5 Questions With... Polaris CEO Scott Wine

By David Edwards

Q: So, Victory, America’s newest motorcycle company, acquires a brand that dates all the way back to 1901. How long has parent company Polaris been interested in Indian?
A: When Polaris decided to get into the motorcycle business, we considered at that time acquiring Indian. So it dates back. It was 13 years ago when we started Victory. Indian has been on our radar screen for a long, long time.

Q: Will you be building basically the same Indian Chief that is being sold today?
A: Yes, but our engineers don’t have the ability not to make improvements, so where we see opportunities to tweak the current bikes and make them a little better, we’ll do so. Of course, our significant engineering effort is going to be focused on creating a new version of the Indian motorcycle, one that is extremely closely tied to the heritage of this iconic brand, even more so than the current bikes.

Q: We shouldn’t expect a Victory with an Indian badge glued on, then?
A: There is zero chance–make that zero, zero, ZERO chance, and I can’t repeat that enough times–that we will do anything close to putting an Indian badge on a Victory motorcycle. When I approved this acquisition, that was one of my strongest points. That cannot and will not happen. It will be a completely new and different bike. It has to be.

Q: Selling a $30,000 motorcycle in this economy was a huge hurdle for Indian. Lowering price point has to be a prime directive, yes?
A: That would be a fair assessment. We have some work to do. But I have complete confidence; there’s not a concern or a doubt about our ability to do this. I mean, this is what we do. We design, engineer, build and launch new products all the time. This is work we know how to do.

Q: Has Indian finally found a home?
A: We are now the rightful owners of Indian. We believe it was always going to take an American company to fully leverage the brand. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t think there was a tremendous amount of strength in the brand. We’re excited about the Indian acquisition. We’ve been working on this one for a while and it’s nice to have it in the stable.

By David Edwards
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