The War Heats Up Between Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles
On the verge of unveiling the new Indian Chief at Sturgis in August, Indian Motorcycles is set to release a commercial ad worthy of an old fashion challenge to a duel complete with glove slap. Airing next week, a slimmed down version of the ad below will appear nationally. No doubt the legendary rivalry of the two companies has now been taken up by their respective ad agencies, and what better way to make a splash at a major event than to poke fun at the competition. The psychology behind that being, it must be a damn good bike if they’re willing to publicly take on Harley-Davidson. But Indian Motorcycles in many ways is a new company now owned by Polaris, makers of snowmobiles and their own brand of motorcycle. Taking a cue from Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycles is set to launch the return of the Indian Chief, doing what Harley-Davidson has done since it’s rebirth in the early 80’s, market nostalgia. Let’s face it, if I could buy ’55 Chevy Bel Air 2dr coupes new, I’d buy them all day long, same as a ’63 split window Vette, or 67 Mustang fastback, motorcycles are no different the appeal is timeless. So with that said, Polaris and Indian Motorcycles have done their homework and studied the trends that have worked both in the motorcycle and automotive industries for the past 2 decades and has the ability to cash in on it. The question is, can they pull it off?
The question of whether or not they can pull it off depends on a number of things, the approach they take to marketing, the product offered, and the network to back it up. Defining your intended market is key, where most companies fall short is limiting marketing to one demographic, although we can safely say this one won’t go too well with sport bike or moto-offroad riders. Hip and trendy will always surge in whatever product you bring to market, but one that has history, branding, and cultural impact will always have it’s market. Whether it’s the middle aged professional wanting a bike similar to his dad’s or grandfather’s, a younger person wanting to break away from the pack of high revving bumble bees and set their own course as an individual, to the kind of women who get weak in the knees at a 50’s or 60’s rusted pickup truck and value their longevity. They are the masters of their identity, unwilling to be defined by the masses or anyone else. Same bike, three different demographics, it all depends on the angle taken, and taking care not to offend anyone in the process, except the competition maybe…
Indian Motorcycles is giving Harley-Davidson a run for the money in new markets like India, but to really make a statement, and take a foothold, you have to draw first blood on home turf. Blood drawn….how will the challenged respond?[amzn_product_inline asin=’0785830170′]