Polaris Moves Indian Motorcycle Production to Spirit Lake Iowa
According to the Sioux City Journal, Polaris is planning on moving production of the recently purchased Indian Motorcycles to its manufacturing facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Scheduled for later this year, the move will not create additional jobs at the factory, which already employs more than 535 people, according to company spokesperson Marlys Knutson.
Polaris, based in Medina, Minn., will close the existing Indian manufacturing plant in Kings Mountain, N.C., in the next two to three months, Knutson said. It’s unknown when production will start up in Spirit Lake, she said.
The addition of Indian Motorcyles adds to the product mix at the Spirit Lake plant, which will continue to assemble Polaris’ own motorcycle brand, Victory, as well as Ranger and RZR side-by-side vehicles, Knutson said. In addition, the Lakes area plant does some contract work for the U.S. military and for Bobcat, maker of a popular steer-steer loader line.
Around 100 jobs have been added at the Spirit Lake plant in the past year to meet increased demand for products, Knutson said.
Indian Motorcycles, founded in 1901, two years before Harley-Davidson, was the nation’s largest motorcycle maker in the early 1900s. Indian’s best-selling model, the Chief, became known for the Red Indian logo on its fuel tank.
After twice filing for bankruptcy, production of Indians restarted three years ago after its previous owners brought the business to Kings Mountain. Twenty-five people currently work at Indian’s North Carolina site, which includes office staff, Knutson said.
In an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Polaris CEO Scott Wine said the Indian brand builds on Polaris’ presence in the $4 billion heavyweight motorcycle market, which it entered about 12 years ago. Of Polaris’ $2 billion in annual sales, about $82 million currently comes from Victory.
Wine told the Star Tribune the Indian, a heritage brand with classic style, appeals to a different market segment than the Victory, which is more popular with performance enthusiasts.