January 14th, 2013
Polaris, the company that produces the Victory line of motorcycles, acquired the Indian brand in 2011. The company has been working hard on a re-design of the Indian line and has announced the new motorcycles will be available for the 2014 model year.
This weekend, Polaris introduced the 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition at the International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It will be the last Indian to be based on the current design, and only 25 will be produced.
Polaris has been gearing up its factory in Spirit Lake, Iowa to produce the 2014 models. Hundreds of the closely-guarded 2014 models will be available this fall at dealerships. Tens of millions of dollars have been invested into the new Indian designs to directly compete with Harley Davidson.
Steve Menneto, Polaris Vice President said, "We are really excited. It's going to be a great year. Our team is committed to charting an inspired new future for this brand that fuses the iconic elements of its legendary past with (new) state-of-the-art technology and engineering prowess."
Mark Smith, a research analyst for Feltl & Co., said a lot of work went into getting the engine sound just right. "They have rooms full of special equipment and sound studios where they tuned and tweaked and tested to get the sound just right," Smith said. "You think of Harley-Davidson, and you immediately get that key piece of recognition because of the engine sound. [With Polaris' Indian], they certainly need that same feeling of wonder."
The new motorcycles will be a combined effort of Polaris engineers in Minnesota, engine builders in Wisconsin, and production workers in Iowa.
Building a larger dealer network will be one of the hurdles Polaris will have to overcome. Currently, there are only 14 Indian dealerships in the US. There are plans to increase that number to 150 across the US and Canada by the end of 2014.
22 comments on "This could be a big year for Indian"
No way, Idian motorcycle are back? I thought they were run out of business permanently. I don't know much about them about them aside they are American and there was a land speed record set in 1967 by a New Zealand man named Burt Monrow. There was even a great movie that came out in 2005 called The Fastest Indian, well worth watching.
Even before they aquired the brand Polaris sank a LOT of money into the company when it was in King's Mountain, NC, where they developed the current engine and built the first bikes. I've seen them at the dealership here in Daytona, and they're very nice looking bikes, but they are very expensive. I think they're going to have to mass produce and offer them at a lower price if they want to stay in business. Many people are still a little wary of the Indians after that Gilroy version of a few years ago.
I personally think they are going to have to dump some of the old styling to be competitive. I would have one but can't stand that front fender. That and a lower price. They're ridiculously high.
They will be producing around 100 motorcycles total for 2013 while they ramp up for the 2014 models. I'm guessing that the price point will come down in line with the Harley/Victory/Japanese cruisers for 2014.
I agree. I'm excited about the prospect of yet another American brand to be competitive with the others. Competition is usually good for everyone.
"I'm amazed that the V-Twin cruiser fad has lasted as long as it has. "
For American bikes such as Harley, Indian, and Victory, it's not a fad, it's an identity. There have been V-twin Harleys and Indians around for just over a hundred years.
It only might be considered a fad by the Japanese brands which copied the V-twin cruiser style. And judging by the success and popularity of those Jap copies it's going to be a fad that's around for a very long time.
I went to the Indian tent display in Sturgis last year. They had a display almost as large as Harley's. They appear to be making an aggressive push back into the market. One of the things that I liked best about thier display was all of the really old Indian bikes on display. Some amazing old machinery.
Originally Posted by motohorsemanWell that would be something.
You never know, in a few years, they might buy Harley!
They'd probably need to actually sell a few bikes first.
Originally Posted by motohorsemanYeap, Polaris has coin, that's for sure! But that's not all it would take to buy Harley. <chuckle>
I don't think that matters, they have money, that is all it will take.
Anyone else think a modern Indian 4 would be cool?
I can't be alone in that, can I?
I think a modern Indian IL-4 would be very cool, and very interesting, but I doubt it would sell well enough to make it worth the investment to build it. (And physics will likely always keep any IL-4 from being a performer in a modern configuration.) So for maximum IL-4 cool factor, I think we're always going to have to go back to the vintage bikes.