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Indian Motorcycle Sales Up Again in Polaris Q2 Results

Slingshot sales dip as Indian continues multi-year rise in sales

An increase in Indian Motorcycle sales contributed to an overall positive quarter for the brand’s Minnesota-based parent company, Polaris. Though the company’s motorcycle segment sales as a whole saw a 13-percent decrease from the same time period last year.

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There’s always something of the dark arts to reading a Polaris quarterly report, especially if – like me – all you really care about is learning about the performance of a single aspect of its business. I mean, I guess it’s nice to know Polaris is selling a bunch of off-road vehicles but that’s not really what we’re interested in here at TMO*.

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Polaris doesn’t lay things out in as orderly a fashion as Harley-Davidson. It doesn’t tell you how many units it sold, for example, nor where in the world they were sold. So, playing the guessing game of what Indian may or may not do as a result of all this isn’t as much fun.

Nonetheless, here’s what we do know. Polaris’ motorcycle segment sales – a broad category that includes Indian, Slingshot, and their related parts, garments and accessories – totaled US $171 million on the second quarter of 2018. That’s down from the $198 million of sales in the same quarter of 2017, but actual gross profit was up – $25 million in Q2 2108 compared to $21 million in Q2 2017. If you want to play the comparison game, Harley-Davidson’s gross profit from motorcycle sales in Q2 2018 was in excess of of $532 million – kind of a little bit more.

RELATED: Europe Again Offers Silver Lining as Harley Releases Gloomy Q2 2018 Report

Despite a North American market that is struggling overall – especially in the 600cc+ segment in which the brand operates – Indian Motorcycle retail sales increased “mid-single digits percent” in the market, according to Polaris. Slingshot’s retail sales were down, however, which is probably where we can point the finger of blame when discussing the Polaris motorcycle segment’s overall dip in sales.

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Indian says it managed to gain market share in Q2 2018, but again, doesn’t say by how much. Considering the fact Harley-Davidson controls 48.4 percent of the US market, we can probably assume that Indian’s stake in the remaining 52.6 percent – competing against, you know, every other motorcycle brand we can name – isn’t yet ginormous. To that end, you have to give Indian credit for cleverly managing to project itself as bigger and more important than its actual numbers might suggest. I believe that’s called the Law of Attraction.

Meanwhile, Polaris continues to have to spend moola to free itself of Victory. The company chose to shutter the brand in 2017 and focus its efforts on the more profitable Indian name. Through 2018, Polaris expects to incur costs “in the range of $80 million to $85 million through 2018, 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.”

SORT OF RELATED: The TMO Q2 2018 Report

“I am very pleased with the Polaris team and the strong execution they delivered across the business during the second quarter,” said Scott Wine, Chairman and CEO of Polaris Industries. “With solid retail growth and market share gains in both our off-road vehicle business and Indian motorcycles, we are clearly reaping the benefits of our safety and quality investments, new product innovations, and improved delivery performance.”

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*What do you bet that statement comes back to haunt me? It’s my fickle nature that next week some manufacturer will let me loose on a 4×4 and I’ll come back from the experience with some article that says something like: “Guys! Guys! I need to tell you how off-road vehicles can help solve all the world’s problems!”