Answer & Explanation:the segment includes: critical global markets, important political events, newly industrialized countries,different cultural attributes

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Polaris Industries, Inc.
Polaris Industries, Inc., designed, engineered and
manufactured snowmobiles, all terrain recreational and
utility vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles and personal
watercraft (PWC), on and off-road vehicles, and low
emission vehicles; and marketed them, together with
related replacement parts, garments and accessories
(PG&A) through dealers and distributors principally
located in the United States, Canada and Europe under the
brand names of Victory, Indian, Ranger, Sportsman, RZR,
Switchback, and others. The garment and accessory items
included helmets, boots, T-shirts, sweat pants, touring
luggage and trailers.
The company was widely known as the world’s largest
manufacturer of snowmobiles and one of the biggest
makers of all-terrain vehicles and personal watercrafts in
the United States. In 2013, Polaris Industries employed
seven thousand people at eleven manufacturing locations
and five research and development centers worldwide. The
company had over three thousand dealerships and
operated in more than one hundred countries.
Polaris produced its first snowmobile in 1954 under cofounder and former CEO Alan Hetteen. Textron, Inc.
bought Polaris from its original Roseau, Minnesota
ownership group in 1968. Then in 1981, Textron, Inc. sold
the Polaris division to a group of private investors led by W.
Hall Wendel Jr., a Textron division head.
The snowmobile business kept the Roseau, Minnesota plant
busy six months out of the year but company managers
wanted to figure out how to fill the other six months, so
they extensively surveyed their snowmobiler customer
base and decided in 1985 to diversify and produce all
terrain vehicles (ATVs). The company once again
diversified by manufacturing personal watercrafts (PWC)
in 1992, and eventually became a world leader in both ATV
and PWC production and sales. In 1987 Polaris became a
publicly traded company.
As a result of its diversification strategy, Polaris was able to
manufacture products all year. Snowmobile manufacturing
took place in the spring through late autumn or early
winter and personal watercraft were manufactured during
the fall, winter and spring months. Polaris has had the
ability to manufacture ATVs year round since May 1993.
ATV production starts in late autumn and continues
through early autumn of the following year.
Because of the seasonality of the Polaris products and
associated production cycles, total employment levels
varied throughout the year. Approximately 3,000
individuals were employed by the company. Polaris’
employees have not been represented by a union since July
1982. The company announced layoffs in their Osceola,
Wisconsin plant in early 2011 due to the recession.
Expansion Into Motorcycles
Matt Parks joined Polaris in 1987 as a district sales
manager for California, Nevada, and Arizona to develop the
dealer network. He was named ATV product manager in
1992 and earned a spot at the company’s headquarters. W.
Hall Wendel Jr. asked him to do research on prospective
acquisitions or expansions. Parks, with the additional title
of general manager of new products, considered such
things as go-karts, golf carts, lawn-and-garden products,
chain saws, and Hula-Hoops by investigating the various
industries in terms of competition, size, level of service, and
new trends. Parks and others studied the off-road
motorcycle market when two dirt bike companies were put
up for sale. Then a European motorcycle company asked to
distribute their bikes through Polaris. “That sparked a
study of the motorcycle business that uncovered signs of a
promising market. Along with the dirt bike research, we did
a quick study of the street bike business at that time, and
we were kind of interested. We thought, ‘You know, this
makes some sense,” recalls Parks.
In 1993, Polaris distributed over 300,000 surveys through
the company’s Spirit magazine for Polaris vehicle owners to
measure the readers’ interest in buying a wide variety of
products from Polaris. “Motorcycling did really, really well
[in the survey],” said Matt Parks. The survey results were
personally interesting to Parks since he was a lifetime
motorcycle rider and owned several motorcycles, including
a ’74 Norton, ’66 and ’91 BMWs, a ’77 Harley XLCR and an
’81 Ducati. Motorcycles also caught the interest of Wendel
who at the time owned a Harley-Davidson.
In pursuing the possibility of motorcycle production,
Victory became the project’s confidential codename. Parks
came up with the name because it was a nonsensical name
with positive connotations. “It’s ‘V’ for victory. It’s nostalgic;
it has World War II connotations.”
Parks along with Bob Nygaard, Snowmobile Division
General Manager, proceeded with investigating the
motorcycle production possibility by hiring two outside
firms to assist them in conducting further confidential
research on motorcycles. They chose McKinsey and
Company, one of the largest and most prestigious
consulting firms in the world, and Jerry Stahl, an
advertising executive who was very familiar with
recreational motorsports and the motorcycle business.
Stahl also had experience with Harley-Davidson’s
advertising campaigns. From May through August of 1993,
Parks & Nygaard assessed the Polaris infrastructure,
including the company’s sales force, dealer network,
service and warranty operation, and parts and accessories
division. They also looked at Polaris’ current customers to
see what types of things they were interested in and
whether they would buy a motorcycle from Polaris. Polaris
analysts and consultants also analyzed statistics from the
Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) in terms of the location,
displacement, and types of bikes sold in the industry.
The research showed there was industry capacity for
another manufacturer in the cruiser business. The research
also revealed that Polaris dealers would like to have on-
road motorcycles to sell. Consultants believed that a
functionally superior cruiser built in America could find
competitive space between Harley-Davidson and the
Japanese producers. “We focused in on Harley and the
Japanese manufacturers and said to ourselves, ‘Is Harley
vulnerable from any standpoint?’ We thought that their
costs were high,” Nygaard said. “We thought that, based on
re-engineering the Harley bike, we could build it for less
money. We felt that customers were waiting too long to
take delivery of their Harleys, and they (Harley-Davidson)
were vulnerable from that standpoint. We could get to
market with a bike that we could make money, and the
heavy cruiser end of it was certainly what we wanted to
target because that’s where the (sales) numbers were, and
that’s where the (profit) margin was. It was the best fit for
us, in that the Japanese were vulnerable there. They really
hadn’t been able to tackle Harley, because it might look like
a Harley, but the real rider knew that it wasn’t an
American-made bike from an American manufacturer. We
were close (at the time) to being in the domestic engine
business, and we could build our own U.S. engine, and that
gave us a major leg up on the Japanese. We were an
American company.”
“The result of the study was, believe it or not, yes, there was
a tremendous opportunity in the motorcycle market,” Parks
said. “It’s not the off-road motorcycle market; it’s the onroad motorcycle market, and the entry point, the best entry
point, would be in the cruiser market.” Cruisers were
defined as stripped-down versions of heavyweight touring
bikes that were intended for leisurely travel. Research
showed that many cruiser owners immediately replaced
many components, such as brakes, seats, wheels, vibrationadsorption devices, frame stiffeners, and intake systems on
their brand-new motorcycles. This was interpreted as an
opportunity to fulfill demand created by undershot
customers in the market.
Polaris had experience producing recreational vehicles for
over 44 years. It had the engineering talent and production
capabilities to design and produce distinctly different
vehicle lines – snowmobiles, ATVs, and personal watercraft
– and produce its own engines for many of those vehicles.
Parks said the study showed “the manufacturing
capabilities and technological know-how required to
produce cruisers seemed within Polaris’ grasp.” “My
biggest concern was: Let me sell against price, let me sell
against features and benefits, let me sell against more
advertising, and I can find ways to do that,” Nygaard said.
“Help me to sell against the lifestyle, with loyalty that is as
passionate as I’ve ever seen on any product (HarleyDavidson). To sell against an image is very, very difficult,
and that was my biggest concern.” In August 1993, the
officer group gave the okay to continue with the study to
see if it fit with existing manufacturing systems and if it
could make money.
Victory Motorcycle Development
An early decision was to determine which parts to make or
buy. Dapper and Klancher explained that “they bought a
Honda Shadow and a Harley-Davidson FXRS, took them
completely apart, weighed, measured and estimated the
cost of every single part, and determined for each part
whether they would make it or buy it.” After figuring
manufacturer, dealer, profits and sales volumes, the
consultants and managers felt there was a good
opportunity in the motorcycle business, and in February
1994 the officers group gave the okay to move forward and
build a prototype.
A major boost to the motorcycle development occurred in
September 1994 when Geoff Burgess agreed to lead the
Victory team. His extensive motorcycle industry
experiences and his emphasis on thorough analysis and
design work set the direction for the Victory development.
The Victory team took a very thorough, methodical, and
analytical approach to research and development so the
program didn’t waste time, money, or valuable resources.
Extensive computer-aided design was employed in building
a prototype. “A lot of up-front thinking has saved us a lot of
time on the back end,” explained Matt Parks.
The Victory team began an in-depth benchmarking study
by obtaining and extensively road-testing a fleet of the
competitors’ cruisers in Minnesota, Tennessee and Arizona.
The Yamaha Royal Star and Virago, Honda Shadow ACE and
Valkyrie, Harley-Davidson Road King, Ducati Monster and
BMW R1100RS were evaluated, compared, and ranked. The
goal was not to copy the competition but to find the
benchmarks for building a superior cruiser. The cost of
producing the best features was also analyzed to ensure
they could produce the motorcycle within their target price
The Victory team contacted Dunlop, manufacturer and tire
supplier of Polaris ATVs, to obtain information about
motorcycle tires. Steve Paulos, a Dunlop test technician
with an impressive motorcycle industry background,
assisted the Victory team by sharing competitors’
development and production process information. He
accompanied the Victory team to Arizona and shared
valuable insights about the benchmarked bikes.
In the early stages of the motorcycle project, the Victory
staff determined the bike must excel in two key
performance areas – handling and power. Marketing
studies told Matt Parks that the engine had to be a big Vtwin, and it had to be U.S.-made; an American company like
Polaris couldn’t import the engine for a bike whose
targeted buyers represented the red, white, and blue image
of the cruiser culture. The group felt that the motorcycle
needed to have its own signature engine. Talks with
consulting firms with power-plant expertise convinced the
Polaris team that designing an engine would provide
experience curve benefits that would become valuable
when Victory Motorcycles broadened its model line to
include other classes of bikes in the future. This fit well
with Polaris’ considerations of starting its own engine
manufacturing operation.
Geoff Burgess first laid out the parameters for the Victory
V92C engine in November 1994. Victory engineers refined
the design, and in February 1995 a concept drawing was
created. In March 1995 Polaris engineering department
visited England’s Lotus, Cosworth and Triumph plant,
Italy’s Ducati and Aprilia plant, and Germany’s BMW
operation. The team also benchmarked engines made by
Fuji, Kawasaki motorcycles and the Dodge Neon for
manufacturing and assembly ideas.
From the Arizona test, the Victory team determined it
should build a bigger engine than the competition. This
would also give it bragging rights for the biggest cruiser
engine with the most horsepower on the market. The
Arizona tests helped define handling goals as a top priority,
so much so that chassis’ and frames were designed as
desired, then the engine was reconfigured to fit in the
available space in the frame.
The Arizona tests also convinced the team that the Victory
engine should be oil-cooled. Since rows of cooling fins are
an essential part of the cruiser look, the idea of using liquid
cooling was rejected. Instead a system was designed that
circulates extra volumes of oil to enhance the fins’ cooling
effect. Steve Weinzierl, who has deep knowledge of aircraftengineering history, strapped a Czech-built Velorex sidecar
onto a prototype Victory bike and took it to Death Valley,
California, for worst-case cooling trials. At temperatures of
121 degrees Fahrenheit, he pulled within ten inches of the
Victory going 90 miles per hour, and handed the rider in
the sidecar the wires from the thermocouple to test the
cooling data. This method was used to test and enhance
engine thermal stability.
Once the team had collected and analyzed loads of chassis
data, “Francis the Mule,” a crude prototype was created in
May 1995. It was built with interchangeable clamps and
drilled metal brackets so selected components, such as its
wheel base, steering-head angle, and rear-suspension
geometry, could be mounted in varied positions and
adjusted accordingly. The team could test one thing at a
time and meticulously evaluate the changes in subsequent
test rides. They also used the Mule to focus on the chassis
because it was a priority to achieve the Victory ride and
handling. After hundreds of hours riding around on Frances
and obtaining some assistance from Polaris engineers on
the frame and chassis, the team agreed on a chassis design.
Their analysis helped reduce the weight of the frame by 20
pounds over the original prototype. In addition, the Victory
team sought larger suspension forks to ensure that the
chassis would have the desired rigidity and earn bragging
rights for the biggest forks on the market.
Some elements of the V92C design were dictated by
customer demand. It had to have some traits that are
popular with, and familiar to, cruiser enthusiasts. Styling
dictated a triangular rear swing-arm that mocked the
“hard-tail” look of the unsuspended bikes of the 1940s. A
single shock mounted underneath the seat included an
aluminum sub-frame supporting the seat and rear fender.
They determined that a high-quality Fox shock was to be a
standard feature. Polaris still owns several rear suspension
patents as a result.
In May 1995, Mark Bader, who was familiar with compact,
high-performance engines, was hired to lead the engine
design staff. One of the first engine mock-ups was made
from paper. Created from CAD drawings using the Victory
rapid-prototyping machine, it was made of thousands of
precisely cut pieces of paper glued together. These
computer-generated mock-ups allow parts to be generated
and test-fit without excessive costs. The first engine
prototype via computer-aided-design consisted of a tall,
1,507-cc V-twin with a 55-degree angle between its
cylinders. This was too big to fit the frame so the angle was
narrowed to 50 degrees. After the frame and chassis was
developed, the engine had to be shrunk. It seemed
backwards to fit the engine to the frame and chassis, but
Burgess felt it was appropriate for the V92C in order to
deliver the ride and handling they wanted instead of the
engine size determining the bike’s size and layout. In
addition, they decided to solid-mount the engine and utilize
it as a stressed member or supportive of the frame and
relatively more integral to the bike as a whole. The
handling was greatly increased.
To develop the crankshaft, the team also benchmarked the
performance of competitors’ bikes. The Polaris team also
considered using Harley-style cylinder heads with push
rods operating the valves, but they decided on a more
modern overhead-camshaft design.
The Victory team found that it could eliminate virtually all
traces of vibration, but it refused to do so because they felt
it was a trademark of a cruiser. They had to determine the
proper balance of vibration. Cruisers are supposed to have
vibration. As described by Dapper and Klancher, “In the
perfect world, there is imperfection. Without it, things just
don’t seem right. Motorcycles need to have personality; a
little rumble here and tingle there lets you know that the
machine underneath you is alive and kicking.”
The braking system was a concern of the Victory team and
they set out to develop braking similar to high-performance
sport bikes, rather than what’s typically on cruisers. They
chose Brembo hardware and worked with Brembo
technicians to develop the desired feel and responsiveness.
In addition, the Victory team decided to make its own
master brake cylinder.
The Victory motorcycle team continued with numerous
rigorous tests of the engine, chassis, and other components.
The first prototype bikes with Victory engines were known
as C bikes and an early prototype cost approximately
$250,000 to build. On November 7, 1996, the Victory
concept bike C-1 (engine and chassis together for its first
test ride) was first ridden at the Osceola, Wisconsin
municipal airport. Eighteen people witnessed the event.
Victory Becomes a Reality
Finally, on February 19, 1997, Polaris issued a press release
announcing that it would be entering the motorcycle
market. On June 26, 1997, the Victory was rolled out to the
press at Planet Hollywood in the Mall of America in
Bloomington, Minnesota. Al Unser Jr. rode a preproduction
bike into the restaurant, and Victory team members fielded
questions about the new bike. The next day, editors from
several motorcycle magazines met the Victory staff in
Osceola, Wisconsin to learn more about the new American
Since the announcement the Victory motorcycle has
received universally positive reviews in the motorcycle
press. It has also received coverage in newspapers such as
the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today.
Matt Parks has appeared on CNN and CNBC television
networks promoting the bike. In August 1997, Victory
made an appearance at the 57th annual Sturgis Rally &
Races in South Dakota. Demonstration rides sponsored by
dealers were given for the first time during January 1998 in
Palm Springs, California. Over 200 motorcyclists received
demo rides on preproduction prototypes of Victory
motorcycles during Daytona Bike Week in March 1998.
After taking the bikes for a ride, experiencing street speeds,
corners and brakes, riders were given a questionnaire and
interviewed by the Victory marketing staff. The riders’
feedback indicated the bikes delivered outstanding
handling and power. The Victory staff also made a few
adjustments to the motorcycle based on customer
The Victory team felt the bike was ready to roll and named
the first model the V92C. “V” stood for the V-twin engine,
“92” for the engine’s 92-cubic inch displacement, and “C”
indicated cruiser. The V92C had the stiffest frame of any
cruiser on the market (as stiff as some sport bikes), and
utilized the engine as a stressed member (fundamental
component) of the frame for increased strength and
rigidity. Complementing the stiff frame were its large
45mm …
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