Polaris Adds Jobs – Polaris will be adding 89 jobs in their Osceola, WI plant for work related to their Indian Motorcycle and GEM product lines that were acquired last year. Work at the plant will include engine production for motorcycles and R&D for GEM vehicles. The company has also added 200 jobs over the last 18 months at their Spirit Lake facility which is ramping up to full production of Indian motorcycles and GEM vehicles. Learn more: Startribune.com
Campus Sustainability Drives Electrics – Washington State University is another example of how sustainability initiatives on campus are driving electric STOV purchases. The university recently purchased the three GEMs for transportation and general fleet use. The vehicles help the university meet the governor’s mandate that state entities reduce their carbon footprint. Learn more: News.wsu.edu
A Case For NEVs/LSVs – In this brief interview an author in the renewable energy space makes the case for NEVs/LSVs and the role for STOVs. Learn more: 2greenenergy.com
Last monthWindsor, Canada based Unconquered Sun introduced a solar roof product for golf cars. Management states that the 260-watt EV Solar Roof can extend a golf car’s range by 30% and battery life by 25%. Golf course fleets are the initial target market but NEVs and golf cars for personal use offer additional markets. Learn more: Ourwindsor.ca
Polaris reported strong first quarter earnings for 2012 with record sales of $673.8 million. Key sales drivers were Ranger and RZR UTVs and Victory motorcycles across global markets. Some key takeaways from the earnings call:
First quarter net income increased 27% to $60.1 million
Earnings per share increased 27% from the prior year period to $0.85
32% improvement on operating profit
Management expects sales and earnings for 2012 to surpass previous guidance with full year sales guidance to up 13% over 2011 and full year earnings per share are now projected to be $3.85 to $4.00 per share, an increase of 20% to 25% over 2011.
Off-road Vehicle business revenue grew 30% in the first quarter. This includes side-by-sides and ATVs.
Polaris gained market share in both ATVs and side-by-sides.
Side-by-side retail sales grew at over 30% in North America for Polaris compared to low teens for the overall market with strong performance across all segments
Bobcat has reported dealer retail sales increases of upper single-digits in the first quarter
Expect a new Bobcat product in the coming months for both Polaris and Bobcat channels. “This should be a significant capability change from products we’ve offered traditionally.”
Management believes they can leverage their strengths in distribution, product cost and product innovation to drive growth in their GEM and Goupil acquisitions. They see the global small electric vehicle market as a growth area and note “… certainly we think we’re not done building out that portfolio.”
In Europe under tough conditions Polaris outpaced the overall market with particular strength in France. Northern Europe is more of a work vehicle/Ranger market while Southern Europe sees more recreational vehicle/RZR sales.
Kawasaki Teryx4: First vehicle designed and developed primarily in Lincoln, NE
Kawasaki’s Teryx4 which hit dealer showrooms earlier this year was the first vehicle to be designed and developed primarily at the Lincoln, NE manufacturing facility. The Lincoln R&D team developed the vehicle from the ground up concentrating on the vehicle’s frame and chassis while their counterparts in Japan worked on the engine and styling. It was a two to three year process. The Lincoln facility currently produces nearly the full range of Kawasaki’s consumer products with most of production destined for the US market. Management reports that more full product re-designs are in the future for the Lincoln R&D team. Learn more: Journalstar.com
According to preliminary results from a dealer survey conducted by Powersports Business and RBC Capital Markets, powersports dealers are reporting positive results across most categories in Q1 with side-by-sides leading the way. In the latter category Polaris is “outperforming” expectations with nearly half of dealers surveyed reporting double-digit sales increases in side-by-sides. Polaris competitors such as Arctic Cat and Can Am are not impacting the market leader’s performance as significantly as expected to date. Larger dealers are more likely to be selling above plan than smaller dealers. Learn more: Powersportsbusiness.com
Club Car, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling approximately 100 utility and transport vehicles. The brake pedal mounting blocks can crack and separate, resulting in a loss of braking ability. To date no incidents of cracking or resulting injuries have been reported. The vehicles were sold during April and May of 2011 and include a range of models and serial numbers. Club Car is contacting customers directly to provide a free replacement of the mounting blocks. For more information and specific models and serial numbers affected see CPSC.gov
Polaris management recently gave analysts that cover the company a tour of their Monterrey, Mexico facility that opened a little over a year ago. Analyst came away with a positive review of the plant and its impact on the company’s performance. The plant currently produces about 200 side-by-sides per day on two production lines with a third line likely to be added in the future. Analysts report the plant has the lowest warranty costs in the company.
The plant was opened to more quickly supply southern US markets as well as international markets such as Brazil, India and China. The plant has also helped Polaris execute on their objectives of shortening ordering times and reducing dealer inventory. They have been ahead of their competition in these areas. Learn more: Powersportsbusiness.com