Victory Motorcycles ceases production immediately

2017 Victory Octane cease production frenzy revenue

Victory Motorcycles is ceasing production immediately and winding down over the next 18 months, but parent company Polaris Industries will continue with Indian and its three-wheeler Slingshot.

Peter Harvey, Victory Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, says: “Rest assured, customers and dealers are at the forefront of our plans and will be well looked after in the short and longer term.”

Polaris says it will liquidate all Victory inventory and continue supplying parts and warranty coverage for customers for 10 years.

So new Victory prices are expected to tumble, which is some good news. However, Victory owners will also find the value of their bikes tumbling as well.

The production of Victory Motorcycles started 16 years ago in an effort to compete with Harley-Davidson. Polaris bought Indian in 2011 and began the production of the Slingshot in 2014.

Polaris Slingshot SL LE ceases production
Polaris Slingshot SL LE

Victory Motorcycles began in Australia in October 2008 with a “flagship dealership” in Melbourne and has since opened its own Victory and Indian dealerships in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

Sales halved

The writing was on the wall for Victory which had peaked in global sales in 2012 and had been losing money in the past three years.

In Australia, sales were down 28.1% in 2016 to just 274, one less than Aprilia and about half their 2012 sales figures of 452.

The brand has only two engines and last year streamlined its range from 15 to an even dozen.

In Australia there are only 14 current models, because we never imported the Empulse TT electric motorcycle.

Victory Empulse TT electric motorcycle
MBW rides the Victory Empulse TT

There is no word on what will happen with the electric brand, but Polaris chairman and CEO Scott Wine says they will continue with Indian which has strong sales growth.

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 honoured 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.

This decision will improve the profitability of Polaris and our global motorcycle business, and will materially improve our competitive stance in the industry,

Our focus is on profitable growth, and in an environment of finite resources, this move allows us to optimise 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.

Production of Victory Motorcycles at its Iowa plant will cease immediately.

Only four Victory models – the Octane, Judge, High-Ball and Gunner – are being sold in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for 2017, probably due to the difficulty in meeting emissions standards.

Australian statement

Peter Alexander, Managing Director Polaris Industries, Australia and New Zealand released the following statement.

Polaris head honcho Peter Alexander joins riders for the first Brisbane Victory and Indian Motorcycles shop ride. production
Peter at a Victory owners’ ride

Today, Polaris Industries Inc. is announcing that we are winding down the Victory Motorcycles brand beginning today and through the next 18 months.

We first launched Victory Motorcycles here in Australia in October 2008 with our flagship dealership in Melbourne that set new benchmarks for motorcycle retail in Australia. Victory Motorcycles, through its innovation and engineering prowess, also set new standards in Heavy Cruiser motorcycle design and performance. In just 8 short years there are now four flagship stores plus independent dealers in major markets in Australia and New Zealand, all conceived and driven by the Victory brand. The learnings and plain hard work of launching Victory has now set Indian Motorcycle on the path to even greater success.

During the last 8 years, Australia established itself as the largest unit volume market for Victory outside North America. That’s an astonishing feat given our population and a testament to the enthusiasm, loyalty and dedication of our customers and our staff.

To all Victory owners both new and old, we sincerely thank you for your passion and commitment. I have been privileged enough to meet and ride with many of you at rides and other events and look forward to riding with you well into the future. We and our dealer network are committed to continue to supply parts, service and warranty to ensure this happens.

Although a tough time for all of our staff, dealers and of course riders who have put an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears into Victory, there is a lot to be proud of and celebrate. Victory will always be a great motorcycle and a great brand that has punched well above its weight in Australia and New Zealand and forged a legacy that will take a lot of beating.

Victory Owners will always be part of the Polaris family, they will always be welcome and we will be continuing to sell these world class motorcycles for some time. Although the history books will start being written a little earlier than we would have liked, I’d like to thank all current and future Victory Owners for helping write a little bit of that history.

Comment

Mr and Mrs MotorbikeWriter on the Victory Cross Country Tour
Mr and Mrs MotorbikeWriter on a Victory Cross Country Tour in the US

Motorbike Writer has fond memories of Victory Motorcycles.

From the clunky bikes of their first days, they gradually improved powerplant refinement and build quality and were quite an enjoyable ride.

We travelled 6500km halfway across America in 2014 on a Victory Cross Country Tour and it remains Mrs MBW’s favourite bike for its plush ride, comfortable pillion position and industry-leading luggage capacity.

The introduction of the Octane cruiser  in 2016 showed that the company could still produce relevant and refined cruisers.

The company also showed that it was prepared to invest in research and development and prove their worth by going racing.

They compete in US drag racing, raced their electric bike at the Isle of Man TT and charged up the Pikes Beak International Hillclimb on a prototype.

It’s sad when any motorcycle brand dies, but one with this much passion and commitment will sorely be missed.

Mr and Mrs MotorbikeWriter on the Victory Cross Country Tour production

9 Comments

  1. From a purely marketing point of view, I did wonder why an American company (Victory) would want to take on an another American company – and established giant – (Harley) at the premium end of the cruiser market with a vee twin engined bike. That was always going to be tough, because not only do Harley put out the numbers and have the corporate back-up, but they have created and pretty much own the entire legend and the biker culture that comes with it.

    1. Foolishly they thought they could move in on Harley’s territory on the basis that the Victory was better, but Harley riders are not interested in better. They have a religious devotion that rules out rationalism.

  2. Problem was their “NESS” designs were alittle too orange county chopper for the public. All models bar the vision and Octane were too same-ish. Victory should’ve focused on techo-cruisers. Liquid cooled, digital displays, really give the bikes a futuristic edge. I love my softail, but really want an Octane to play on. Think buell meets ducati diesel with a dash of batman. That’s what they should’ve built. As well as an Asian market friendly model!

    I’d buy victory for a dollar and start from scratch!

  3. I wonder if it has anything to do with emissions laws, as the victory has an air cooled engine, and the R&D for two platforms was too costly?

  4. In consideration of market share with HD, will Indian be the next to fall over or will they thrive now its a one on one battle? Never understood Victory, did they really think they were going to make a dent in the HD market with nothing to offer over Harley and no history
    . Lets hope Indian, having a one hundred year history can be a real contender. P.S I own a ’42 Indian

    1. The beauty that was Victory was the ability to have a nice twin cruiser unbridled by tradition that is holding HD back.

      From my recollection the build quality and enginerring of Victory vs HD was paramount. Unfortunately this was not converted to sales.

      I only hope Indian can continue to provide an alternative to HD. I hope to pick one up next year.

  5. Absolutely devastated at the news. It was my dream to own one new and was looking to get one in the following year….

    I am glad they will still have parts for 10 years. It does show commitment on Polaris’s end.

  6. I am very surprised as I thought Victory were doing ok, but with the release of Indian motorcycles I probably shouldn’t be quite so surprised as Indian compete in the same market. I was considering a Victory myself but purchased an Indian Chieftain because it had that “little bit extra”. I am sure many others did the same.
    It actually surprises me that Polaris hasn’t considered a Learner type of motorcycle to try to get “brand loyalty” early in a rider’s biking experience. Maybe this is something Polaris should look at in it’s Scout range instead of having a Scout Sixty competing with the Scout (even though the Scout Sixty isn’t available in Australia). A cruiser in the 650 or smaller category would be very interesting, especially if you added cruise control.

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