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Polaris to make Indian shine again

2011-04-21 08:57

THE ORIGINAL: If you wish to ruin a Harley-Davidson club’s breakfast run, roll up in one of these.

Harley-Davidson has the Milwaukee iron tag and all the cruiser lifestyle elements but it's not considered by hardcore easy-riders as the quintessential American bike.

America’s original bike was the Indian, first built in 1901. Although the company faded into obscurity during the decades since its bankruptcy in 1953 (despite some niche players trying to keep the brand alive), Indian has always remained a revered part of American motorcycle history.

The brand was revived in 2006 and now it's been purchased outright by Polaris – an American all-terrain vehicle manufacturer best known for its quad bikes.

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For a recreational vehicle giant such as Polaris to buy a niche bike builder might appear peculiar but Polaris already owns America’s other competing Harley-Davidson cruiser brand – Victory – and the strategy is clear: to siphon-off market share from the Milwaukee-built bikes.

The resources, especially in terms of research and development, that Polaris has should enable Indian to integrate contemporary technologies as it requires – something most low-volume bike builders struggle to do.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine thinks his company’s technological expertise and Indian’s traditional brand values are hardly incommensurable.  "With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known."
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