron H says:

    Maybe Harley can get congress to impose an Indian tariff like they did to the Japanese manufacturers?

  20. Jeff says:

    And, one thing that Polaris never releases is the number of units sold.So, a 17% increase of what? 17% increase of 1000 units is only an additional 170 units.

    • Auphliam says:

      Exactly. Whenever reading these “glowing” sales reports from PII, remember that they reported similar “increased sales percentages”, sometimes even “record setting sales growth”, for EVERY QUARTER that Victory was in production. That tells you all you need to know about the figures that they release.

      • sbashir says:

        Yup, it is dangerous owning a Indian because you never know when they are going to pull the plug.

  21. austin zzr 1200 says:

    …and some of it came courtesy of killing off Victory…article doesn’t really tell us much other than there isn’t room for more than two American cruiser companies.

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