I don’t know about you, but it really pisses me off when companies replicate instead of innovate. Case in point: I’m looking at two new Indian motorcycle bagger models. The Indian Chieftain Limited and the Indian Chieftain Elite. Both of these motorcycles look a lot like Harley Davidson’s Street Glide. The motorcycle bagger market is the “cash cow” for HD. Road Glides and Street Glides are leaving HD’s factories like bullets out of AR-15 in full auto! Sorry about the gun reference, but it fits.
You don’t need a PhD to figure out that Indian’s Chieftain Limited is trying to go head-to-head with HD’s Street Glide Special. Duh! Nor do you need to use a super computer to determine which HD model Indian’s Chieftain Elite is gunning for. Double duh!! Before this goes any further, I own a 2015 Indian Roadmaster and a 2014 HD Ultra Limited. So you don’t need to reply with the following words of wisdom. You suck big time, Harley boy! Or my all-time favorite, “F$$k you, f$$k your Harley, I’m going to kill you when I see you.” Writing a blog is a lot more dangerous than you might imagine.
Okay, you’re probably wondering what’s the point to all of this babble. Companies that replicate will go the way of the dinosaur. Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Victory and Yamaha have all failed against the motorcycle giant Harley Davidson. In many cases, the other manufacturers built a better mousetrap. But when you compare silhouettes, they were pretty much copies of what was already in the marketplace. The lesson learned is that most consumers don’t want replicas or derivatives, they want the original.
Just so were clear here. Innovation is a tough road to go. It takes balls and a lot of money. To make matters worse, the motorcycle marketplace takes no prisoners. Either you’re going to sell your product or you’re going to shut down the assembly lines. It’s that simple. The fairytale story of four guys building a motorcycle in a shed sounds wonderful and also provides solid street cred for the brand. But the truth is that Wall Street runs the show.
Polaris has resurrected the Indian brand which provided them with some leverage that the other manufacturers didn’t have to use in the marketplace. They also kept true to the design of the prior Indian motorcycle models. That was enough for me to purchase one. I believed they had a line of motorcycles that could stand on their own in the marketplace. With a little patience and a whole lot of money, I’m pretty sure that the Indian brand would be a strong competitor with Harley Davidson in the market place.
But it appears, Polaris is running out of patience and looking at their stock prices and seem to be running out of money. I find this a troubling trend to parallel what Harley Davidson is doing. In my opinion, this strategy threatens the brand’s survival in the marketplace.
Since I can’t just grab photos of Harley Davidson’s Street Glide Special or Indian’s Chieftain Limited off of the internet. This act could land me in copyright jail. I provided two links below. Do me a favor, click on these links below and compare them. I’d like to hear your thoughts about the two motorcycles.