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Polaris Industries paints a better picture


Polaris Industries is patching up its painting facilities after a debacle involving cost-cutting by executives that underestimated motorcyclists’ penchant for a glossy finish.

The company is now buying a building near Sturgis, South Dakota, to use as additional liquid paint capacity for Indian and Victory motorcycles.

This follows the debacle where executives cut about $11m from the estimated $41m upgrade to paint facilities at their motorcycle plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

The company which also makes all-terrain vehicles was unaware of the high quality paint finish demanded by motorcycle riders and the cut-price update of their painting process left them with inferior quality paintwork on their bikes.

Victory Magnum X-1
Victory Magnum X-1

Supplies of the highly popular Indian Scout were subsequently held up while the model was withdrawn to sort out problems with paint around the fuel filler.

They also couldn’t meet demand for the new two-tone Indian Chief and Roadmaster because the new paint facility couldn’t cope with the lengthy process.Indian Roadmaster

So Indian and Victory motorcycles were forced to outsource to obtain the high-quality paint jobs.

In an expensive lesson on false economies, the company is now spending a further $20m to update their painting processes and buying the building in Spearfish, SD.

The building was previously occupied by Lehman Trikes who convert mainly Harleys and Hondas into trikes. Polaris anticipates painting both Indian and Victory Motorcycles at the new facility by the end of this year.

Polaris will employ about 80 people in a two-shift operation at the new facility to ensure no further production is held up and paintwork is of the highest quality.