Things You Didn’t Know About Polaris Industries

1. Polaris is founded in 1954 in Roseau, Minn.
Edgar Hetteen, David Johnson, and Edgar’s brother Allan were the original partners in Polaris that originally produced farm equipment. Two years after the company’s founding it produced the first forerunner of today’s snowmobile, which was sold to a Roseau lumberyard owner. Polaris made five sleds the first year, 75 the second, and 300 in the third. Today it is one of the largest manufacturers of snowmobiles in the world.
2. One of the original partners ends up founding rival Arctic Cat
After a controversial promotional tour across Alaska, Ed Heteen left Polaris in 1960 and founded Arctic Enterprises, which would eventually become one of Polaris’ major rivals, Arctic Cat.
3. Textron acquires Polaris in 1968
At the height of the snowmobile craze in the 1960s, diversified manufacturer Textron (NYSE:TXT) acquired the company, which joined it with the E-Z Go golf cart company it had acquired. (Coincidentally, Textron acquired Arctic Cat in March of this year.)
4. Polaris management leads a leveraged buyout in 1981
Choosing to focus on defense contracts, Textron tried to sell Polaris to rival Bombardier, but the deal fell apart because of U.S. antitrust resistance, and management instead led a leveraged buyout of the company.
5. Polaris begins making ATVs in 1985 
The ATV market was dominated by Honda, which virtually created the industry, but it was Polaris that introduced the first American-made ATV.
6. Polaris Industries had its IPO Sept. 25, 1987 
The company’s stock has appreciated more than 5,500% from its split-adjusted value of its $1.67 initial public offering price.
7. Polaris introduces its first personal watercraft in 1992 
Entering the marine market, Polaris brought innovation to the sport, and its Genesis personal watercraft device was the first to seat up to four people. It would exit the market 12 years later.
8. Sales pass $1 billion for the first time in 1995
As Polaris enjoyed growing sales across all of its product lines, it exceeded $1 billion in revenues for the first time in 1995, which also marked at the time the seventh consecutive year of record growth. It wouldn’t make its next billion dollars until 2011, but it would exceed $3 billion in 2012.
9. It introduces Victory Motorcycles in 1998
Watching Harley-Davidson’s astronomical sales rise in motorcycles, which saw it hit record sales and profits yet again, Polaris Industries sought to steal some of that thunder with the introduction of a new American-made motorcycle, Victory. Sales would be somewhat respectable but never record setting.
10. Polaris enters the military
While the U.S. military has been using Polaris ATVs since the 1980s, Polaris Industries was awarded its first contract in 2004, a five-year $10.3 million agreement to produce 700 ATVs for the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM). It is the first ATV OEM to produce militarized vehicles for SOCOM and the Army. Today it makes seven models for the military, including its latest the MRZR-D, a diesel-powered RZR.
Polaris was awarded its first contract with an allied forces military in 2013 when Germany selected it to produce its MV850 ultra-light tactical vehicles for its army.
11. The RZR side-by-side comes out in 2007
The vehicle that would really change everything for Polaris, the trail-width-compliant RZR side-by-side would catapult the powersports-vehicle maker to the industry forefront, and it would never look back.
12. It buys Indian Motorcycle in 2011
Indian Motorcycle is the oldest American-made manufacturer of motorcycles, having beaten Harley-Davidson to market by a few years in 1901. However, Indian would go through bankruptcy several times during its existence.
13. It becomes the North American ATV market-share leader in 2012 
On the strength of its Ranger and RZR models, Polaris would take over first place in ATVs as well as side-by-side sales.
14. It introduces the first new Indian motorcycles in 2014
Going back to Indian’s classic styling, Polaris rebirths the brand with four bikes under its new banner: the Indian Chief Classic, the Indian Chief Vintage, the Indian Chieftain.
15. The 3-wheeled Slingshot motorcycle rolls out in 2014
Taking motorcycling in a different direction, Polaris launched the three-wheeled Slingshot. But unlike other models on the road, such as the Can-Am Spyder, Polaris has two wheels up front and the single wheel in the back, which gives it a more car-like experience.
16-Polaris enters electric motorcycle market in 2015 with Brammo purchase. While Harley-Davidson got a lot of mileage from its LiveWire Project electric bike, Polaris sought to jump-start its position in the e-bike market with the purchase of the entire Brammo electric bike business. Drivetrains may have been uppermost in Polaris’ mind though, and e-bikes seem to ever be on the horizon as concerns about distance.
17. Polaris is plagued by vehicle recalls
In the past two and a half years, Polaris has experienced defects across virtually all of its product lines, many of which involve risks of fire. Including the latest recall last week for more than 25,000 Sportsman 570 ATVs and 1,100 RZR 570s, Polaris has now had to recall some 400,000 vehicles.
18. Enters retail market with TAP acquisition
For its first entry into the retail market, Polaris chose vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and installer of off-road Jeep and truck accessories Transamerican Auto Parts. The $665 million deal holds the promise of transforming Polaris because it operates a network of 75 retail stores and six distribution centers, and is the biggest manufacturer and installer of aftermarket parts in its respective sectors, one that owns well-known brands such as Pro Comp, Rubicon Express, and Trail Master.
19. Work and transportation vehicles rise
Over the years, Polaris has purchased a number of utility vehicle manufacturers, including Goupil in 2011, Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) and Aixam-Mega in 2013, and Taylor-Dunn in 2016. The global adjacent markets segment under which they’re grouped now accounts for 8% of total revenues. (source Motley Fool corrected Cyril Huze)

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18 Responses to “Things You Didn’t Know About Polaris Industries”


  1. 1 ZenAgain Aug 16th, 2017 at 11:33 am

    From the department of corrections ;

    Oldest American M/C companies ;

    Orient Aster ( 1898 ) followed pre 1900 by Metz , Waltham and Wigwam .

  2. 2 Paul Jetson Aug 16th, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    ZenAgain. From the department of corrections. Orient Aster ( 1898 ) followed pre 1900 are active companies???

  3. 3 ZenAgain Aug 16th, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    From the department of corrections Mr Jetson ;

    There is no specific mention of being either active or current in the article , only oldest . Add to that the fact that todays Indian M/C has nothing to do with the ‘ historical ‘ Indian M/C . Context and reading skills 101

  4. 4 dildol swaggins Aug 16th, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Scott Wine aint got shit on me

  5. 5 Steve The Producer Johann Aug 16th, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Bought stock after interviewing head of engineering on The Hog Radio Show. They had just revealed the Engine and were touring it at Sturgis. I ran out and purchased a few shares at 85 per share. Today the stock is sitting at 89 per share after peaking at 150 per share just after the Indian platform began selling. Should have sold it then.

    Today thanks to over 600,000 recalls in 2016 which was reflected in 130 million in losses which is reflected in todays stock prices.

    As of the beginning of this year they have had well over 30,000 recalls and these are on 2016 and 2017 models. Until they get Quality Control under control they will continue to lose profits reflected in share prices.

  6. 6 highrpm Aug 16th, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    is selling stock on the ny exchange in the polaris corporate mission statement?


    Here at Polaris Development Inc we are committed to creating value for our clients and our people. We will continuously strive for excellence in integrity, quality of results, performance, and second to none work ethic. We will always surpass our competition and our clients’ expectations. We will create a team environment that fosters lifelong friendships and partnerships. With focus and determination, we will help our team achieve personal and professional growth.

    ? “clients” include both stock holders and customers?
    ?” always surpass our competition and our clients’ expectations”

    why do corp exec honchos engage in such b.s.?

  7. 7 Pat h Aug 16th, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    #20 Polaris will leave all indian buyers holding their junk in hand sooner than later ask a victory owner

  8. 8 Boomer Aug 17th, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Should have sold Indian and kept Victory. Or, in hindsight, not bought the Indian name, or taken their time with it and not neglected Victory. Soon it will have neither. Poor management and poor quality control will sink this company if they don’t make some drastic changes at the top.

    Why didn’t they or don’t they sell Victory like other companies do such as Ducati?

  9. 9 Morty Aug 17th, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Boomer. Did Harley sell Buell? Did Buell have red numbers?

  10. 10 kent Aug 17th, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Orient Aster started as a Bicycle company not a Motorcycle company, Indian Motorcycles started as a MOTORCYCLE company. Correction to your correction!

  11. 11 Paul Jetson Aug 17th, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Kent, read again. Cyril never said that Polaris started as a motorcycle company. His text “Edgar Hetteen, David Johnson, and Edgar’s brother Allan were the original partners in Polaris that originally produced farm equipment. Two years after the company’s founding it produced the first forerunner of today’s snowmobile, which was sold to a Roseau lumberyard owner. Polaris made five sleds the first year, 75 the second, and 300 in the third. Today it is one of the largest manufacturers of snowmobiles in the world.”

  12. 12 Mdkuder Aug 17th, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Just keep building them the customer will come! Lower the prices to reasonable and the volume will come! Talk to real customers about what they want and make it happen and quit letting the pointy heads ruin good products!

  13. 13 kent Aug 17th, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I’m referring to the comments on Indian motorcycles be the first in America to start a motorcycle co. by Zen Again.

  14. 14 Mike Aug 17th, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Oh, and they killed Victory.

  15. 15 Chris Aug 19th, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Foolaris Industries Inc

  16. 16 1550tc Aug 20th, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Steve you got paid
    Div yield
    2.60%

    to watch it go down …………its not all that bad lol

    Great american story out of northern mn, just a few miles away from Marvin windows another great american company.

    Just shows you how great companies can start in rural america!

  17. 17 hacksaw Aug 22nd, 2017 at 10:28 am

    indian started as a bicycle company. hendee manufacturing. hendee was actually a champion bike racer.

  1. 1 leather attaches for men Trackback on Aug 16th, 2017 at 9:41 pm

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