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INDIAN BITES THE DUST - AGAIN!

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INDIAN BITES THE DUST - AGAIN!

Is this the end for the Indian Motorcycle Corporation?

   How ironic is it that the in the very year Harley-Davidson celebrates its 100th anniversary that the Indian Motorcycle Corporation would shut its doors for business?

   This happened on Friday, September 19, 2003, when Indian closed its Gilroy, California factory doors and sent home 350 worker. They left with the warning that there was no new investor about to come forward and rescue the stricken motorcycle marquee.

   It was back in June 2001, that Indian Motorcycle Company announced it had sold $45 million of its shares to the Audax Group. Things were looking good for the world-famous Indian and sources within the company were anticipating sales of 4500 motorcycles per year.

Indian    Indian was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1901 as Indian Motocycle - note the missing Ďrí. It was classed as a worthy rival to Harley-Davidson in both consumer loyalty and racing. Despite that, Indian went out of business the first time in 1953.

   In late 1998, the courts in America awarded the much sought-after trademark asset of Indian Motorcycle to IMCOA Licensing of America Inc. This was after a court-appointed receiver had first offered the brand name for sale as part of a bankruptcy estate.

   The Court's decision paved the way for a $30 million merger involving American Indian Motorcycle Company, Indian Motorcycle Company Inc., California Motorcycle Company, and six-related companies to become the second largest producer of heavy cruiser motorcycles in North America.

   However, only 1100 of the original 1999 Indian Chief models were built. And sales grew much more slowly than anticipated. Sales figures for the year 2000 were only 2000 and in 2001 it was just over 2,500. The lay-offs soon began and the workforce dropped rapidly from 600 to 400 in 2001.

   Indian also had its share of unhappy owners. The complaints flooded in from unhappy owners who felt ripped-off and betrayed by this revived motorcycle icon.

   The dealers who sell only the Indian brand face an uncertain future. The company has about 200 dealers in the USA and there are approximately 1500-2000 unsold 2003 model motorcycles left to sell.

   It is beginning to look like the courts that allowed Indian to be reborn when it agreed the famous brand name could be sold will now have to preside over its final fate.

   Once again, the fate of this famous motorcycle is in the hands of the men in suits who donít know what it means to ride a bike.

   Paddy

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