Polaris CEO touts Indian, Victory strength over Harley

Both companies see challenging industry moving forward

Minneapolis-based Polaris Industries Inc. reported its Indian Motorcycle and Victory brands increased sales in the “low-teens percent” during the quarter, with chairman and chief executive officer Scott Wine highlighting September results in particular.

Indian motorcycle shutterstock

“While a heavyweight competitor recently commented on improved performance in September, it’s worth noting that Indian and Victory grew more than twice as fast in that period,” Wine said.

The comments are a reference to Matt Levatich, CEO of Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc., reporting that his company’s retail sales were up 5 percent in the United States during September, including a double-digit increase in touring models following the launch of the new Milwaukee-Eight engine.

Harley reported a 4.5 percent drop in retail sales of motorcycles during the quarter and revenue was down 4.3 percent.

Executives at both companies said during earnings calls that the market for motorcycles, particularly in North America, is facing challenges. In particular, they highlighted weakness in oil and in agriculturally dependent areas.

Wine said Polaris’ motorcycle segment “continued to prove the combination of a legendary brand, great bikes and a strong and improving dealer network can grow in any market.”

Earlier this year, Wine said he thought Indian and Victory could benefit from Harley’s increased investment in marketing.

Revenue for Polaris’ motorcycle segment was down 3 percent during the third quarter, to $183.2 million. Polaris attributed the drop to the timing of shipments of its Slingshot brand. The segment reported a gross profit of $21.2 million, down 26 percent from last year.

Overall, Polaris’ net income was down 79 percent, to $32 million, with earnings dropping from $2.30 to 50 cents per diluted share. Revenue was down 19 percent, to $1.19 billion.

The company has been dealing with a number of recalls of its RZR vehicles and incurred $65 million in recall related costs during the quarter.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

No posts to display