Polaris, the parent company of Indian Motorcycles, has announced it’s closing down its paint shop in South Dakota, moving the work to its Iowa factory.
For years, Indian’s been painting motorcycle parts at a plant in Spearfish, South Dakota. The plant was originally the centre for Lehmann Trikes, and then painted Victory and Indian motorcycles. Now it’s just down to the Indian line, and Polaris has decided to do all that work in the Spirit Lake facility, where most of the rest of the work is already done. This will reduce costs and streamline manufacturing; the official Polaris statement was “Spirit Lake is the home of Indian Motorcycle and centralizing our painting processes within that facility drives efficiencies, cuts down on logistics costs and lead times, and enables us to better serve our customers.” Makes sense.
The 33 staff currently working at the Spearfish plant have been offered other jobs inside Polaris, which also manufactures ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, the Slingshot three-wheeler, and many other products. Along with a factory in Roseau, Minnesota, Polaris also has manufacturing capacity in Mexico. Polaris shut down a factory in Osceola, Minnesota, about 10 years ago.
The Spearfish closure will take place sometime in February. It occurs as the North American motorsports industry looks to get leaner. Iconic American manufacturer Harley-Davidson has shut down some of its US factory capacity in recent years and is increasing overseas production. Meanwhile, Indian’s no doubt seeing the writing on the wall, as the domestic market continues to shrink, and is trying to save money wherever it can.