Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Night At the Victory/Polaris Press Meeting

Robert Pandya, Polaris External Relations Manager started off the press meet by introducing the various division managers for the company. The discussion started with a brief update on Polaris' newest acquisition, Indian Motorcycles. Job one is to bring Indian engineering up to Victory and Polaris' standards. We were told that Polaris is committing funding Indian equally to its commitment to Victory. Dealerships will be strictly limited to "right sizing" with a focus on dealerships that are sustainable, and an emphasis on premium service. The ultimate goal is to restore Indian to its 1930's-’40's glory. In the short run there will be five models total, and the release will likely be a mid 2012 start date.

       Rod Krois, the Marketing Director addressed the Victory strategy for the near term, which will emphasis demo rides, and pulling celebrity riders into the mix. A current promotion is the "World's Longest Test Drive," with celebrities from the motorcycling world and riders of competitive brands comparing notes as they tour across the country from California to Washington DC, where they will donate a pair of bikes to the Wounded Warrior Project.
      Ben Lindaman, Product Manager talked about the Victory Edge program with emphasis on areas that the company regards as it's competitive edge over other similarly equipped models from other manufacturers. Some of those features are higher performance (more horsepower), greater comfort (lower seat heights), grater reliability, and a styling edge. They showed examples of substantially lower prices for motorcycles that exceed the competition from several manufacturers. 
     It was announced that the company's intention is to have a major model press release every six months, to keep the public's attention.
     The newest model for 2012 is the Cross Country Tour, and this model features an all-new Comfort Control System, with upper and lower air control systems which allow air to circulate in warm weather, and vents that close in colder climates. The lower leg fairings also incorporate glove boxes on each side, one of which houses the the iPod dock. The Cross Country Tour also has the tallest windshield ever offered, and we'll be reviewing this tomorrow.
       Also new for the touring models are adjustable floorboards for the passenger, which rotate 10 degrees, and two inches vertically.