Victory Motorcycles Outsourcing to Mexico?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Victory owners rally around their motorcycle manufacturer because of their claim that a higher percentage of Victory's parts are made in the US. Wonder how they feel with the news that Victory's parent company, Polaris Industries, is preparing to outsource American jobs to Mexico.
It’s another sad day for American motorcycling manufacturing. Polaris Industries, the parent company of Victory Motorcycles
, released a statement that says it is ‘realigning its manufacturing operations’
which translates to the closure of its plant in Osceola, Wisconsin and the opening of a new plant in Mexico. I don’t know why, but the news hit me like a punch in the gut. Maybe because it means more American jobs lost. Maybe because Victory has worked so hard to establish its reputation as ‘the new American motorcycle.’ I know it had to be a difficult decision, but it still sucks. I feel for the workers in Osceola, which employs over 500 people. Polaris moved into the Osceola site in 1991 and is one of Polk County’s largest employers. Victory produces its V-Twin engines there.
I’m just wondering how well outsourcing to Mexico is going to sit with supporters of the company. One of the arguments I see in our forums all the time is slams against Harley-Davidson
for the percentage of parts that they use that aren’t made here in the good ol’ US of A. Victory fans frequently use the ‘Made in America’ argument when defending their motorcycle manufacturer. Guess that argument won’t hold up as well any longer.
This comes after Polaris’ April 21 financial statement reported that sales were up 16% over last year’s first quarter. Its net income was reported to be up 127% to a record high of $19.8 million. If this is true, it makes me wonder why Polaris is choosing to move now, when the American unemployment rate in April was 9.9%.
Motorcycle sales have been down across the board, but I thought Victory was weathering the storm better that Harley-Davidson. Shows how much I know. The workers in York had to bite the bullet, but at least a good percentage of them are still employed. Will the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico irreparably damage the company’s reputation? Only time will tell.
* We talked to Victory Motorcycles Friday morning, a day after the blog was posted, and they assured us that engine production was not going to be done in Mexico but will be moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa, a fact that was unclear in its original press release. Read Victory Moving Engine Production to Spirit Lake for more details.
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