Indian Motorcycle Company Back in Business has New Home

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Is the 3rd time the charm for Indian Motorcycle?

It will be a Home Run
2
7%
Bases are loaded and we'll see...
17
57%
Struck Out
11
37%
 
Total votes: 30

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Lunchbox
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#41 Unread post by Lunchbox » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:26 pm

Lost amid the hoopla last week over Chris-Craft Corp.'s plan to expand in North Carolina was parent Stellican Ltd.'s other bombshell: The revival of the Indian Motorcycle Co.

For the investment firm and cycling enthusiasts worldwide alike, Indian's move to start production in Kings Mountain, N.C., was a momentous breakthrough.

For London-based Stellican, the announcement capped a two-year quest to resurrect the dormant motorcycle brand, America's oldest.

For cycling aficionados, it sparked a renewed interest in one of the industry's most storied names.

"With Indian, there's a sense of the nostalgic, and people identify with an icon being reborn," said Mike Clifford, owner of Helmet-stickers.com, a Hagerstown, Md.-based motorcycle accessory company.

Indian intends to invest roughly $23 million in a 40,000-square-foot, former International Paper plant to begin production.

The nine-year-old plant, about 40 miles outside Charlotte, can be expanded to 125,000 square feet. State and county officials provided Indian with $5.2 million in incentives.

There, it will manufacture several versions of a resurrected "Chief" cycle beginning in the second half of 2007.

"We believe the Chief will be the flagship for Indian, and that's our reason for focusing on it," said David Wright, Indian Motorcycle's president. "The Chief is a full-sized, heavy cruising bike and a premium product."

Wright added the company is in the process of developing a 1,638-cc, fuel-injected engine measuring 100 cubic inches.

In its first year, Indian plans to produce a limited number of motorcycles, likely numbering about 1,000. Beginning in the 2009 model year, Indian may reintroduce "Scout" and "Spirit" models.

He declined to say how much the revamped Chief would sell for, though it wouldn't be unrealistic for it to fetch between $30,000 and $40,000 in stores.

"We'll have relatively low volume and they'll be relatively higher priced as a result," said Wright, who owns a 2004 Chief.

For Florida, Indian's shift from Manatee County -- where it has been based since Stellican's acquisition in July 2004 -- represents another lost opportunity.

In addition to the 167 manufacturing jobs paying $47,000 annually that Indian expects to create initially, the company also intends to relocate its world headquarters.

Wright believes Indian's biggest challenges now are to find good employees, create a solid distribution and dealer network and, most importantly, to build a quality motorcycle.

"Ultimately we'll be judged by the quality of the product we make," Wright said. "We plan to introduce a product that's bulletproof from an engineering standpoint, that's beautiful and a good value, no matter the cost."

Indian will also have to overcome cynics who doubt whether the famed brand, which rivaled Harley-Davidson in sales and prestige until World War II, can truly make a comeback.

Indian, which stopped production in 1953, was last manufactured in California from 1998 to 2003.

"Indian continues to have a large cult following," Clifford said. "It's like Ford and Chevy. But they are going to have to show the world they'll be around awhile."

Clifford contends, however, that Indian could make inroads into Harley-Davidson, because the cycle giant hasn't updated its basic engine technology in more than three decades. Most of the 350,000 bikes Harley-Davidson produces annually, for instance, don't have fuel-injected engines.

Wright thinks interest in premium motorcycles is high enough that both Indian and Harley-Davidson can co-exist.

"I think the market is big enough for us to capture 10 percent of what Harley does," Wright said. "And that would be a $500 million-a-year business."

"Obviously, we're competing in the same arena as Harley-Davidson is, but we think with our heritage and exclusivity, together with our focus on engineering, that we'll have a better product."

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#42 Unread post by liablemtl » Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:11 am

Nice... I'll take a Scout, please. That's a good lookin' bike!
We're the first ones to starve
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#43 Unread post by crazy5dave » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:19 am

I hope they try harded than the last people. That power plus motor should NOT BE USE. Look at it. Is an Evo bottom end with round cylinders and heads. dont be fooled. They were mostly made buy S&S. Not a bad choise, but that does not make an Indian. I heard they had overheating problems. just like evos. DO like polaris/Victory, make you own stuff. Make your own mark. Yes it takes more time and costs more money, but they are still around and growing. They make good bikes too.
I dont know who the cliffard guy is in that article before, but he smokes crack. MOst harleys dont have EFI? really? well this year they all do and last year it was probably around 50-70%. Harleys are not made on 30 year old tech as he says, no Indians Are. Twin Cams and EVos are almost Night and Day. Than look at a V-rod. and 10% of HD sales are 35,000 bikes. At $30-40K for an Indian, Dream on. Sounds worst than the dreamers at Excellor-Henderson. Where did LUNCHBOX get that Sportsters are sold at a loss? Want a mono shock Harley? Its called a Buell

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#44 Unread post by Gummiente » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:32 am

crazy5dave wrote:DO like polaris/Victory, make you own stuff. Make your own mark. Yes it takes more time and costs more money, but they are still around and growing.
Victory had very deep Polaris pockets backing them through all phases - Indian had problems right from the start just getting enough investors to foot the bill for R&D and manufacturing costs. The decision to use S&S built motors at that time was a good one, considering their lack of funding. It also meant that parts were readily available from the aftermarket, which made it easier for owners to keep them on the road.

Yes, the new Indians are going to be pricey - they have to be in order to recoup startup costs and keep the investors happy. But will the Indian name and history be enough to keep them afloat? I had considered a new Victory a few years ago when I was in the market for a new bike, but eventually dropped it from the list due to a chronic lack of dealerships here in Canada. As much as I admire the new Indian and hope that it makes it into production, I can't see sinking $30-$40k into a bike that will have the same problem with accessibility. They're up against some pretty steep odds, even more so than the last group that got the marque going again, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.
:canada: Mike :gummiente:
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It's THAT you ride

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#45 Unread post by Lunchbox » Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:24 pm

Sam White on his Indian drag bike running the Power Plus engine.

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Another Indian drag bike underconstruction by James Epperson in Oregon and a blown Power Plus pushed to 120ci.

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#46 Unread post by Lunchbox » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:11 pm

crazy5dave wrote: Where did LUNCHBOX get that Sportsters are sold at a loss? Want a mono shock Harley? Its called a Buell
"The Evolution Sportster was a calculated gamble. The 883 was a loss leader. It was intended to bring new riders into the fold. The concept called for Sportster owners moving up to a Big Twins. It was a gamble that paid off."
http://www.bikernet.com/sportsters/Page ... PageID=250

That is one place on the web. Other then that; knowing many people who own HD dealerships and people who work for corporate.

The profits are in the “Big Twins” for the motor company ... well, they were. Now the profits are in all the other products they sell. Harley is a marketing company now, not a motorcycle company. I have no problem with that nor do I think it’s a bad thing. It’s just a fact. And they are one hell of a good marketing company.

Go into a HD dealership, what takes up the most space? It aint bikes. Now go into a Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki ... dealership, they have bikes on the floor.

Again, I have nothing against Harley
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#47 Unread post by Lunchbox » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:21 pm

crazy5dave wrote:At $30-40K for an Indian, Dream on. Sounds worst than the dreamers at Excellor-Henderson. Where did LUNCHBOX get that Sportsters are sold at a loss? Want a mono shock Harley? Its called a Buell
Buell is not a Harley it is a Buell. That is why they have a different name. So Buell maybe a mono shock but none of the Harley models are.

And if you go back and read ... and retain what you have read ... you will see that Indian has not stated a price point yet, that was the news writers guess. A news person who is not in the motor world at all cept for watching SR and Jr on OCC TV. When he hears the overinflated prices they get for their hack jobs you can cut the guy some slack for overguestimating the future MSRP.

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#48 Unread post by crazy5dave » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:30 am

Now Lunchbox smokes crack too. Read your own article. Harley may have lost money on a sportster in 86, but not today. You know noone in a dealer or they are telling fibs to you. I WORK IN A HD DEALER. YOU are so wrong. Every bike sold at MSRP, and they all are, has a built in profit margin of a certin percent. I wont tell you what it is, but the dealer makes money on sportsters and all bikes. But like any thing elsa its a percentage. so you of course you dont make as much on a $6500 sportster as a $32K SE Bike. But if you sold a sportster with $3k worth of Parts and Accessories(which have a much higher retail mark up plus labor.) Yes you can substantual raise you profit margin on that sale. Thats called good business.
Lets compare and contrast HD vs Japanese bike dealers. The American HD dealer i worked in last year, 80-90% of the bikes that came in were pre sold. YOur bikes here come pick it up. Not many bikes on the floor that way. HDs parts catalog is phone book size. More inventory more space. Japanese dealers have lots of bike, more than one brand? Lots of different Models. Small parts catalogs. Figure it out.

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