Polaris Shuts Down Victory Brand, Finance Partners to Remain Intact

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Photo by William Hoffman / Royal Media Group

Polaris Industries Inc. announced yesterday that it will immediately begin winding down its Victory Motorcycles brand after 18 years of investing in the motorcycles. However, the closing is not expected to alter any financing arrangements Polaris currently has, Director of Investor Relations Richard Edwards told Powersports Finance.

“We do not anticipate any change in our lending partners as a result of the Victory exit decision,” he said. “They will continue to finance Indian motorcycles, Slingshot, snowmobiles, and our off-road vehicles, as usual.”

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based OEM attributes Victory’s closing — in part — to the brand’s struggle to establish the marketshare required to succeed and be profitable in the industry, according to a company press release.

The competitive pressures of what many consider to be a relatively flat and challenging market have increased the headwinds for the Victory brand. Additionally, considering the growth potential of Polaris’s Indian Motorcycle brand, the Victory shutdown decision “became quite clear,” according to the release.

The OEM’s motorcycle sales in 2015 — which is comprised of Victory, Indian, and Slingshot — increased 67% year over year to $698.3 million, driven by the continued high demand for Indian and Slingshot vehicles, according to the OEM’s 2015 annual report.

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Photo by William Hoffman / Royal Media Group

The announcement of the closing does not affect any other Polaris business units, according to the press release. Polaris will assist dealers in liquidating existing inventories while continuing to supply parts, service, and warranty coverage for a period of 10 years to Victory dealers and owners. Polaris has approximately 450 North American Victory dealers in its network.

To that end, it is unclear how the closing of the Victory brand will affect the overall finance volume of Performance Finance, Polaris’s new “captive-like” retail finance program.

On Sept. 1, Polaris partnered with FreedomRoad Financial to form Performance Finance. The financing is exclusively offered for new and used Victory and Indian motorcycles and for Polaris Slingshot vehicles, as well as for all other brands of used motorcycles from authorized Polaris dealers.

FreedomRoad Financial did not comment by press time.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, my team, and the Polaris board of directors,” Polaris’s Chairman and Chief Executive Scott Wine said in the release. “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.”

Polaris will continue production of Indian motorcycles in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and Slingshot production in Huntsville, Ala.

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