If you’ve seen any of our Latest News we’ve posted lately you’ll notice that Polaris has purchased Indian Motorcycles, the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in America. It’s an incredibly gutsy purchase that will save a great heritage. They also announced that they are purchasing GEM – Global Electric Motorcars from the Chrysler Corporation. That will give them a huge leg-up in the on-road urban electric vehicle market. That’s also an incredible marketing move! And if you look a little farther back you’ll see announcements about new machines – market-busting machines, like the new high-performance RZR XP.
More importantly (perhaps), if you look inside our shop you’ll see a number of wonderful Polaris machines sitting there waiting for good enough weather for an old man to ride in.
But it’s what you don’t see that worries me the most. You don’t see any Latest News about new Yamahas, Suzukis, Hondas or Kawasakis. Okay, okay, there’s a new Honda with EFI and a new Kawasaki with EPS. But I probably don’t have to remind you that those two items have been on Yamaha and Suzuki ATVs for more than just a few years.
It’s what I don’t see that scares me more than what I do.
While the folks at Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda are hiding behind closed doors cowering and waiting for the economic wolf at the door to go away, the folks at Polaris aren’t hiding behind closed doors. In fact, you won’t even find them sitting behind their desks! They are outside with their swords drawn, perhaps not just chasing the wolf away from their doors, but knowing all too well that the only place for the wolf to go is outside the doors of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki.
So not only does Polaris continue to dominate the market with new models, but perhaps more importantly, they continue to be aggressive in their marketing, supplying models to testers like us to ride and review. And while other manufacturer’s market shares decline, their share of the now smaller market continues to grow at an incredible pace!
Is there a connection between marketing and market share? I suppose if there wasn’t we’d have neither marketing departments nor measurements of market share. While Polaris continues to market their ATVs and UTVs, the competition pulls the blankets over their heads, loaning only a very few test units to the biggest reviewers to evaluate.
The capitalist in me says that Polaris should be rewarded for their bold and aggressive marketing. The realist in me sees that Polaris’ reward is a well-deserved increase in the share of our market.
Let’s just hope that Polaris will someday offer a V-twin for those of you that liked Kawasaki’s instant power, a balanced, high-geared single that’s smooth enough for all you King Quad fans, a 4wd system as capable as what you love about the Yamaha’s, and a simple, reliable workhorse for the Honda fans. Because the way things are going Polaris will be the only manufacturer standing.
Hurrah for them. Too bad for everyone else. I don’t know what to say about all of us.