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Victory is Defeated

Reuters news agency has reported that Polaris have announced they are pulling the plug on their Victory brand and ceasing production of Victory motorcycles with immediate effect.

It's hardly surprising now Polaris own the Indian brand and only seemed a matter of time to me. I've interviewed many of the top brass of Indian and they've all said that they don't think Indian has any constraints with regard to market segments, they don't have to be a touring company or a V-twin company or even fossil fuel-burners, so what was the point of Victory, that would always be in the shadow of the far more marketable Indian?

Reuters say:

* Polaris Industries to wind down Victory motorcycles operations strengthening its position in the powersports industry

* Says announcement does not affect any other polaris business units

* Says "remains committed to maintaining its presence in Spirit Lake, Iowa"

* Says one-time costs associated with supporting Victory dealers in selling their remaining inventory will be recorded in 2017 income statement

* Says competitive pressures of a challenging motorcycle market have increased headwinds for Victory brand

The last point seems oddly downbeat, when it could all be prettied up as concentrating on other brands in the portfolio.

Unless you own one or sell them, there's no loss to motorcycling in general, because all the cool stuff the Victory did, and they did enough, can be picked up by Indian.

The Pikes Peak racer? It could have been an Indian. The electric TT racer (that used previously developed Brammo tech, Polaris having acquired the electric pioneers in 2015). Indian have TT history, no problem. Closing Victory seems a no-brainer and I'd even asked the directors about Victory when I met them last year, but been given a fudgy answer that wasn't even worth putting into print. Motorcycle companies aren't like car companies. Honda can sell a Vision 50 oped and a €188,000 RC213-V, where car companies feel they need to be lower, middle or upper class. Hence one of the reasons, the VW group, have bought up SEAT, Skoda, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, Audi, Lamborghini...

This could and should make Indian even stronger.

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