American Motorcycle News
Indian, America’s oldest motorcycle brand, has been acquired by Polaris Industries.
Polaris, a Medina, Minnesota manufacturer of snowmobiles and ATVS, as well as Victory Motorcycles, purchased the famous motorcycle company last week.Polaris plans to move Indian’s current headquarters and operations from its North Carolina address, into the Polaris plant at Spirit Lake, Iowa.At press time it wasn’t clear if Indian’s 25 employees will be asked to make the move as well. Polaris has said that it intends to keep the two brands as separate entities.Indian was started in 1901 and enjoyed early racing success, as well as establishing two iconic models, the Scout and the Chief.Under steadily increasingly pressure in the demanding market of motorcycle production over the following years, Indian was forced to close it doors in 1953. Since then there have been several serious efforts to bring the brand back to life.The most recent one showed promise but, as it has been in the past, fought to find funding and a reliable production schedule and distributorship, resulting in the resurrected company officially closing its doors in 2003.Next up, the company that had brought life back to ChrisCraft boats tackled the Indian brand. After establishing the current North Carolina plant and securing a handful of distributors, the new owners launched some revamped models.However, timing was against them, and the slowing economy and the market didn’t bode well for a relatively pricey motorcycle. Indian was back on the auctioning block.Enter Polaris. With the technical and production know-how under the auspices of Polaris, combined with their financial backing and proven dedication to driving brand awareness, Indian is in good hands.Whether Victory dealers will want to dilute their showrooms against the steadily growing Victory name with another large-capacity V-twin motorcycle, remains to be seen. But, that said, motorcyclists are unpredictable. There’s never any telling what will click.But I will say this. In this day and age of international buy-outs, where iconic brands are often confused as to what their heritage is, it’s refreshing that Indian, an American brand, was bought by another American company, keeping the bloodline a patriotic red, white, and blue.It’s nice to see Indian at least being courted by the kind of callers that can do justice to the legendary name.