Indian Motorcycle Sales Rise Slightly Amid Continuing Industry Downturn

Indian continues to gain traction in a down market.

Indian Motorcycle

Polaris Industries, the parent company of Indian Motorcycle, released its third quarter financial results on Monday morning. Overall, the company had a good quarter thanks to strong sales of its recreational off-road vehicles, its recently acquired boat properties, and some impressive international growth. But one key contributor that stands out is a slight bump in Indian motorcycle sales.

Polaris doesn't release exact sales figures for Indian, but it shared that the motorcycle maker saw “low-single-digit” growth compared to the third quarter of 2017. If that doesn't sound very impressive, consider that overall U.S. sales for 900cc and above motorcycles were down by over 10 percent during that same time.

Indian's success was driven by strong Scout and Scout Bobber sales, while heavyweight sales declined. The brand also saw a four percent decrease in its average selling price, since the more affordable bikes are the most popular in Indian’s lineup.

The company's modest success stands in contrast with the poor performance of the Polaris Slingshot, the other part of the Polaris Motorcycles division. The Slingshot had a lousy few months; retail sales fell by over 25 percent compared to the same time period last year. With Indian doing well and the Slingshot doing not-so-well, the entire Polaris Motorcycle division reported a flat quarter.

Internationally, Polaris saw motorcycle sales grow by 18 percent. Most of that happened in Europe, where the Indian Scout Bobber is popular and where the recently unveiled FTR 1200 is expected to be a hot seller.

So it looks like Indian is on a slightly better path than its main domestic rival—which jives with today's report that Indian dealers have seen an uptick in Harley-Davidson trade-ins lately after President Trump's war of words with the company this summer.