We managed to catch up with Mr. Pankaj Dubey who was at the inauguration of two off road tracks in Bangalore where people would have the opportunity to ride a Polaris ATV for a small fee. We fired off a couple of quick questions and here’s what we learned during the interview.
Mr. Dubey had announced during the launch of the Polaris brand in India, that they hope to achieve revenues of $100 million by 2016. We asked if Polaris was on its way towards that goal. Dubey explained that the adventure sports was growing at a brisk pace in India. He explained that tourism and adventure sports were the biggest markets that Polaris has been catering to. He mentioned a three digit growth rate year on year which he explained would help them achieve the $100 Million revenue target by 2016.
We also questioned him about how Polaris was catering to the service needs of its customers. He pointed out that the entire Polaris range is not road legal and is purpose built to be ridden/driven off road. For customers to transport their Polaris ATVs to the workshop would be an additional expense. Instead, every Polaris dealer has trained mechanics who are dispatched to the customers place for service.
It was then we popped the question of if Victory Motorcycles was coming to India anytime soon. A very positive Dubey stressed that Victory Motorcycles as well as Polaris’ recent acquisition ‘Indian Motorcycle’ were coming to India soon.
Victory Motorcycles is a brand built from scratch by Polaris to take on Harley Davidson, the efforts have so far been futile. Although the brand has been around for 15 years, when Polaris’ current CEO Scott Wine came on board in 2009 the brand had a 2% market share in North America. While that number has grown close to 5% now, most of the share has been grabbed from the Japanese big four. Victory is yet to make a dent into the 80% market share that Harley Davidson has.
Scott Wine, hopes this is what the Indian brand will help them do. With over 25 motorcycles of the old Indian design that will be made, Polaris also has plans for a completely new design to be unveiled the summer of 2014. Polaris has also engineered a throaty new V-Twin called the Thunder Stroke 111, that will power the new Indian Motorcycle coming in 2014.
With the commercial success that Harley Davidson is enjoying in India, as well as the increasing number of models that are being assembled here instead of being imported as CBUs, Victory & Indian should wade into these strange waters without hesitation.
As the last question we asked Dubey if the company still had plans to introduce in India low speed electric vehicles, courtesy of Polaris’ acquisition of Global Electric Motors. Dubey pointed out that they were only conducting a market study last year and they have come to a conclusion that further study is required before a decision is made on this front. Our interpretation, well GEM isn’t coming anytime soon.