Sunday, 10 March 2013


Indian, America's oldest motorcycle brand, has recently been reincarnated. The iconic brand closed the production of its bikes in the year 1953. And since then, the company has seen many unsuccessful attempts to re-launch. But this time around, Polaris Industries, largest motor-sport brand in America, has taken the initiative to revive Indian once again. If it happens, the brand could pose a direct competition to the Harley-Davidson.

Polaris Chief Executive, Scott Wine, told that a debut new model to be called Chief, will be the first Indian model, which goes on sale in the US later this year. Mr. Wine expects Indian to generate over US$500 million (NZ$600m) in increased annual revenue for his company by 2016. If all goes right, Indian will be on track to compete against Harley-Davidson's dominance in the 600 plus cc segment of the global motorcycle market so far. The acquisition has already alarmed Harley-Davidson, for which Harley spokeswoman says, "We need to focus on what we do best, and have done for 110 years, which is Harley-Davidson."

Polaris will manufacture Indian motorcycles initially at Iowa, US, facility with other Victory motorcycles. Scott Menneto, the Vice-President of the motorcycle division at Polaris, promises that the production facility is the only thing that his two big-capacity motorcycle brands will share. The Indians, with their pushrod engines, will be clean-sheet designs, and not a single component will be shared with Victory. 2013 Indian Chief will get its power from a new Power Plus, 1,721cc V-twin engine, which uses an electronic fuel injection technology. While, Polaris is trying to make it a technically advanced bikes, it will also keep the large and sweeping fenders, low riding stance and front fender to keep its classic appeal.

The 2013 Indian Chief range includes five versions for the Chief namely Classic, Chief Dark Horse, Vintage and Vintage Limited Edition, the 5th and final model in the lineup will be the ultra-exclusive Chief Vintage Final Edition. Prices for the Indian range start at $26,499 for the Chief Classic and go up to $37,599 for the Chief Final Edition.

"We're spending a lot of money and time to make sure that we don't cross over at all." Polaris is going to showcase the new Chief at the Long Beach Motorcycle Show in December. Mr. Wine says that the Chief will definitely be more affordable than the equivalent Harley model. It's a positioning game that he's already played to great effect with Victory. "Think of how Chevrolet took the '68 Camaro and bought it forward to 2010 when it was re- launched. It was a modern car, with all the technology, electronics and quality, without losing the brand heritage." Polaris has already announced to introduce Victory motorcycles in India, thus we can well hope to see the Indian Chief as well.

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