Fargo motorcycle dealer happy with Polaris shiftThe oldest motorcycle brand in North America has a new owner and a local dealer of Indian motorcycles says that’s a good thing. “We’re very, very excited about joining forces with Polaris,” said Bob Bucklin, one of the owners of Indian Triumph of Fargo, which employs eight people and sells both Indian and Triumph bikes.
By: By Dave Olson, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — The oldest motorcycle brand in North America has a new owner and a local dealer of Indian motorcycles says that’s a good thing.
“We’re very, very excited about joining forces with Polaris,” said Bob Bucklin, one of the owners of Indian Triumph of Fargo, which employs eight people and sells both Indian and Triumph bikes.
Polaris, which purchased Indian Motorcycle last week, is also in the process of purchasing Fargo-based Global Electric Motorcars, which was started in 1997 and purchased by Chrysler in 2000.
GEM’s office in Fargo referred all questions to Polaris and Chrysler.
Marlys Knutson, a spokeswoman for Medina, Minn.-based Polaris, said the GEM deal won’t be completed for another 60 days and until it is she could not talk about Polaris plans for GEM.
For now, she said, “everything will be proceeding as usual up there in Fargo.”
Mike Palese, a spokesman for Chrysler, said GEM has about 90 employees, with 76 of them in Fargo and 14 located in five other states.
Palese said GEM’s so-called neighborhood vehicles are used largely in areas like gated communities, university campuses and by the federal government.
He said GEM has contributed to Chrysler’s understanding of electric vehicles and he said Chrysler will continue to pursue development of zero-emission cars and trucks.
Palese said he could not discuss the terms of the GEM deal.
Knutson said Polaris, which has manufacturing plants in Roseau, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa, will close down the Indian Motorcycle production facility in Kings Point, N.C., and moving all production to Spirit Lake.
She said Indian Motorcycle’s 25-28 dealerships will be contacted about whether they want to include Polaris products in their inventory.
Bucklin said the Fargo dealership has been welcomed into the Polaris family.
“Our dealership is just fine,” he said, adding Polaris has the engineering expertise and resources to make Indian Motorcycle a competitor with Harley Davidson.
Bucklin said sales of Indian bikes, considered a premium brand in the motorcycle world, have been brisk since the Fargo dealership opened in October 2009.
“We sold 20 Indian motorcycles in 2010,” he said.
Bucklin said changes are expected from Polaris but he said the Indian name will continue to be associated with quality.
“Polaris bought that brand knowing it has a very strong identity with the American public,” he said.
Dave Olson is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.