Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Does The Victory Brand Have Future?

Victory Motorcycles was founded in the late 90s. The parent company is Polaris Industries. While they've been profitable, to use baseball analogy, they've never been a home-run. Given the quality of the bikes, it feels like they should have been.

Polaris Industries recently rebooted the defunct and passed around Indian Motorcycle brand. Apparently it was originally Indian Motocycle. For 2014 they now have 5 Indian models. They're all getting good reviews. The Indian brand re-boot has also been showered with the attention the Victory brand has struggled to achieve.

For 2014 Victory's model selection has almost been slashed in half. That's probably been done to accommodate the production of the Indian models. Key Victory staffers are now almost always in public with Indian branding on their cloths.

I would not be surprised to see the Victory brand and some Victory models absorbed into the Indian brand. For the long term, Polaris has had Harley-Davidson in their sights. While Indian appears to be hitting closer to the target, I believe its still a bit of a miss. Here's why --- the expense of the bikes.

You currently can have a cruiser bike put together in England (Triumph Motorcycles), boxed up, shipped to the USA and a base cruiser model is still cheaper than Indian Chief Classic. I won't even bother going into how Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki doing it for less. Even a comparable Italian made bike, boxed up and shipped over with import fees ends up being a smigit cheaper than on home USA turf.

While I believe you're getting one of the best built bikes with Polaris, the price point is still a huge barrier. With the recent reintroduction of the Indian Scout, they've brought the price down, but with a 3.3 gallon fuel tank, that won't cut it for some.

If I'm wrong with the Victory assimilation, that's fine. They have marketing people that are much smarter than me to decide if managing two brands under the same roof is feasible. The MSRP on home USA turf with all brands, Victory, Indian, Harley-Davidson continues to be a barrier for me. It's even cheaper to buy English and Italian made sport-bikes than buy a home turf built EBR (Erik Buell Racing).

Nuts! I'm confused.