SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa (AP) – Polaris Industries will stop manufacturing its Victory motorcycles so that it can focus on its Indian Motorcycle brand and other products.
Polaris announced Monday that it is closing the unprofitable Victory brand after 18 years. The motorcycles were produced at the Minneapolis-based company’s factories in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and Spearfish, South Dakota.
The company has decided that its Indian Motorcycle brand has better prospects for growth, said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris.
“This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and significantly improve our competitive position in the industry,” he said.
Polaris said it has lost money on Victory in three of the past five years after the peak in sales of heavy-duty motorcycles in 2012. The brand only accounted for about 3% of total Polaris sales.
Jefferies analyst Trevor Young said the move came as a surprise, but will likely help Indian Motorcycle sales. The Indian brand is the second behind Harley-Davidson on the market.
âIn the medium term, we think it’s positive because it looks like Polaris is doubling over Indian,â Young said in a research note.
The company will detail its earnings outlook for the year when it releases its fourth quarter earnings report on January 24.
UBS analyst Robin Farley noted that the move would wipe out an American motorcycle brand, but Harley-Davidson might not be able to take advantage of it as its customer base ages and Indian Motorcycle gains market share.
Polaris said it will help dealers liquidate their remaining Victory motorcycles and continue to produce parts for the motorcycles for another 10 years.
About 400 dealers across the country have sold Victory motorcycles, although about 150 of them also sell Indian motorcycles.
In addition to motorcycles, Polaris manufactures ATVs, snowmobiles, the three-wheeled Slingshot roadster and other vehicles.
Polaris factories in Iowa and South Dakota will continue to produce Indian motorcycles. It is not known how many jobs will be lost in these factories with the end of production of Victory.
The company’s Slingshot roadsters are manufactured in Huntsville, Alabama.