Indian Motorcycle, an American Classic, Gets a Second Chance at Greatness


Indian brand motorcycles were the first to be manufactured in the US, making their debut in 1901. The brand has all but disappeared since its heyday during the First and Second World Wars, however Polaris, which bought the brand in 2011 and also manufactures snowmobiles, ATVs and the Victory line of motorcycles, is releasing a new line of Indians. 

Polaris took its new bikes—the $18,999 Chief Classic, the $20,999 Chief Vintage, and the $22,999 Indian Chieftain—on a mini-tour of Manhattan this week, garnering plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from onlookers. But the real test will be whether the original American moto-brand will be able to reclaim marketshare from top competitors.[more]

CEO Scott Wine told Bloomberg Businessweek that the revival is a “$100 million bet.” The hope, of course, is to grab some of the revenue that Harley Davidson has been hogging all of these years. Harley holds a 57 percent share of the heavyweight cruiser market, reports. Victory only claims 5 percent. While there is fear that the new Indians will dilute the niche Victory line, which appeals strongly to military personnel, Wine said he’ll be happy to sell three to four thousand of the Indians this year and hopefully double his sales the next.[more]

Indian garnered even more attention at its recent reveal at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in downtown Sturgis, South Dakota, as the 73rd annual Bike Week was coming to an end. “When we acquired Indian Motorcycle two and a half years ago, we set out to capture the heart, soul and legendary heritage of this iconic American brand and then infuse it with unparalleled design, engineering and state-of-the-art technology,” said Wine, according to “On Saturday night we revealed three stunning new Indian Chief models that represent the results of our journey and the future of this brand. It was a triumphant day for all of us, and I know motorcycling fans around the world proudly join us in celebrating Indian Motorcycle and the realization that choice in American motorcycles is here to stay.” 

We’ll see what Harley-Davidson has to say about that.