Victory Motorcycles Cease Operations

2017 has only just arrived and we’ve already been given some shocking news: Polaris Industries have announced that they will be ceasing the production of Victory Motorcycles. Founded in 1998, Victory have been moving from strength to strength, and in recent years the company has seriously impressed us, particularly at Pikes Peak and at the Isle of Man. In fact, since the company’s beginning Victory have managed to command a strong brand presence, coming in fourth in the North American market share. Despite their success, it seems like it just isn’t profitable enough for Polaris to continue supporting the firm.

While a success in North America, globally, the brand wasn’t faring too well with only 10,000 units sold globally. For the brand to be viable, Victory would’ve had to sell more units, and from Polaris’s point of view, it wasn’t a viable option. So, in brief: this is the end as we know it for Victory Motorcycles – but other Polaris names will remain unaffected. If you’ve got an Indian, you don’t need to worry. And even if you’re a Victory owner, you don’t need to worry just yet. Polaris will continue to provide and supply parts for a further 10 years, they will also honor warranty coverage for their owners and dealers, and they will also continue to provide other services for that time period.

It’s always a sad moment whenever a motorcycle brand disappears, but there are a few positive points that can be taken away from this. Firstly, Polaris (as the parent company) will still retain the patents for all of the technology developed under the Victory banner, and they will almost certainly be putting the technology to other uses. Perhaps the incredible Victory Empulse electric technology will be applied to Indian machinery, in a similar way that Polaris used their Brammo takeover to fuel their Victory racing ambitions? And of course, with Victory closing its doors, there will be more money going around for investment in other areas. Indian Motorcycles may directly benefit from the new freed up money. It’s not a real positive for Victory enthusiasts, but at least it’s something.

Polaris Industries Chairman and CEO, Scott Wine, had this to say: “This 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. 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.”

“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,” said Wine. “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.”

So, we start 2017 with the loss of Victory – a terrible blow to the motorcycle industry. In my personal opinion, I think they should’ve dropped Indian and invested more money into Victory. Why do I think this? Because Victory have taken chances, explored new markets, and ignited some interest back into the American motorcycle industry. Victory was something special, or at least is was on the way to being something special. I’d say Polaris are backing the wrong horse. It’s a sad day for those who had high hopes for the future of the American motorcycle industry…

Categories: Motorcycles

Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…