Indian and Victory update paint works

Indian Chief with two-tone paint sturgis motorcycle rally

Indian and Victory motorcycles are updating their painting processes after learning a costly lesson in how fastidious riders are about their motorcycle’s paint.

Polaris had updated the motorcycle paint facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa, but cut about $11m in costs and found the quality of paint was not good enough for its discerning customers.

So now they are having to rely on old painting equipment as well as outsourcing to get the high quality paint that riders demand while they spend a further $20m to update their painting processes.

Polaris CEO Scott Wine says they had hired a Minneapolis consulting company which recommended they spend $41m on a new painting system for their motorcycle plant.

Victory Motorcycles Independence Day ride
Victory Cross Country with Aren Ness paint

However, he admitted to the Wall Street Journal that his managers decided to cut costs to $30m by leaving out some of the recommendations such as an infra-red dryer and a three-month period to sort out problems.

Instead, the company went ahead immediately with the limited paint works upgrade and ended up having to fix problems such as dust particles in the paint from air dryers.

Supplies of the highly popular Indian Scout were also held up because the model was withdrawn to sort out problems with paint around the fuel filler.

Indian Scout paint
Fully dressed Indian Scout

They also couldn’t meet demand for the new two-tone Indian Chief and Roadmaster because the new paint facility couldn’t cope with the lengthy process.

Scott has accepted responsibility and said they “outsmarted” themselves with the $11m penny pinching exercise.

He says fixing the paint system will now cost them $20m this year.

As the maker of off-road vehicles, Polaris admits it underestimated the finicky demands of motorcycle riders. While ATV drivers don’t care about the paintwork of a vehicle that will be scratched and dirtied all its working life, riders are far more discerning about the quality of paint and chrome on their machines.

Indian Roadmaster - indian Scout
Indian Roadmaster

6 Comments

  1. This is what happens when the Quality Control Manager gets pushed aside by the Quantity Control Manager and the Bean counters . Looks like I will have to wait 2-3 yrs to buy a Indian m/c when the proper paint station is fixed the 2nd time around . The Paint work is the most important “Bling item” along with the Chrome work on a bike . Heads should roll !

  2. There was an Indian Chief at the Laverda Concours that seemed to have every square inch wrapped in brown leather with more frills than you’d see at a line-dancing competition.
    I assumed this had been done by an owner but someone told me it was done by the factory. Is this true?

      1. That Indian Chief with two – tone paint at the top of the page !
        Come on, isn’t that a Vespa colour?
        Sorry , couldn’t help myself……..
        Stay safe.

        1. they should have given jeb scoleman the job of designing the whole victory
          and indian range, some of those colour combinations are probably the worst to ever
          grace a motorcycle ,just look at the roadmaster, might deter thieves though

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