Indian FTR 1200 S Is Helping Polaris Thrive While Harley Struggles
I mean, look at that thing. It's just math.
All hail the Indian FTR 1200 S. According to Polaris, it’s a major reason why Indian motorcycle sales grew by an unexpected 15% in the second quarter of 2019. The Medina, Minnesota, company is likely breathing a sigh of relief, even as its Milwaukee-based competition in the heavy American cruiser space is smarting from its own sales decline.
Slingshot sales are down, and the market for mid-to-heavyweight motorcycles overall has been down across North America, Polaris noted in its official report. The company also credits interest in the FTR 1200 S with driving Indian Motorcycles’ 13-percent rise in international sales. All figures were reported as compared with the same time period in 2018.
Overall, Polaris did better than forecasts had predicted, especially considering the current US trade war with China. Sales across all Polaris divisions collectively rose 18%. The company took quick action to mitigate the effects of tariffs on its operations, including moving some production back into the US. Still, it did not manage to escape entirely unscathed. Net income fell five percent—a fact that Polaris largely attributes to the tariffs—and despite the company’s overall sales growth.
Off-road vehicles are still Polaris’ single biggest segment, and that category saw growth of six percent. The official Q2 earnings report drove a swift response from investors; the stock price rose almost 12 percent by the close of business on Tuesday, after the announcement.
In addition to off-road vehicles and motorcycles, Polaris acquired a boat business at the end of 2018. It also purchased Transamerican Auto Parts, an aftermarket parts and accessories retailer aimed at Jeeps and trucks, back in 2016.
This good news for Polaris could also potentially be good news for fans of the FTR 1200 S—and even more importantly, new FTR 1200-shaped directions that Indian might be willing to explore further. Maybe it’s not that consumers, both at home and abroad, don’t want American motorcycles anymore. Maybe it’s just that we want them to evolve.