The Return of Indian Motorcycles — Motorcycle USA

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Indian Scout Cruiser

The Return of Indian Motorcycles

like this 1946 helped Indian claim its of the American-made heavyweight cruiser The marque is putting the pieces for its much-anticipated return to the ring in Fall, 2007.

The Chief. The The Spirit. The names are legendary. valanced fenders. The Indian logo. Deep red paint. The cues are unforgettable. Once were two proud competitors for supremacy in the American-made heavyweight market, icons in the American scene. One has withstood the tests of The other has fallen victim to a business world where and financial woes spell doom.

But the return of Indian is nigh, and the ghosts of George M. and Carl Oscar Hedstrom are awaiting the resurrection of the motorcycle they made famous.

to see the Indian Chief rolling a roadway near you late in the of 2007. So says Chairman of Motorcycles, Stephen Julius, who granted MotorcycleUSA an exclusive

Besides serving as chairman for Motorcycles, Julius is a managing for the private equity firm, Limited. Stellican Limited the rights to Indian in July of The firm has a history of bringing iconic heritage brands on the fringes of obscurity and returning to a prosperous, competitive state. did it with Chris-Craft boats. brought the Italian yacht Riva back to respectability.

even kick-started Vicenza. a team in the Italian Premier Now Stellican has its sights set on defibrillating the Indian Motorcycle Company and life into one of the most names in American motorcycling

Will they be successful? on and find out what Julius has to

MCUSA: Why buy a motorcycle company has struggled in its recent past?

If a motorcycle marque that is recognizable, it’s Indian.

Julius: I specialize in buying brand names that had troubles in their past. The that it’s had a troubled doesn’t concern me in the slightest. brands, if you do the right things them, if you manage to fulfill a to the brand by creating a beautiful then the brand equity come flooding to the surface very quickly. What needs is to be treated right. Its needs to be respected but its future to be recognized.

If you can produce a blend of products which harks and takes cues from the then you’ll have a product. Great brands and products will succeed in environments.

For me, this is a 10, 15, 20-year this is not a 12-month project. under the long term, is a brand that has tremendous and in the competitive environment you mentioned American-made heavyweight cruiser there is clearly an opportunity for American brand apart Harley-Davidson. We would be delighted to a very, very tiny of what Harley has and we can create a distinguished business.

We’re not trying to go out there and with anyone out there and we are going to follow our own niche. We it’s out there.

MCUSA: are your immediate goals for the

Indian Motorcycles opened two prior to Harley-Davidson and enjoyed success early on with engineering like this Hedstrom-designed 1000cc 1911 V-Twin Indian.

Stephen We have set up a factory in Kings North Carolina. We have it up with engineers. We have 14 to and that’s increasing monthly, but it is an engineering team and what doing for the most of this is focusing on getting the product engineered. It’s our objective to back to full-sail production by the end of this year.

Our short objective is to get the bike engineered and our objective (meaning by the end of this is to start production. The whole is in addressing all the issues that the Indian failed to address.

What do you perceive as the biggest Indian will have to initially?

Stephen Julius: I to see the world as an opportunity, not an obstacle. But will undoubtedly be some Thomases out in the market, especially maybe who have purchased from the previous Indian and of them may have felt shortchanged by the product they For them, we feel tremendous

So, inevitably, for a company that has had a past, we will have to those who don’t feel the company can make it. There’s a PR that we need to address and the way to address Doubting Thomases and PR is not by making lots of claims in the it’s actually by producing a that is clearly a quality that fulfills what it to be able to do.

That’s the way we will win people, one step at a time, one at a time as we rebuild the house of It’s not going to happen but as we saw this very clearly Chris-Craft, there were who didn’t believe we could do it we started six years ago, but we won consumers over, we won dealers and we won even employees over.

that maybe wouldn’t joined us six years ago are knocking on our today to join us as employees and There’s no magic to this. just got to do it right, slowly, take our time and not think it’s going to happen

Stellican Ltd. has a history of iconic heritage American Look at what they’ve with Chris-Craft. Can Stelllican’s touch return Indian to glory?

MCUSA: How is your resurrecting Chris-Craft boats to help you in resurrecting Indian?

Julius: There are tremendous between these two brands. are both iconic heritage brands. These words are important: iconic, American, brands. They are both in the industry; they are both on dealer networks for distributing the they are both based on a dream and a lifestyle to consumers.

 We are cognizant of the similarities. Obviously are hugely different in many ways but viewed from a perspective they are very so a lot of the issues we’ve had to address Chris-Craft and indeed with the company I owned in Italy, was called Riva, (known as the of boats in Italy) and probably one of the famous boat companies in the It’s the same issues all the

MCUSA: How well is the Reserve 2008 Chief program

Stephen Julius: We have a on our Website where people can a bike for 2008 and pay a $1000 and we have received a number of Every week that’s We are pleasantly surprised and pleased by the people in the market seem to be on our re-launch brands.

We view very clearly as a production house. We are not a custom motorcycle Probably the previous Indian from having started as a motorcycle company in 1998.

the trademarks were purchased in they reversed it into a motorcycle house called the Motorcycle Company. It was early in they decided to become a production house and they felt that it could be instantly and it can’t.

Indian will be powered by a revamped 100 mill. Previously the Powerplus was a V-Twin 100 cubic-inch 1638cc

MCUSA: So you’ve elected to use own Powerplus 100 (previously a 45-degree 100ci 1638cc engine). is going to be built in-house?

Julius: We are going to be producing our own in-house, which is quite a task, but we’re confident we will be able to produce a engine at the end of it. To contract out would been the obvious and easy for us. But since day one, one of the reasons spent two years together my colleagues was to really examine the

We spoke to all the major manufacturers, around the world trying to understand the economics of the business, is the market going, what had and we decided, no, we have to have our own There’s no way we could buy an engine a third party. That’s why decided to go this route.

It’s taking us longer, but I long term we’re the right thing.

MCUSA: How dealers are you looking for as a good network?

Stephen Julius: made our own forecast for the number of we want to sell in the first and we’ve established how many that would have to up in order to do that, but these are not we’re willing to disclose at point. We’ll start the of building a dealer network in the second half of this in time for the commercial launch.

we’re not going to do is sign up a number of dealers just to be to say that we’ve got ‘X’ of dealers. I think it’s that we choose our dealers so that we have the right I’d rather have no than the wrong dealer. already gone through experience with Chris-Craft.

probably one of the biggest challenges we face, over and above the issues, is building the right base.

MCUSA: What’s the buzz that you’re are people excited about the of the Indian?

Stephen Julius: made a point of not really much to anyone. I’ve shy to speak to newspapers just we wanted to quietly get the word out I think the problem with the Indian was too much talk and not action.

What we want to do now is get done and talk about it we’ve already had it built. been quite consciously to keep our heads low and I think going to be our general strategy year. But I think certainly been a lot of interest. We’ve had and thousands of e-mails, we’ve had thousand applicants to be dealers not just around America but the world.

At times it’s quite difficult to manage the of interest that we’ve had at the dealer and consumer level.

In all models were fitted the large skirted fenders became an Indian trademark, and the gained a new sprung frame at a when Harley-Davidson’s still had an rear end.

MCUSA: first bike is going to be the Are you going to continue using of the Chief, like the Chief the Chief Springfield, and the Chief

Stephen Julius: Absolutely. will be several exciting of the Chief. So that will be the model, but really, because of all the you could argue that are going to be several models of the

After that, we will on with a lighter bike the Chief.

MCUSA: Are you going to continue the model names Indian has established, like the Chief, the and the Spirit?

Stephen Julius: try to use, where possible, Indian names, yes. And that’s not possible, then come up with alternatives. enough names that we registered in our ownership that have plenty of names for the we want to develop certainly the next two to three years.

Do you think that somewhere the line Indian will out into other platforms, BMW did with its 450 Enduro?

Stephen That’s certainly a possibility we consider.

Indian motorcycles, this 1911 Indian TT continue to garner a lot of attention classic motorcycle collectors. A Indian 7-hp Twin sold at the Legends of the Motorcycle for $46,800.

MCUSA: Indian has a of involvement in the racing industry, the Isle of Man TT in 1911, as the 1st winner at and with countless victories on the circuit. Does Indian any plans to venture back the racing realm?

Stephen I think that is a possibility we would very seriously With a brand as big as Indian, is very little that we do as far as types of motorcycles. We have to be when starting up about to want to do a bunch of very things, so we are going to approach very slowly, but if you ask, do we the credibility to do these various that you’ve just absolutely.

MCUSA: Will you to use successful styling cues the Indian is known for, the Indian head-dress logo and the red color used in its logo and in on bikes)?

Indian Scout Cruiser

Stephen Julius: we’ve got to do, we’ve got to take cues from the past and them with contemporary cues that are relevant to consumer. Today’s consumer a single person, it’s into many different not just 40- to 65-year-olds. It’s going to be younger consumers. We to do this one step at a time.

wasn’t built in a day and this is as big as building Rome, I assure We’ve pulled together a tremendous engineering team so and that is the basis for any good company, apart from a great brand, is having a engineering team.

We ran across a few classically-styled Indians during our visit to the 2007 Laughlin Run.

MCUSA: What the deeply valanced fenders is synonymous with Indian

Stephen Julius: Certainly we offer those on some of the like the Chief.

MCUSA: can we expect to see the first new Indian hit the

Stephen Julius: You know by the end of this year you’ll see hitting the streets, that’s my We want to get the engineering right, more important to me than month I hit the streets with the to be really honest. We’re the end of this year or the beginning of year.

MCUSA: How has the move to Mountain been working

The 1909 Indian that ‘Cannonball’ Baker rode to in one of the first races at the Indianapolis Speedway had no brakes, no front a tiny rear fender and chain drive.

Stephen Tremendously. The state of North and Cleveland County, the county our plant is and the city of Kings all three of them have remarkably welcoming, supportive, We are thrilled to be here. It’s a state to be in. It’s also the of the powersports industry of the U.S.

lots of talented people to us and there’s also people to move to the state to work for us. hiring people from the United States, so where we are is pretty important.

MCUSA: How people does the facility employ?

Stephen Julius: now, it’s a small of 14 engineers in Kings Mountain. increasing, and we will be several within the next couple of

MCUSA: There have stories in the media where Americans have protested their likeness in a manner perceive as offensive. They tried to have the professional team the Atlanta Braves their name. Have you had any feedback from Native groups over the use of the word and ‘Chief’ and ‘Scout’?

Stephen Well, let me make two comments. anything we will do will not be in any way disparaging to the Native American here. We are proud to be associated them.

Secondly, these were raised in the past and were dealt with, after quite long and legal cases in the courts and all been resolved, so that’s not that is of concern to us.

MCUSA: a faithful following anxiously the release of the new Indians. What you like to say to the Indian faithful?

Godfrey, Franklin and Moorehouse 1st, 2nd, and 3rd aboard motorcycles in the 1911 Isle of Man TT, and Indian have gone

Stephen Julius: Be patient us. We’re coming back, and we come back, I hope you be proud and satisfied with the we’re doing. Thank you for your continued support, it a tremendous amount to us and our employees. rooting for us helps us.

Doing what we’re is not easy. It’s challenging and that there are people out that want us to succeed is important. This brand is a national American asset and it to succeed and it deserves to be alive and it to be healthy and producing a great My team and I are determined to make it a

Thank you and be patient.

MCUSA: Are you to have them build you a Chief?

Stephen Julius: I’m going to have we sell to consumers, whatever’s enough for them is good for me. The irony is when you own a bike or company, you’re usually the guy to get a bike or a boat because you to ship it off to a customer first. I’ll take whatever’s when the time comes.

What do you like to do in your time, if you have any?

Julius: I have three children that are a source of joy to me and I have a lovely wife. I boating, and biking when I time. I commute all the time London and the United States so I have a huge amount of time with a young and two thriving businesses.

I did get to take my out to Sturgis for three days past year (2006).

Motorcycles is finally controlled by an with the necessary funding, the track record, and the commitment to which should help the regain the prominence it once Taking time to research the establishing a nucleus of qualified and not rushing to put a product in the marketplace its time demonstrates the entrepreneurial Julius has honed through his business acquisitions.

The decision to use a engine is a smart move. to use the easily recognizable styling that helped make the famous is another. MotorcycleUSA awaits the Chief’s introduction and be keeping an eye out for an invitation to be one of the first to the revered Indian steed.

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Indian Scout Cruiser
Indian Scout Cruiser
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