Polaris Stops Victory Motorcycles Production

Slow sales and all those recalls put Polaris in a difficult situation that ultimately meant giving up on one of its brands. And it is with sadness to announce that Victory Motorcycles is the one to get shut down.
2017 Victory Octane 1 photo
Photo: Victory Motorcycles
Today, Polaris announced that it will cease the manufacturing of Victory Motorcycles, effective immediately. The company will assist dealerships in liquidating the exiting stock and will also provide parts for its models for a period of 10 years along with service and warranty coverage.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors,” said Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO Scott Wine. “Over the past 18 years, we have invested not only resources, but our hearts and souls, into forging the Victory Motorcycles brand, and we are exceptionally proud of what our team has accomplished.”

Victory has struggled to establish the market share needed to succeed and be profitable. The competitive pressures of a challenging motorcycle market have increased the headwinds for the brand. Add in the additional investments for the company to launch new global platforms to be eligible to ever-changing consumer preferences, and you can easily tell the pressure Polaris went through.

“This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,” said Scott Wine. “Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimize and align our resources behind both our premium, high performing Indian Motorcycle brand and our innovative Slingshot brand, enhancing our focus on accelerating the success of those brands."

Victory began production in 1998 in Spirit Lake, Iowa, with sales peaking in 2012. Since then, they have steadily declined over the subsequent years, and in 2015, Victory represented only 3 percent of total Polaris sales. Data shows that Victory dealers sold only about 20 motorcycles per year on average.

Thanks to the new Octane model, the company outperformed the North American market in retail growth by 11 percentage points in 2016 and was the number one brand in Net Promoter Score.

However, if you put it into perspective, Polaris has lost money in Victory 3 out of the past five years. Add in the recent recalls over the Slingshot and its side-by-side vehicles, and it is understandable its decision of giving up on Victory.

The company will shift focus to Indian Motorcycle, which has a higher growth potential - it is a worldwide recognizable brand while offering a better price point and more favorable economics. More research and development will be dedicated to the Slingshot platform as well.

In case you were planning to buy a new Victory model, my guess is that this is the time to do it, as dealerships will cut the prices down to get rid of the current stock.

On the other hand, if you are a multi-billion dollar businessman reading this piece, could you please buy the slowly dying brand and give it another shot?
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 Download: Polaris shuts down Victory Motorcycles (PDF)


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