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Indian Sales Up Amid Mixed-Bag Polaris Q1 Report

Increase in Indian sales manages to overcome drop in Slingshot sales and deliver profit to Polaris' motorcycle segment

Sales of Indian Motorcycle models were up in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same time period last year. Though, due to the fact Polaris deals in more than just motorcycles and its reports aren’t as detailed as those offered by Harley-Davidson, it’s difficult to determine exactly how well the brand is doing.

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Motorcycle segment sales, including parts garment and accessories, totaled US $132 million, according to the Minnesota-based company – an increase of 9 percent over 2017. Polaris’ motorcycle segment includes Indian, Slingshot, and the zombie corpse of Victory, the latter two actually creating a drain on Polaris’ balance sheet.

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“Slingshot sales were down low-double digits percent,” states the report released Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the continuing wind down of Victory is expected to see the Indian’s parent company recording costs in the range of $80 million to $90 million through 2018. The costs are associated with supporting Victory dealers in selling their remaining inventory, the disposal of factory inventory, tooling, and other physical assets, and the cancellation of various supplier arrangements.

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“The decision is expected to improve the long-term profitability of Polaris and its global motorcycle business, while materially improving the Company’s competitive position in the industry,” claims the report.

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The success of the limited-edition Jack Daniels Indian Scout Bobber no doubt helped improve Indian’s first quarter

In the more immediate term, a “low double digits percent” increase in Indian’s sales (Just give us the actual damned numbers, Polaris!) was enough for the overall motorcycle segment to claim the aforementioned 9-percent boost.

Polaris is quick to point out that these gains were made amid a sagging North American motorcycle market. Its Q1 report also draws attention to the fact that the region experienced “unusually cold and wet weather in March,” which would presumably have a negative effect on sales.

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As was the case for Harley-Davidson, Indian saw an increase in sales internationally – especially in the EMEA region, which, from a financial standpoint, consists mostly of Europe (Africa is big, but the folks there aren’t buying a whole hell of a lot of high-end bikes).

Some other stuff happened for Polaris – its motorcycle segment accounts for only 13 percent of the company’s overall sales – but I don’t really care about those things because: not motorcycles. If you care, you can check out the full 2018 first quarter report on the Polaris Investor Relations website.