Medina-based Polaris Industries' revival of the Indian motorcycle is revving the economy in Iowa. The Des Moines Register reports that Polaris has about doubled its Iowa workforce at plants in Spirit Lake and Milford, adding 125 workers to make Indian's Classic, Vintage and Chieftain motorcycles. Polaris is investing about $30 million into an addition at the Milford facility.
Polaris' purchase two years ago of the storied Indian Motorcycle Co. is behind the uptick. The company, known as a maker of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and Victory motorcycles, has invested $100 million on the resurrected lineup.
The Business Journal reported that the Indian motorcycles can be ordered now, and will be available at dealerships starting in September. Polaris plans to add up to 140 dealers in North America by the end of the year, with revenue expected to climb by 12 to 15 percent.
The Indian lineup premiered to an enthusiastic crowd at the Sturgis motorcycle rally and the 2014 Indian Chief made its debut to a nationwide audience on History channel's "American Pickers" program. The show host Mike Wolfe, of LeClaire, Iowa, an Indian collector, has become the motorcycle's pitchman.
“I get approached by lots of brands, but this makes a lot of sense for me. I feel like I’m knowledgeable, and I’m proud to talk about Indian,” Wolfe said in a Fox Business report.
The Fargo Forum reported that Indian Motorcycle of Fargo became one of the first dealerships in the country that will offer the brand’s all-new line.
“The technology they (Polaris) were able to put into these bikes has been superior, over the top,” said Ceaja Philp, spokeswoman for the Fargo dealership. “We’ve had a lot of pre-deposits on the bikes. People are extremely excited about their performance, their history.”
The Des Moines Register has a Gee Whiz video from the production line: