Indian Motorcycle Marketing Strategy

Cyril-Huze-Indian-Ad-1Choice is coming to American motorcycles. Are you of the Harley-Davidson or Indian Motorcycle type? Of both? It is my opinion that the motorcycle industry needs another high profile American motorcycle brand and that the Indian launch will positively disrupt the market, growing our industry, creating a healthy competition primarily with Harley-Davidson and marginally with other V-Twin brands, American or foreign.

Let me first mention that all decision-makers and strategists involved in the Indian Motorcycle re-launch – I talked several times to most of them – have the highest respect for Harley-Davidson. They also know that by offering very soon another American choice to bikers they are going to re-activate the pre-1953 rivalry, both on the road and on the track. I don’t know anyone, biker or professional from the industry complaining about an up-coming competition between the two brands.

During the last 50 years motorcycling has become socially respectable. In the ’90s, for whatever reasons (I may develop this topic in another post), the upper class of lawyers, doctors, real estate developers, dentists, etc started to ride expensive Harleys, playing the biker outlaws on weekends and during a couple of big rallies like Daytona and Sturgis. Harley-Davidson sold a lot of bikes to them until many Rich Urban Bikers looked for other ways to have fun. Then in 2008, the US recession hit hard with Harley-Davidson realizing that its core clientele was soon getting too old to ride, and started courting not only younger potential bikers, but also pursuing all sort of hobbyists in many social categories, either women, latinos, blacks. In addition, Harley started  focusing its efforts on foreign markets like Asia to compensate for what Harley sees as a very low potential for growth in the USA, probably for the next 10 years. It is well known that many core Harley bikers, right or wrong, feel alienated by Milwaukee’s last years strategy (and it includes foreign made parts assembled on its “American” motorcycles) and would abandon Harley for another American brand like Indian if the opportunity was given to them…

Cyril-Huze-Indian-Ad-2In this context, can Polaris seriously compete with Harley-Davidson with its new Indian model(s)? No denial that Harley is and will remain a legend. But the Indian brand remains iconic around the world despite the fact that the final production run of the final genuine Indians (the Blackhawk, a version of the side-valve 80-inch Chief) came in 1953. Also despite several failed attempts to re-launch the brand. After 60 years of “silence”, in terms of “good will” towards the brand, Indian is at least as powerful, if not more, than Harley is. With the right bikes, it says a lot about the potential of Indian to rival with Harley-Davidson motorcycle and biker gear offering.

Indianengine1Indianengine2The marketing and advertising gurus handling the Polaris launch of the new Indian motorcycle(s) are acutely aware that relaunching such an icon can be tricky. Expectations are so high… Success will depend on the bike(s) themselves (design & technology), on their price(s) and of course on the way Indian establishes its marketing position statement versus the competition. Credibility? As of today, especially after unveiling the brand new Thunder Stroke 111, Polaris has already convinced the motorcycle industry, media and the vast majority of bikers that they understand the culture, are able to offer an Indian engine “honoring the past and powering the future.”. Succeeding, as Indian says “at capturing the iconic design and styling aspects of the 112-year old brand’s most historic models and fusing that heritage with state-of-the-art technology and progressive design elements.” Price of its new model(s)? I guess we will know soon, and it will affect the percentage of people jumping ship right away for Indian (By the way, how many have already postponed a new or used Harley purchase until the new Indian is unveiled?) Marketing and advertising strategy? It is evidenced by the 2 new Indian Motorcycle ads illustrating this article. Who is going to ride the new Indian? 1- All those who identify themselves as core bikers, not hobbyists (ad number 1). 2- All those who stand apart, who want to challenge the status quo, who understand and live the lifestyle (Ad number 2) 3- All those who, since a long time and for whatever reason, wish to have an American brand alternative to Harley-Davidson…

indian-motorcycle-storySo, will Polaris take in a couple of years with its Indian Motorcycle brand a very significant share of the Harley-Davidson domestic market? Now is your turn to tell me and all readers: which brand do you identify yourself the most with (look again at the 2 ads I feature); your overall thoughts about Indian’s product/marketing/advertising strategy; what do you feel Indian’s chances are to succeed; and if you are a Harley or V-Twin motorcycle rider, if you would be willing to switch right away for the new Indian motorcycle to be unveiled in a few months, or purchase one as a second bike.

87 Responses to “Indian Motorcycle Marketing Strategy”

  1. 1 Shifter Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Wishing the best to Indian. I would switch if better bike at price not higher that a HD Fat Boy.

  2. 2 Hungouver Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I love the fact that Indian is 111c.i., HD is 110 c.i. as factory option.

    I wish that mc mfrs had to disclose the percent of US content like car mfrs do. The HD chest bangers would probably blow a gasket if they knew the exact % of import parts on their “American” motorcycles. Polaris, too, no doubt is very high in import parts.

    I’ts getting interesting!

  3. 3 Patrick Davis Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Indian/Harley competition for the US biker. Exciting. well explained, Cyril.

  4. 4 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Luckily because of all the Doctors and Lawyers relizing their not bikers, the market is swamped with lightly used Harleys for 10 grand, which makes Harley affordable to a younger rider. Wonder if Indian took that into perspective?

    Lastly, tell me S&S didnt have input into the Thunder Stroke design…

  5. 5 Francesca Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Harley is going to be obliged to change its strategy. An American competitor? Ha, ha. It can only push HD to conceive better bikes and to be less arrogant.

  6. 6 BobS Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I think it will take more than a few years to gain a significant market share. It took them about 10 years to do it with Victory, I would say lessons learned from that and the inherent good will of the Inidian name MIGHT cut that in half. People are a lot like penguins in some ways. They all huddle up next to the cliff unsure if jumping into the water is a good idea or not. First a few brave souls take the plunge, then a little larger number jumps, and then the masses realize it’s a good thing and they all start jumping in with reckless abandon.
    It’s the same thing in the housing market, same thing in the fashion industry, same thing in consumer goods. It’s how Harley got huge, after the masses saw it was cool. A very large market of people interested in bikes is waiting with baited breath to see what Indian does. A very small number of those are actually first or second group penguins.

  7. 7 Donnie Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Expectations are high. Yep, very high. Too high? Even with a good bike it can be a problem for Indian.

  8. 8 Hugh Lyonsack Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Does anyone know what the new Indian engine weighs in at vs a 110 Harley?
    HP and torque vs Harley 110?
    First model is Dyna- like (Scout?), or a touring bike with bags and windshield?
    Total wet weight target vs Dyna or RoadKing?

    The brand is iconic for sure – question is if it is a significant leap vs HD current line up, and what Harley has coming next. The current HD six speed has been around since ’06 (Dyna) and ’07 (the rest). 2014/15 should have refresh coming.

  9. 9 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I fit all 3 ads. I live, eat, sleep, breathe motorcycles. Hell, I make a living off them like many on Cyril’s site.

  10. 10 triumphrider Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:56 am

    The problem Indian is creating for itself is their dealer network strategy. They are looking for dealers to make a huge capital investment in “pretty” stores with little chance for return on investment in a decade or more likely never. They are advertising in the Auto Dealer industry trade magazines to build a network because powersports dealers wont make that kind of investment because they understand the customer and the motorcycle business. So Indian is marketing to real riders that are going to buy from Rich Urban Car Dealers? Time will tell.

  11. 11 Caz Carroll Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Harley-Davidson 1903-2013
    Indian 1901-1953
    That’s all folks, Caz

  12. 12 Mike Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Great article, but one criticism I have is that the article acts as if Victory Motorcycles does not even exist, and has not for the past 14 years been successfully competing with Harley Davidson, gaining market share albeit not producing nearly as many bikes as Harley has. Therefore as I see it, the addition of the Indian line makes for three major American manufacturers. Victory really does not get enough credit for changing the landscape of the American cruiser market.

    As to whether folks will buy Indians, Harley has been the only choice to buy “American” between the time of Indian’s demise (I am not counting the many failed resurrections of Indian) and the day the first Victory rolled off the line in 1999. Harley has flooded the market with their bikes, and people who like to go along with the crowd—or just want to be safe and have what others will accept with criticism or judgment–have been all too happy to pay whatever price Harley was asking, and nevermind the 68 horsepower or so and heat or other problems with the engine.

    I expect that the majority of those with Harleys will not make a switch. The continuin claim will be that the new Indian is too “metric” whatever that means, or that it has “more jap parts” than a Harley. These are the same criticism levied toward Victory, and which have never been true. That however has not stopped the comments. The Harley engine architecture and sound has been burned into the minds of people as the only acceptable way a motor should look, feel and sound. Many will criticize the “look” or “sound” of the Indian motor, just as they criticize the Victory motor nevermind the reliability and performance differences.

  13. 13 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Price is not the only competition. Indian needs to establish itself, once again, as a dominant factor on some sort of competitive level rather than riding on old laurels and tribute bikes.

  14. 14 Schminkie Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I agree that most of the RUBs have abandoned the marketplace for good. The 90s blow-up was started by the late Malcolm Forbes. I don’t foresee that lightning striking twice. My point in all of this is that the market is made up of:

    A) Savvy experienced riders who know early production bikes are going to have bugs; so it’s best to wait and see.
    B) Young people looking for a way to get started who don’t have a ton of dough, don’t want a ton of debt and aren’t generally interested in baggers quite yet. Most importantly the Indian name and its history is meaningless to them.

    I think this spells a slow start for the brand, especially if they don’t offer a model with a reasonable price point. I do wish them well and am excited to see the finished product. While intrigued, I’m not looking to dump my Road King just yet.

  15. 15 Shorthanded Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I would seriously considered buying an Indian say over a Road King if the price was right, I ride solo a lot, me and machine, and am not into wearing brand name all over myself. I also drive a cage so why would I wear that brand on my back? HD owners are becoming a dime a dozen, most don’t drive in rain, don’t do engine work or even wash own bike. These people only ride and look the part on weekends, kind of like a costume party with clean leathers that have never touched dirt. GPS, Coffee holder, MP3 players…have friends turning in their graves just the thought. If the rest of the new Indian looks as good as new 111 stroker, yes I would seriously considered plunking down my hard earned dollars to own one.

  16. 16 John Urley Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Some great comments….here are a couple of thoughts.
    1. The last go round of Indian was trying to do it right, stand alone dealerships with passionate dealers and yes, significant investments. They had guys (I met several) in the field who loved the brand and were riders, not reps with clipboards and spreadsheets. Numbers are important, but the passion will ALWAYS pull through.
    2. Polaris does need to walk a very fine line with marketing, since the last company just plain ran out of money and couldn’t do what needed to be done to gain significant market share.
    3. Embrace the competition as we’re all riders and know there are different flavors for a reason. I think one mistake the Polaris is making is using an outside company for publicity/marketing. You have the resources so keep it in house….riders need to have a say.

    Congrats on the great looking new motor…but 111 vs. 110?

    …and lastly, to the post on how many US parts are in the bikes….HD outsources over half to China…then puts it together here to call it an American bike.

  17. 17 Rodent Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Lets see the bike/cut the hype!

  18. 18 Matt Apr 22nd, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Although I do get a good chuckle from these ads I don’t know if it’s accurate to insinuate that many Indian owners couldn’t also be portrayed the same way. That being said I think the whole “real biker” marketing by any company is directed to off people’s insecurities of what they feel they aren’t or their desire of what they want to be. So if you are effected by these ads one way or the other, well then………there ya go.

  19. 19 Matt Apr 22nd, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I find this rather interesting. I am 29 years old, but know very well both the American Brands. I have worked with Vintage Indians and Vintage Harley Davidsons. So trust me when I say there are those of us “Younger” generations who know who Indian is. I currently ride a Harley Davidson FatBoy and love it. Both of these ads display “some” Harley Davidson owners. I will be heading to Laughlin this weekend and will be riding and putting plenty of miles on my EVO FatBoy (no trailer). I have met many riders in my day being motorcycle technician and I know that most Harley owners don’t trailer their bikes. You cannot say that Indian won’t have owners who do the same thing in both of those ads depicting the Harleys.

    Second, for those who say negative things against Harley Davidson. I have competed in the National SkillsUSA competition for Motorcycle Technology. THE ONLY Motorcycle manufacturer that supported the competition was Harley Davidson. In years past Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha also contirbuted to the competition but they have all pulled out and abandoned the education of training future motorcycle technicians. Harley Davidson supplied many motorcycles, test engines, instructors, training literature, time, facilities etc to make sure that we had a great learning experience. The winner of the competition was AWARDED a Full Scholarship to MMI to choose whatever course they wanted, The school they were representing was given a new Harley Davidson Motorcycle so future students could learn from it, tools from Snap-On, Gift card for Carhartt and others. Harley Davidson cares about the future of the motorcycle industry and they back it up.

    I am excited to see what Indian will come up with. However, You cannot judge all of us Harley owners by these few ads. Indian is making a lot of noise about this new “choice”, but to me it better not be all bark and no bite. They will definitely have to stand up to everything they are claiming. I am not in any big hurry to get rid of my Harley.

  20. 20 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Majority of new Indian Riders won’t be folks with knowledge of his tattered history over the last 60 years.. They will see an American made bike they recognize someway, somehow… that trips their trigger for a multitude of reasons…

    Many folks haven’t bought into HD’s world for various reasons. Hell… it took me 27 years to finally make that jump… I’d have jumped into an Indian sooner, had they had the options they are hinting at coming later this summer.

    There will be hard care HD naysayers….Small group. Hardcore Springfield Indian naysayers; miniscule group. But… there is no doubt there is a buzz out there…. and the fun is about to begin for Polaris when their Indian Motorcycle Company”s new model(s) are unveiled at Sturgis

    Let the Indian – HD wars resume….

  21. 21 Joshua Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Victory, good bikes with no soul. Will never seriously compete with Harley cruisers. Just a good touring brand. Indian can be a very serious competitor for Harley, can dent its market share by 5% in 2/3 years. HD must be worried.

  22. 22 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:31 am

    @matt .. it’s an Ad. Don’t take it personally. We all can manipulate statistics anyway we want to, in all fairness. “I know that most Harley owners don’t trailer their bikes” .. General statements will get you in trouble every time… ? 🙂 I see a lot of HDs in trailers….. in fact, most bikes I see trailer’d are HDs. I bet if I count ’em 80% are HDs.. few sportbikes … seen a BMW.. and a few metrics. Never personally seen an Indian out in the open being trailered ( maybe they have a high $ enclosed trailer? lol) That being said, I understand what you meant and were coming from…

    I know Indian owners that are complete fanatics ad brag they do 10-25k miles a year and laugh at those trailering… and some.. that fit the RUB label. The fact that ad hit a nerve with you validates that their marketing is working….. for every nerve they hit , its probably fair to say they hit a positive with multitudes more and have them wanting to at least see one.. possibly test ride one.. possibly own one..

    And that .. is what a Motorcycle Ad campaign is supposed to accomplish.

  23. 23 Dr Robert Harms Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Whats with the plastic starter gear ?

  24. 24 James Guerini Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I think that the ads are very good because they incite to buy an Indian as a proof that you are a true biker. Although we know that at the end of the day Harley & Indian buyers will be the same, riding or trailering. Paradox is that RUB’s could prefer buying an Indian because more exclusive. LOL. I agree, it’s gonna be fun to observe reactions to the launch and read the comments in Cyril’s site.

  25. 25 Bludog Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Indian has the enigmatic brand recognition that will span the generations of absence if the bikes live up to the hype and are not inaccessible. If the bikes are too easily pigeon holed as baggers or super cruisers, response will be restricted, not only to a market segment but the subset of the segment who isn’t concerned that the narrow range spells doom.

    I believe that Indian inspires market confidence by releasing a broad range of bikes competitive with the moco’s pricing that deliver the performance that seems to have driven the r&d of the motor.

  26. 26 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I’m all for Indian flavored Chinese,or even a Chinese/Indian Indian with a Taiwanese touch.The original Indians all came all the way from Asia,remember.Times change and American as mommas apple pie is now as American as mommas Apple 5.They only have to sell a few hundred bikes a year to keep a thriving machine pumping out hipster jeans and boots.This Indian play is a merch program with bikes included,it sure ain’t the other way around.How they will avoid the Village People vibe of H.O.G.mobs in black leather is beyond my understanding.

    “Matt” : The reason H-D strongly support mechanic training is their bikes need mechanics.Jap bike dealer workshops mechs have only needed to be able to drop oil and fit filters for nearly two decades.HD know their customers very well.I’m amazed H-D don’t sell “Trailer Sailor” and “Real Ride Ramps” products or “Softboy” and “Fatgirl” bikes.

  27. 27 Bruce Reynard Apr 22nd, 2013 at 11:55 am

    At this rivalry game, only Harley can lose because they are the dominant player. Let’s see.

  28. 28 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    @terence .. .enjoyed your HD comments.. but , lil’ confused on your Indian comments… I think you’ve been smoking some of that legalized weed, or your first bike was an Indian from the 60s/70s?

  29. 29 CW Apr 22nd, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I would buy and Indian if the price is right. It all comes down to price, and styling doesnt it?. No doubt with the advent of the Thunder Stroke, and Indian Iconic style it would have to be price if Indian competes with HD and take their market share. But compete against HD in what way? Price? Innovation? Grant it HD is a dinasour when it comes to innovation. Look at their new line up for each year. Nothing new, just chrome and paint options. The last new innovation was the VROD right? How long ago was that? The other improvements is nothing new,,,ETC, ABS,,,HD is just catching up, and oh yes,,,103in standard (that is way late, Victory had large displacment before). This could be a good thing for HD to finally wake up and notices a new kid on the block. It will be interesting to see!

  30. 30 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Mr.Lossner,no peace pipe involved fella.Just high-functioning primate with a world-wide reach.You must wear out a heap of boots walking from one bike to the other.And that is good.

  31. 31 Vrat Apr 22nd, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Dr Robert Harms

    Whats with the plastic starter gear ?

    Harma, good question about the plastic grar. However the starter is on the front. My fear is that is the oil pump drive gear.

  32. 32 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Selling and repairing HD motorcycles has been a labor of love for me for a long time. I have always been extremely proud to represent Harley-Davidson especially because when I started riding Harley’s I had to sell a Triumph and a great BSA to buy the bucket of bolts that was the worst in the world. I stuck with this brand because it was the only American choice, but I’ve been rewarded as well as vindi ated by the amazing progress in the state of the art styling and engineering that the motor company has achieved. When the Japanese brands started imitating us I truly felt it was the finast form of flattery. When other American brands began to enter the market I felt proud that HDs success opened the door for them and that’s exactly how I feel about Victory and Indian. This welcome competition that will make us all better, separate the imitations from American brands even more and hopefully allow our riders to appreciate the excellent level of custumer service we offer with a large and competent network of dealers. This network with not just bikes to sell but full inventories of parts and experienced technitions may be underestimated, but it is as important as as any other of the considerations one makes when choosing a brand! I wish Indian well and look forward to the rising tide of American motorcycles!

  33. 33 Fritz Apr 22nd, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    No inline-4? Fekk it.

    While thats a nice new V-twin everyone and their dog makes one. What will both American manufacturers do to attract the up and coming Redditor market?

  34. 34 Jeff Diamond Apr 22nd, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Entry level Sportster: $9,000.00 vs. Entry level Indian: $24,000.00 would be my response.

  35. 35 Scott Apr 22nd, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I’m probably in the minority, but I’d be all gung-ho if they entered the market with a low-slung, long wheelbase, small(er) displacement like the Scout was. Or even a dual-sport. And it doesn’t have to be smaller displacement, just have potential to be hopped up like the old Scout did. That bike ate Harleys for lunch for decades. When they put it out of production (prematurely), that was the only time HD said “whew.” Indian also has great potential to re-introduce themselves into racing, motocross or otherwise.
    Harley cannot enter that market because they have pigeon-holed themselves into strictly manufacturing heavy aircooled v-twins–not necessarily their fault, the market dictates that. With Indian, they could introduce a speedy inline shaft-drive four and still claim “heritage” or whatever marketing gimmick they want to use. If it’s manufactured today, chances are Indian tested the waters. Indian was always on the cutting edge of design, but for some reason or another stuck to flatheads and primitive transmissions. That’s what’s great about Indian, they don’t necessarily have to go the “heritage” route and keep rehashing the past. They have enormous potential to move forward and make great leaps in innovation without all of HD’s baggage.

  36. 36 Scott Apr 22nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I’m definitely an odd-duck here, I’m 27 and I own a military-scout (love that bike) and a harley sportster, which I’m crazy about but not anywhere near the Indian. What I hope Indian doesn’t do is pigeon-hole themselves into the “heritage, legacy” or otherwise like HD has. HD can only manufacture aircooled v-twins because that’s what their market dictates. Indian has the potential to ride whatever cutting-edge trend there is, because chances are if it’s manufactured today, it was either developed by Indian or they tested the waters (excluding a decent transmission and oil/water cooling).
    But that being said, whatever event they entered, they would have to dominate.

  37. 37 Brett Apr 22nd, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    well here is the 1st issue I have…..I own a HD Softail Standard as well as 1 of the Gilroy Indians Chiefs. I can tell you they Gilroys are trouble, but when they are running well nothing better. Many people like to talk to you about them.

    Anyway, being an owner of one of these bikes I had to find a forum needed to keep it on the road. Well Gilroy went out of biz….but since it was a HD “clone” you can actually use HD parts on it. This is where it was better then the Kings Mountain Indians from 2009-2011. Many bugs were worked out, but it was no longer an HD clone. So getting parts & after market parts not very easy.

    These Kings Mountain Indians are the bikes Polaris purchased………here is my issue, with the purchase, Polaris also took on the warranties. Well there have been many issues to be fixed. Some very minor simple things, like longer battery cables. Others, like the ECU controlling all electronics, not so easy. Part of the reason is only a few bikes have the electrical problem. However I know 1 guy who does have it. His bike has been down for over a year & he is getting very little support even though Polaris took on the warranty. He is even threatening legal action now.

    I have also heard stories about Victories getting this type of service as well. Polaris comes from the ATV & snowmobile world. Not sure they understand the need for parts not only for maintenance, but also customizing, because that is what owners of American V-Twins do, they personalize their bikes. So while Vics made be reliable, not every bike is trouble free & when it takes dealers weeks & months to get parts, owners aren’t happy.

    I have a feeling once the 2014’s come out at Sturgis this year, Polaris will try to wash their hands of the $35K Kings Mountain bikes & their problems. I will wait to see the outcome of the person I know’s problem & see what they do for him. If Polaris doesn’t step up, I will not spend a penney on 1 of their bikes. They also need dealers. They have like 10 right now. I would have to drive about 5 hours west or 10 hours east to purchase a Polaris Indian currently.

    Polaris has alot on their plate to revive this brand. Good thing is, either it will be brought back 100% & become a strong brand or this will finally be the end of it & it can rest in peace once & for all.

  38. 38 Brett Taler Apr 22nd, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Harley execs must bite their nails for not having bought Indian from Gilroy and overbid Stellican when they could have grabbed the name and rights for relatively cheap. I think this new try to re-launch Indian is the good one. Polaris has the financial resources and will not give up on such an iconic brand.

  39. 39 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Choice is the key word here.
    I’ve had them all, Harleys, Japanese bikes, even a BSA when I was younger.
    I own a couple of Victory’s now and they will probably be going to fund the new Indian. I also just finished building a little CB750 chopper.
    The new Thunder Stroke engine did it for me. It made the blood flow in a swifter fashion, the brain waves went kinda wild at the sight of the new engine. I didn’t marry any machine, or sign my life away when I purchased any bike. I choose to ride for the thrill, the exhilaration, the rush, the experience. Being bonded with a bike is fine. Being branded with a lifestyle image is limiting. I’m an adventurer so yes Indian, bring it on. The passion will rise, the thrill will rush through me like it always has. Pride in my ride has always enhanced the experience. I’m pretty positive the Indian will lift the bar for not only the industry, but for all who ride for the passion and the thrill.

  40. 40 Matt W. Apr 22nd, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Joshua: Soul comes from you (or at least your brain’s own perception of what “soul” is), not the bike.

  41. 41 Carl M Apr 22nd, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I don’t ride a brand, I ride a motorcycle!
    I buy what gives me performance, quality and value.

  42. 42 CW Apr 22nd, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    To add another thing. Polaris will need an entry level model. Only heard them releasing the Cheif. They must to consider releasing the Scout, or a Silver Arrow, some entry level model with low price point, and margin for dealers.

  43. 43 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve already put my deposit down for a new Chief.

    And I work at a Harley dealer..

  44. 44 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    It must be wporking given the number of comments here ???
    I want a test ride !!!!!!

  45. 45 Iron Horse Apr 22nd, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Lots of good comments from both sides.

    Personally, I’m another one who owns both a Gilroy Indian Chief as well as several Harley’s. If Indian comes in with a good looking and performing bike at a reasonable price point, I see no reason not to add another horse to the stable. That being said, if it comes in at Screamin’ Eagle money, than I’ll take a pass.

    I also hope that they release an entry level bike along the lines of the Scout, to get more people involved with the brand. Hope your listening Indian.

    I really wish both brands all the best. There is room in this world for Indian and Harley Davidson.

  46. 46 Jim Anderson Apr 22nd, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I am a 77 year old Indian rider for 46 years and have owned 9+ Indians from 1935 to 1853.
    The new Indian should have reto styling and paint but most important should be lighter and quick handling. Not a bagger.

  47. 47 Ronnie Apr 22nd, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Cyril, I have a scoop for you. No, you already know. Indian will succeed, eating Harley market share, bike after bike,

  48. 48 Jeremy Asher Apr 22nd, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Good product, good price, good marketing and advertising. Ok, you are right. Let’s not forget a good dealer network. Part of the negatives towards Harley is due to the arrogant, not friendly HD dealers and sometimes incompetent mechanics.

  49. 49 Greg Keller Apr 22nd, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    First ad. Their ad agency did a tour de force, advertising an Indian model nobody saw with the picture of a Kings Mountain Indian Chief! It was difficult to do and it seems that nobody noticed.

  50. 50 Samourai Josh Apr 22nd, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Teasing campaign. It was criticized by some, but see the media coverage Indian gets. It works.

  51. 51 Courtney Apr 22nd, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    So, Cyril what is the next reveal? The handlebars, the fenders, the horn? Lol.

  52. 52 Roger Davenport Apr 22nd, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Until now I think Indian did everything right, even the 2 ads. The engine looks great, but now how to not disappoint with the bike itself. It’s impossible to please everybody with 1 model.

  53. 53 fuji Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    CourtneyApr 22nd, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    So, Cyril what is the next reveal? The handlebars, the fenders, the horn? Lol.

    You know you want one . : ] You dont want your friends to know

  54. 54 Apr 22nd, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    “…have the highest respect for Harley-Davidson” Really? They have a funny way of showing it. I think it’s perhaps a little strained to talk smack about another’s line of motorcycles when you haven’t actually put a bike of up for sale yet. Personally I’m tired of the teaser ads to where I am losing interest, especially when they decided to go with a V-Twin.

  55. 55 John Bauer Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Woody’s. Tired of the teaser ads? You mean you can’t wait to see the bike. right? So, their strategy is working.

  56. 56 Peter Rodgers Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Good ads…if you are upset at Harley.

  57. 57 Chris Rivera Apr 22nd, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I may want one if overall design looks as good as engine and warranty is as good as the one offered by Harley.

  58. 58 Nobody Apr 23rd, 2013 at 12:52 am

    I might get one a few years down the road when they filter onto Craig’s List for a few grand after some poor git figures out that a midlife crisis doesn’t turn out any better buying an Indian rather than a Harley.

  59. 59 Septic the Sceptic Apr 23rd, 2013 at 12:54 am

    When I actually see a bike roll off the line, I’ll start to pay attention to their propaganda.

  60. 60 Ralph Martinez Apr 23rd, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I may buy one right away because I can, and it will probably be a collectable.

  61. 61 Ruben Jones Apr 23rd, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Hey Septic the Septic. It’s not propaganda. It’s called marketing. Strategy (I suppose) may also be to slow Harley purchases until launch of the new Indian. We will see soon if it works.

  62. 62 plowboy Apr 23rd, 2013 at 6:28 am

    the ads will come and go but the iron will stay if it’s worthy . I will give them five years and then look at trading for a Indian.

  63. 63 highrpm Apr 23rd, 2013 at 6:42 am

    polaris must preserve the mystical of the brand. to me, the crazy horse icon carries with it the spiritual heritage of the lakota and their sacred black hills. (otoh, maybe im fos.)

  64. 64 highrpm Apr 23rd, 2013 at 7:05 am

    the thunderstroke 111 carries brand magic.

  65. 65 Apr 23rd, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I love these ads. They are directly competing with HD, so you might as well focus your ad campaign on “Us vs Them”.

  66. 66 calif phil Apr 23rd, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I also wish Indian well. It’s great to see an American company prosper and create jobs building products in the USA. A domestic parts count % would be nice to see on Indian, Polaris and Harley.

  67. 67 Apr 23rd, 2013 at 7:55 am

    way overpriced, ugly old looking motorcycles.

  68. 68 Bob Sherman Apr 23rd, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Go Indian, go.

  69. 69 Kevin Apr 23rd, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I’d trade my Sportster in for an equivalent Indian Scout if they ever get around to making one.

  70. 70 Apr 23rd, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Key to long-term success of the brand…amazingly deep pockets, patience and equipment quality from Polaris. I do find their new advertising distinguishing hobbyists and those passionate about riding to be excellent. I for one, will be adding an Indian to my fleet of motorcycles…when I can afford it. They are over-priced in the current market.

    Ride Safe Out There Everyone

  71. 71 Apr 23rd, 2013 at 9:18 am

    @John Bauer. Actually I can wait easily. Of course I’m curious about ANY new bike, most all of us are. If anything they’re alienating some folks with the constant tease stuff, not making people like me more excited about it at all. The reason I even commented wasn’t about the bike (’cause there isn’t one yet 😉 )but about Cyril’s story on the ads. The demographics Indian’s going to need to make it are as much or more the same as the trailer queen segment of H-D’s ownership si I find it amusing they can talk smack about somebody’s else’s ridership before they even HAVE one.

  72. 72 fuji Apr 23rd, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Those who own the first low serial numbers wont have to be concerned about getting their money back.

    I would assume that they are already spoken for.

  73. 73 Rick Lossner Apr 23rd, 2013 at 10:45 am

    @mal ross … “way overpriced, ugly old looking motorcycles.”

    Have you seen an Ultra Classic lately ? LMAO .. Slap a CVO sticker on it and you just described it

    Since they will have multiple price levels, multiple models , new engine… you must’ve been describing another brand, another model year

  74. 74 spaz Apr 23rd, 2013 at 11:44 am

    As I write this they are remodeling part of our showroom for the new Indian right outside my office. We sell Victory and used Harley’s at about a 1-to-1 ratio, but when anyone asks me what the differences are between Victory’s and Harley’s, my answer is long, as the list of technological superiorities that Victory has over Harley is long. I tell people,” isn’t it amazing that there will be 3 American V-twin brands competing for our business?” -It’s like Ford, GM, and Chrysler battling it out with Mustangs, Vettes, and Challengers. It’s awesome. We as buyers benefit from the competition, and we should all embrace it. Just like the old guys going the the Good Guys car shows, they all have their favorites, but they hang out and share their passion for cool cars together. That’s what the biker community should be like. We’re all out there, riding our AMERICAN bikes, and soaking up the lifestyle together. -Speaking of American, it’s pretty common knowledge that Victory’s are built with significantly more American parts than good ol’ HD’s. I suspect the same will be true with Indian. -just sayin’…

  75. 75 Mac miss Apr 23rd, 2013 at 11:48 am

    You bet . And you could take back market shears if you bring back the poney in 750 or 900 cc something like the early sportster . A lot of people don’t even know Indian made a small bore bike Thank You Mac Out

  76. 76 Jack Apr 23rd, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I love the attitude that they are trying to convey with these ads, but the danger is that they are poking just as much fun at the riders as the Motor Company. Riders that ideally they’d like to see buy their bikes. Maybe people will look past the slight and just revel in the attitude, but its a risk.

    That being said its always fun to see David taking a whack at Goliath and I hope Indian does well. All riders win if they do.

  77. 77 Alexander Apr 23rd, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I hope all of you bought the Polaris stock (PII) when Cyril announced on April 19, 2011 that they bought Indian. No, bikers are terrible investors.

  78. 78 courtney Apr 24th, 2013 at 2:47 am

    I haven’t read all of the comments yet, so, if I am echoing someone else then… awesome!

    Here’s the problem with all due respect to Cyril: There Already Exists Another American Brand. It is called Victory.

    To postulate that Indian (a sad and defunct marquee that is not intrinsic to Polaris in the least) is the Only Viable Alternative to Harley Davidson ultimately undermines Polaris’ efforts to achieve major status within the American motorcycle market simply due to the fact that Polaris HAS ALREADY invented and mass-produced another American brand for 15 years and counting.

    Perhaps it didn’t catch on as anticipated, thus, a New Old marquee will do the trick! It’s all in the name I guess….

  79. 79 dmj Apr 24th, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Woody, I was thinking the same thing,

    “The demographics Indian’s going to need to make it are as much or more the same as the trailer queen segment of H-D’s ownership. What I find it amusing, they can talk smack about somebody’s else’s ridership before they even HAVE one.”

    No motor company can chance alienating any part of the market place and expect to succeed. Two years from now, Indian had better hope those trailer queens have Indians on the back of those black jackets. Hobbyists have been good to the Motor Company over the years. I suspect we will see some new adds from Indian showing us how well their bikes trailer in the coming years.

  80. 80 BobS Apr 24th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    80 comments on just an ad. I’d say the future looks bright for Indian.

  81. 81 Brett Apr 24th, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Courtney. I don’t think Cyril really forgot about Victory. But Victory will never succeed in competing against Harley cruisers. Victory is mainly a touring bike line up. It’s their niche market and it’s where they did well against Harley, although still a small number of units have been sold. Indian is competing against Harley. I also think that Indian will take buyers who would have bought a Victory cruiser. If the new Indian s a success, the Victory cruisers are going to extinction.

  82. 82 Jack Apr 24th, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Brett, I don’t think Victory is going anywhere. Just like you said, Victory has never really been able to compete with Harley, so Indian shouldn’t steal any buyers from them. Victory will continue to try and pull in the Star & Honda riders who want to trade up but don’t want a Harley and probably never will, while Indian will attempt to go directly after Harley’s market share. There is more than enough room for all three brands.

    BobS, you certainly can’t argue with the interest in Indian over a couple pictures with words 🙂

  83. 83 barney fife Apr 25th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Well I ride Triumph although my next bike is going to be a Road King. I get a bad vibe from the Indian advertisements shown above as they try to tar all riders of H-D bikes as being cut from the same cloth (they all trailer their bikes). Which of course is a load of horse shit and rather insults me as a consumer.

    If Indian wanted to really stomp H-D they need only build their bikes out of 100% American made parts and advertise that fact which would then really make them “America’s Bike”… can you imagine how powerful that would be.

    Plus they need a Scout. They’ll never make it past being a novelty act without a Sportster killing Scout.

    I’m buyiing the Road King and not the Indian because of the ugly oil cooler hanging off the front of the engine…..bad design decision.

  84. 84 hedstroem Jun 8th, 2013 at 11:22 am

    let me tell you as an ousider (from the us) , but nevertheless big admirer of the real story (1901-1953) – so far (new start with polaris) they did all a 100% right.
    the old bottle cap was a copy of a tendencial HDmarket, nevertheless it had even a state-of-the-art valvesystem. the new thunder-stroke 111 is more the ever could expect.
    and remember: the outfit is not the content ! his engine had (..) to resemble the old fin-type side-valve engine of (till) 53′.
    the valves are even adjustable, this has not even been discussed. the engineering has been made by a swiss, polaris owned company.
    this is “rocket”science.
    think HD = they have since the 80s a porsche engine (be it “evolution” or their new, last one). HD is not able to market . their engine consists out of failure but , apparently people wanted it.
    they sold the “dream”, 3 oils needed, every screw needs a workshop and overhaul cost you a “new bike”.
    but let’s stick with the good news:
    indian did their first compact engine back in 16′ (power) and the 20’scout revealed the beauty of a realy new, compact engine ! no separed gearbox, no fancy & useless knucklehead/flathead/
    shovel name it.
    cut the sh..: in a nutshell : the choice is coming to you – there’s no excuse to go for any other bike anymore: US = yes, history= first USbike, reliability =more then others…. – the only question to ask yourself = what about is it ?
    hobby ?
    …you go for others and….have fun!

  85. 85 KENWORTH Jun 28th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    My favorite commercial is the one with the HD anniversary springer, I own that bike, one of 3k made for the 2003 year,….mine is black on Black, one of 1200 in that color combination….. and at the end they slap a for sale sign on it??? Let me know where it is?……it has all the extras on it!……and I know a pile of guys who would line up for one.!, lol

    Seriously, I think Polaris has their work cut out for them, but they have DEEP pockets to pull this off. I hope they build a 4 cyl. springer version, it would make a classy second ride in the stable…..

  86. 86 nightrider Aug 27th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Polaris is looking to put too many dealers in a region. That will result in failed dealers who can’t sustain the overhead and leary consumers seeing dealers closing up after 2 years. Bad mistake on behalf of management.
    They are too desperate for sales and over dealing will hurt them

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