I don't think Harley-Davidson is claiming victory over this news (yes, pun intended).As a Harley-Davidson Enthusiast - aka "Harley Snob" - you might think I'd be elated to see a piece of the competition close it's doors, but I'm not. (Of course I'm not in tears about it either!) But here's why:
Competition keeps any company at the top of their innovative game. It was, in part thanks to Indian back in the day, that Bill Harley came up with the Flathead and then the iconic Knucklehead motors. And you can bet the newest motor to come from Harley-Davidson - the Milwaukee-Eight - didn't just happen because the motor company had nothing better to do.
For a while and for some reason unknown to me, having a competitive nature and competition was seen as something negative. "No child left behind" and participation medals were real popular in the late 1990's and early 2000's. Quite a few people felt it damaged a child's self esteem if they lost at something.
But if a child always "wins," even if all they did was just show up, then they don't really win at all. Of course a child will have hurt feelings if they loose at something. However, this is the perfect opportunity to learn how to pick themselves up, do it better, and go on to really win the next time.
Of course I don't think the Victory Motorcycle line
lacked a competitive nature - they did well up until 2012. It just makes good business for Polaris to go "all-in" with their Indian line.
And in that sense, Harley-Davidson's competition isn't just fading away. Polaris is the sixth corporate successor to have ownership of Indian (the original motorcycle manufacturer closed it's doors in 1953). With more resources now being dedicated to the Indian name, it'll be interesting to see what happens in the future.
The competition hasn't really left, it's just the players on the field have changed once again. I don't think Harley-Davidson is claiming victory over this news (yes, pun intended). In fact I think they are feeling up to the challenge to make more legendary motorcycles. And I am more than happy to ride along with that!