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Polaris says it's the end of the line for Victory Motorcycle brand

Dee DePass, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Automotive News

MINNEAPOLIS -- Polaris Industries will exit the Victory Motorcycle brand it started from scratch 18 years ago, company officials announced Monday, citing a mix of competitive pressures and lack of market share.

The announcement will not affect Polaris's fast growing Indian Motorcycle brand or other divisions, officials said.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine said the "winding down" of the Victory brand will begin immediately.

"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," Wine said in a statement. Victory's share of the motorcycle market slid to just 2 percent last year, from 3 percent in 2013.

"Given the significant additional investments required for Victory to launch new global platforms that meet changing consumer preferences, and considering the strong performance and growth potential of Indian Motorcycle, the decision to more narrowly focus Polaris' energy and investments became quite clear," Wine said.

Polaris, headquartered outside the Twin Cities, will help dealers liquidate existing Victory inventory but will continue to supply parts and service for 10 years and to honor warranty coverage accordingly.

Wine said the decision to exit Victory "was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris board of directors. 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."

While much attention in recent years has been directed at buying and relaunching the Indian Motorcycle brand, the launch of the Victory bike came first and represented Polaris's bold attempt at product diversification.

When the first Victory Motorcycle roared off the assembly line in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in 1998, it broadened Polaris' product line beyond snowmobiles, four-wheel all terrain vehicles and personal watercraft. Since then, Polaris has designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that won 25 industry awards.

The experience, knowledge, and infrastructure gained in launching Victory gave company officials the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, Wine said. "So I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions."

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