Indian Motorcycle Company Officially Launches an American Icon
29 February 1999Indian Motorcycle Company Officially Launches an American Icon
1999 Limited Edition Indian 'Chief' to be Unveiled February 26 - March 7 at Annual Daytona Bike Week GILROY, Calif., Feb. 26 -- Following this month's $18 million purchase of the Indian Motorcycle trademarks, an American icon -- the 1999 Limited Edition Indian Motorcycle "Chief" -- is ready to hit the road after a 46-year absence. The Company behind the bike, Indian Motorcycle Company of Gilroy, California is poised to take on its major competitors. The Company recently merged the U.S. and Canadian trademarks along with the Indian Motorcycle cafes and casual clothing operating divisions in Canada. Together with the trademarks, a rapidly, expanding list of dealerships and a new, 200,000 square-foot facility in Gilroy, some 5,000 units are scheduled for delivery this year, with increased production of 40,000 units by the year 2001. "This finely-engineered motorcycle will bring the Indian Motorcycle name to its rightful prominence," said Rey Sotelo, president of the motorcycle division. "Our message to the world is 'we're back.'" The 1999 Limited Edition Indian Chief will be launched February 26-March 7 in Daytona Beach, Florida, at the annual Daytona Bike Week. Indian motorcycles were last mass-produced in 1953 and are still today considered by motorcycle enthusiasts to be the most elegant highway cruisers ever made. After years of administering the Indian trademarks in receivership and bankruptcy estates, the U.S. District Court, in Denver this month officially turned over the trademarks -- and the right to manufacture the highway cruiser -- to Indian Motorcycle Company. 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. The Company also announced the successful completion of a $36 million private placement, involving Katama Capital LLC of Greenwich, Connecticut; Oxbow Capital Partners LLC of Tacoma, Washington; McKinley Capital Partners Limited of New York, New York; and J.L. Albright Venture Partners of Toronto, Canada. Also announced was the election, of Gordon Burns of Katama Capital as chairman of the board of Indian Motorcycle Company. Joining him on the board, and investors of the company, are Dan Dyer and Henry A. Schimberg, president and chief executive officer of Coca Cola Enterprises Inc. The monies will be used for sales and production of the new Indian motorcycle, and further consolidation of the global trademarks rights. "Following the Daytona launch of the 1999 Limited Edition Indian Chief, our manufacturing facility here, in Gilroy, California, will be ready to accelerate production," said Murray Smith, the company's chief executive officer. "In the year 2001 -- the 100th anniversary of the Indian motorcycle -- we expect to introduce three new models." The new Indian Chief motorcycles will be distributed through a network of authorized Indian Motorcycle dealers across the United States and Canada. The Company expects more than 100 dealerships to be operational across North America by this summer. Smith also announced his company would be introducing a diversified, powerful Indian Motorcycle brand name. In addition to the premium heavyweight cruiser motorcycles, the Company is opening Indian Motorcycle cafes in major cities across the United States, and plans to extend its distinguished line of modern, casual clothing. The first cafe opened in January, 1999, in Toronto, Canada. Indian Motorcycle Company is headquartered in Gilroy, California, and has expected 1999 revenues of $100 million. The company employs approximately 250 people.