Polaris is Closing Victory Motorcycles

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Polaris Industries is shutting down the Victory Motorcycles brand after 18 years in business. Polaris says it will assist dealers in liquidating their remaining inventory and will continue to produce parts for another 10 years to support Victory owners.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team and the Polaris Board of Directors,” says Scott Wine, Polaris Industries chairman and chief executive officer. “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. Since inception, our teams have designed and produced nearly 60 Victory models that have been honored with 25 of the industry’s top awards. The experience, knowledge, infrastructure and capability we’ve built in those 18 years gave us the confidence to acquire and develop the Indian Motorcycle brand, so I would like to express my gratitude to everyone associated with Victory Motorcycles and celebrate your many contributions.”

Polaris says Victory motorcycle sales peaked in 2012 but has steadily declined since. Victory sales represented only 3% of Polaris’ total sales revenue in 2015 with dealers on average only selling about 20 motorcycles a year. The brand has only drawn a profit in two of the last five years. Victory’s decline mirrored the rise of Indian Motorcycle which Polaris purchased in 2011. While Victory sales dropped, Indian’s sales have grown. Polaris sees greater growth potential in Indian, resulting in the decision to focus the company’s resources on a single motorcycle brand. Polaris says it will dedicate more money into research and development on Indian as well as its Slingshot brand.

“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. Ultimately this decision will propel the industry-leading product innovation that is core to our strategy while fostering long-term growth and increased shareholder value.”

Polaris’ factory in Spirit Lake, Iowa, will continue to operate, but the focus will shift to production of Indian models instead of Victorys. There will, however, be job cuts coming.

In hindsight, Victory’s demise isn’t a surprise. One key indicator was the decision to reduce Victory’s 2017 offerings in Europe to just four models as the cost of making the entire lineup Euro 4-compliant. Polaris cited the “significant additional investments required for Victory to launch new global platforms” as one of the reasons behind today’s decision.

Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the Motorcycle.com team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

More by Dennis Chung

Join the conversation
2 of 182 comments
  • Yanassi Yanassi on Sep 02, 2017

    I'm a sportbike guy, for the curvaceous lines, and forward aerodynamic sitting. I considered buying a victory due to the beautiful curvaceous lines from the tank to the tail with the Jules Verne v-shape engine beautifully placed under the tank. I thought wow what a modern cafe racer this would make, light, cool, truly beautiful lines. Oversized cruisers are mostly ridden by white-haired seniors, an aging demographic. The future is with the bikes younger folks are riding, sports and cafes. Personally I'm not a fan of the nostalgic cafe go-cart rail frames, but if the engine is the frame ala sportbike to rid the rail frame, you keep the beautiful curving lines. I think it would beat the triumph bonneville.

  • Dave Mac Dave Mac on Dec 06, 2017

    Polaris bought the Indian name which could go head to head with HD. From the beginning they planned to drop their own in-house competition (Victory) and concentrate on the Indian brand. To their credit, Polaris let Victory continue for awhile and didn't shut the factory down immediately.