“Off the reservation” is a common phrase, which many people use without considering the context of its original meaning. Namely, that Native American peoples were restricted to reservations created by the U.S. government, and their freedom was severely limited by the terms of the treaties they were often forced to sign.
I’m using it in its literal sense (to deviate from what is expected) and as you might anticipate it’s a reference to Indian motorcycles rampant sales and intractable competition versus the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
Harley-Davidson posted flat sales for Q2 2014, yet Indian/Polaris posted higher revenues for the second quarter 2014 at $1.01 billion, reflecting an increase of 20% over last year’s second quarter sales of $844.8 million. Polaris stated that sales at its motorcycles division soared 107% year-over-year to $103.1M in large part due to strong demand for the new 2014 Indian motorcycles. Clearly they have deviated from what was expected. One could debate that given Polaris motorcycle revenue is much smaller than Harley’s, it’s easier for them to hit double digit growth numbers, but that would be down playing the strong demand for the Indian products.
Additionally, Harley-Davidson stated its share of the market for new heavyweight motorcycles with engines of 601 cubic centimeters or greater slipped to about 50% in Q2 2014 from 53% a year earlier. Another indicator that competition is weighing on the company.
Financial calls with terms like ‘diluted earnings’ and ‘operating efficiencies’, don’t mean much to riders and it’s not like Harley-Davidson is hurting. But, it’s good to see Indian doing well with North American retail sales up 15% year-over-year in the second quarter.
Full Disclosure: I’ve got a riding buddy who traded his H-D Street Glide in on a new 2014 Indian back in January and loves it. There is no dealer in Oregon yet and he went to the extra effort of buying it from a Seattle dealer.
Photo courtesy of Indian/Polaris.
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