Polaris Recalls General UTVs

2016 Polaris General 1000

The 2016 Polaris General 1000 is being recalled.

2017 Polaris General 4 1000

This 4-seat 2017 Polaris General 4 1000 is being recalled as well.

Polaris announced the recall of model year 2016 and 2017 General two and four seat side-by-sides. The steering wheel shaft can shift and detach while in use, resulting in a loss of control and crash hazard. Approximately 19,000 units are involved in the recall. Consumers should stop using the vehicles and contact Polaris for a free repair.

This is another large recall for Polaris and a different mechanical issue as well. In addition, the recall pertains to their General crossover line that has been selling well since its introduction. The previous large recalls were for their Ranger and RZR products. Given the model years involved, these vehicles were likely built before the company instituted new processes and added more people to improve vehicle quality and track safety issues faster. Assuming the changes are effective, another year or two may be needed before the company completely works through any legacy quality issues across their extensive product lineup.

The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Name of product:  Polaris General side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)

Hazard:  The steering wheel shaft can shift and detach while in use, resulting in a loss of control and crash hazard.

Recall date:  October 30, 2017

Recall number:  18-018

Consumer Contact:  Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” for more information. In addition, consumers can check vehicle identification numbers (VIN) on the “Product Safety Recalls” page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls.

Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves model year 2016 and 2017 Polaris General 2- and 4-seat side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles. The vehicles were sold in black, blue, camouflage, orange, red, silver and white and have a cargo box on the back. “Polaris” is printed on the front grill, “GENERAL” is printed on the rear panel and “1000” is printed on the front panel. The VIN is printed on the left rear vehicle frame below the cargo box.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received five reports of the steering shaft separating and one report of a broken hand injury.

Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from December 2015 through September 2015 for between $16,000 and $21,000.

Manufacturer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.

Manufactured In:  U.S. and Mexico

Units:  About 19,000

Polaris Introduces RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition

2018 Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX

The new 2018 RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition from Polaris.

Polaris has introduced their new four passenger RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition, which features the intelligent RZR DYNAMIX Active Suspension that adjusts individual shocks on-the-fly based on near continuous monitoring of key ride inputs. The new model builds out their DYNAMIX lineup introduced earlier this year for model year 2018.

The RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition includes a RIDE COMMAND 7” display with rear camera, and an all-new, 900-watt charging system that improves battery charging and allows for additional accessory electrical loads. The display provides information on the suspension control system including compression dampening, selected mode, g-force, pedal position, steering angle, brake status and diagnostics.

The DYNAMIX system is designed to deliver a high level of ride comfort while still providing a high level of driving performance. The rider chooses from one of three styles of riding and the system makes adjustments within parameters for that riding style. Riders can choose from:

  • Comfort:  Designed for cruising around and eliminating the small chatter.
  • Sport:   Blends performance and comfort for ultimate high-speed handling.
  • Firm:  Cranks all four shocks to max stiffness for the firmest suspension in the industry for the most severe terrain.

Other key features and specs of the RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition include:

  • 168 hp, ProStar Turbocharged 925cc engine with EFI
  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM Live Valve shocks with Bottom-Out Control
  • 16″/18″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • High Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD
  • Electronic power steering with integrated steering angle sensor
  • 13.5″ of ground clearance
  • 64″ wide
  • 29″ Maxxis Bighorn tires on aluminum wheels
  • Bowed 1/4 doors
  • LED headlights and taillights

The RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition comes in Black Pearl and will be available in dealerships in early December with a $28,499 US MSRP. Learn more:  Polarisindustries.com

Polaris Q3 2017 Earnings Report

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The new 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS helped drive sales in the third quarter for Polaris.

Polaris Industries reported third quarter 2017 sales of $1,478.7 million, up 25 percent from $1,185.1 million for the third quarter of 2016. Off-Road/Snowmobile segment reported sales of $1.01 billion up 12% and Global Adjacent Markets, which includes GEM, Taylor-Dunn and Aixam among other brands, increased 17% to $91.5 million.

It was a strong quarter for Polaris, in part, because it is being compared to a weak third quarter in 2016 and aided by higher promotional spending. On the other hand, management reports that the quarter also compared favorably to their 2015 third quarter, which was the last quarter before recall issues hit them hard. Looking behind the numbers a more accurate description may be a solid quarter that shows Polaris has stemmed the tide and gaining momentum again in the side-by-side and ATV markets. The following are highlights from the earnings call related to side-by-sides and other small, task-oriented vehicles.

  • Side-by-side wholesale sales were strong worldwide
  • ORV retail sales in North America were up mid-teens percent with both side-by-sides and ATVs up mid-teens
  • Management reports gaining market share in RZR, Ranger and ATV segments
  • ORV industry sales in North America increased high single digits percent for the quarter
  • The oil & gas and farm markets improved but are neither a drag or driving industry growth
  • ORV retail was up double digits in September as momentum carried through the quarter
  • RZR retail sales were very strong in the quarter as well as ATV sales
  • The Ranger XP 1000 was launched during the quarter
  • Strong promotional spending helped drive sales during the quarter but Polaris performed well relative to other manufacturers with similar spending.
  • Promotional spending was also used to help clear out inventory before new model year arrivals.
  • Management reports strong dealer orders for the Ranger XP 1000 and the RZR Dynamics products
  • In Europe Aixam quadricycles and Goupil light utility vehicles grew 17% for the quarter at the wholesale level
  • Guidance:
    • Total company sales are expected to be up in the range of 18% to 19% with increased guidance for ORV/Snowmobile sales, which are now expected to increase in the mid-single digit range year-over-year
    • Global Adjacent Markets guidance is increased to low double digits due to strong sales across the portfolio
    • Lower promotional spending is expected in the 4th quarter compared to previous year and quarter

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Polaris Recalls ACE 325 Vehicles

Polaris ACE 325 recall

The 2014 Polaris ACE 325 is part of the recent recall.

Polaris recently announced a recall of approximately 6,300 ACE 325 off-road vehicles. The exhaust header pipe can crack and release hot exhaust gases into the engine compartment, posing fire and burn hazards. The recall involves model year 2014 through 2016 vehicles. Owners should stop using the vehicles and contact Polaris (800-765-2747) to schedule a repair.

This recall continues a string of recall involving Polaris off-road vehicles. Although much smaller than the previous very large recalls from Polaris the past three years it is sizable compared to the more typical recalls in the market. With this recall Polaris has now recalled vehicles across all their side-by-side product lines including RZR, Ranger, General and ACE in the past two to three years.  While management reports implementing stricter quality standards and a more robust system for tracking vehicle issues, there are a large number of older model Polaris vehicles still in use and manufactured under their previous processes. Polaris could be still be facing additional recalls from older models already in the market, and the improved tracking system may also be more likely to bring any issues to light. As difficult as it has been for the company to address the underlying issues, in the long term, the changes should produce safer and better products.

The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Name of product:  Polaris ACE 325 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)
Hazard:  The exhaust header pipe can crack and release hot exhaust gases into the engine compartment, posing fire and burn hazards.
Recall date:  October 17, 2017
Recall number:  18-011

Recall Details

Description:   This recall involves all model year 2014 through 2016 Polaris ACE 325 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). The recalled ROVs have a single seat and were sold in white, green and red. For model year 2014 and 2015 ATVs, “Polaris” is printed on the front grill and “Ace” is printed on the rear panel. For model year 2016 ATVs, “Polaris” is printed on the front grill and “Polaris Ace” is printed on the rear panel. The VIN is printed on the right front frame of the vehicles.

 

Year Model Description
2014 A14BH33AJ Ace 325 in white
2015 A15DAA32AA Ace 325 in green
2015 A15DAA32AJ Ace 325 in white
2016 A16DAA32A1 Ace 325 in green
2016 A16DAA32A7 Ace 325 in red
Remedy:   Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.
Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received six reports of cracked exhaust pipes, including two reports of seat damage due to melting. No fires or injuries have been reported.
Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from December 2014 through July 2017 for about $7,500.
Manufacturer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.
Manufactured In: U.S.
Units:  About 6,300
Consumer Contact:  Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” for more information. In addition, check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the Product Safety Recalls page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls.

More STOV Self-Driving Tech

Polaris MRZR X autonomous vehicle

The self-driving MRZR X developed by Polaris, ARA and Neya Systems for the Army’s SMET program.

A recent post highlighted current self-driving tech in the STOV market and commented on the potential in the future. In the past week I came across a couple of additional examples of self-driving tech in the market.

The first is a collaboration between Polaris Industries, Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Neya Systems to provide a platform for the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) program. Polaris brings their MRZR vehicle platform, currently sold to US and allied military organizations around the world, to the collaboration, Neya Systems is providing advanced unmanned systems technology and ARA brings experience in bringing computer and other technical expertise to national security issues. The SMET program’s goal is to develop a ground robotic vehicle to carry a squad’s worth of life support and combat gear. An Army squad typically consists of nine soldiers. (Learn more:  Businesswire.com)

A self-driving shuttle from Auro which was recently acquired by Ridecell.

The second example is California based Ridecell that is developing self-driving, low-speed vehicles for use on private property such as colleges, theme parks, business parks, retirement communities, and basically any campus like setting that can set it’s own traffic rules. Ridecell recently acquired autonomous shuttle maker Auro Robotics. Ridecell will also be providing fleet-management software and services which they already provide for BMW’s and Volkswagen’s car sharing services.The battery-electric shuttle has a top speed of 25 mph and a 90-mile range. Auro currently builds three different configurations to suit various transportation needs and is using GEMs as their base vehicle platform. They provide 2, 6 or 12 seat shuttles depending on customer need. Learn more:  Greencarreports.com

Ridecell is targeting exactly the markets I mentioned in my previous post. The college campus market in particular is already a major market for GEM. However, local GEM dealers could find themselves in competition with Ridecell and indirectly with Polaris who manufactures GEM vehicles, if they end up selling directly to Ridecell. It may be useful for Ridecell, Polaris corporate and local GEM dealers to collaborate in marketing self-driving vehicles. Ridecell could significantly expand their distribution and service channel and enhance their marketing efforts, Polaris could sell more GEMs without alienating their dealer base while establishing the GEM brand in the self-driving space, and GEM dealers could provide a value-added, next generation product to their customers while adding a differentiating and potentially higher margin product to their vehicle lineup.

For GEM dealers this could also be an opportunity to grab a greater share of the gated community market. Traditionally this has been a harder sell for LSVs because of the price of LSVs in comparison to used, refurbished, new and customized golf cars. The Ridecell product however would more likely be marketed to the organization operating the community rather than individual owners, since it would be a shuttle service shared by the community. The economics would be different as well, as the shuttle service would likely need to start with a brand new vehicle. Over the long term, a self-driving shuttle service could very well significantly erode the individual vehicle market in gated communities.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

STOV Self-driving Tech

Yamaha Viking VI autonomous driving

Yamaha Viking VI with autonomous driving technology.

Driverless technology and autonomous driving have been garnering plenty of attention and press lately. The vast majority of the focus has been on highway capable vehicles, but the small, task-oriented vehicle market (STOV) is active in this new area of innovation as well.

One recent example is Yamaha’s development of a fully autonomous Viking VI utility vehicle using their Autonomous System X1 technology. The screenshots from a video of the vehicle in action provides an idea of the technology at work.

Yamaha Viking VI

No driver but some additional screens.

Yamaha Viking VI

Some of the imagery tech the autonomous Viking VI uses.

Yamaha Viking VI

The autonomous Viking VI maneuvering around an obstacle on the trail.

The system combines GPS, LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). Publicly available aerial imagery and digital elevation maps are used to plan the trip, and simulations from a terrain model are used to find the best local path. In addition, camera images are used to detect traversable ares in an off-road environment. The video of the Viking VI in autonomous action is impressive.

May Mobility self-driving GEM

GEM configured by MAy Mobility for self-driving.

Another example are two GEM vehicles being used by May Mobility to test self-driving technology in the city of Detroit. The testing will be conducted from Oct. 9 to 13 in conjunction with Bedrock, LLC, a real estate firm. The six seater GEMs are configured with May Mobility’s software and sensors and be used to transport Bedrock workers to and from various company locations. The vehicles will operate for three hours a day, travel only on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, and have a driver on board to take control in emergency situations if necessary. Learn more:  Startribune.com

In our recently released STOV market study, SVR argues that self-driving technology could produce a significant boost to the STOV market in the coming years. The lower speed environments may provide a safer environment to initially implement self-driving technology. A number of self-driving test vehicles are being used as shuttles along readily defined loops with limited variation. Gated communities are another low speed environment with limited variability that could provide an easier entry point. The largest potential though resides in a large scale movement towards new urban mobility platforms. In congested urban areas the speed limitations of LSVs are less critical as is the lower vehicle range. On the plus side is the smaller size, zero emissions and lower noise of the vehicles. Self-driving technology has the potential to facilitate large scale deployment of low speed vehicles in urban environments.

 

Polaris Issues Recall of 1,600 General UTVs

2017 Polaris General Base

The 2017 Polaris General Base model in red is part of the recall.

2017 Polaris General Hunter

The Hunter version is recalled as well.

Polaris Industries recently announced the recall of approximately 1,600 2017 General utility vehicles due to inconsistent tire pressure information which could result in improperly-inflated tires, posing a crash hazard. The affected models are the Base model in red and the Hunter model in camo. No injuries have been reported related to this recall. Owners should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Polaris for a new tire pressure label and addendum to the owner’s manual. Polaris can be contacted at 800-765-2747 or at www.polaris.com for more information.

This is a relatively small recall compared to many of the industry recalls. In addition, the cost to Polaris for addressing the issue would appear to be minor. SVR tracks industry recalls and has compiled an ongoing list.

The complete recall information from the Consumer Safety Product Commission follows.

Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves all model year 2017 Polaris GENERAL Base and GENERAL Hunter two-seat, side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). The GENERAL Base was sold in red and the GENERAL Hunter was sold in camo. “Polaris” is printed on the front grill, “GENERAL” is printed on the rear panel and “1000” is printed on the front panel. The VIN is printed on the left rear vehicle frame below the cargo box.
Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Polaris for a new tire pressure label and addendum to the owner’s manual. All known purchasers are being contacted directly by the firm.
Incidents/Injuries:  None reported
Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from June 2016 through July 2017 for between $16,300 and $19,000.
Manufacturer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.
Importer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.
Manufactured In:  U.S. and Mexico
Units:  About 1,600
Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Eicher Polaris Changes Multix Marketing Strategy

Eicher Polaris Multix

The Multix utility vehicle, the first offering from the Eicher-Polaris joint venture.

Eicher Polaris has made a significant change in the marketing strategy for their Multix multi-purpose utility vehicle. Launched in 2015, the Multix was designed to be versatile and transformable from moving goods to carrying the family to generating electricity with the X-Port feature.

Based on extensive market research the original marketing plan targeted entrepreneurs in rural areas and small towns. The entrepreneur could use the vehicle for business during the week, for family outings on the weekend and even provide electricity in areas where the electrical grid can be unreliable. However, the product has not taken off as management expected, although the potential market is deemed quite large. The company points to more conservative rural people not being as quick to adopt such an innovative product.

Therefore, Eicher Polaris is changing course and now focusing on more urban areas. To that end the company is expanding from 77 to 100 dealerships with most of the new openings in metro areas. The hope is that metro locations will provide more exposure for the Multix to a wider range of end users in the urban environment. Management provides examples of end users that can conduct “business on wheels” with the Multix like laundry operators who can use the X-Port for ironing and carpenters to power tools.

Learn more: thehindubusinessline.com

Comment: The versatility of the vehicle may make it a success in the end. In the metro areas, rather than fitting the vehicle to a particular type of user, many different type of users can adapt the Multix to their needs. In the end the Multix may be used for a number of different end use applications that the company never even considered when developing the vehicle. The key will be exposing the vehicle to as many different end users as possible, and helping them adapt the vehicle to their needs. The next step may be to develop a broader range of accessories to cater to specific applciations.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Polaris Industries Q2 2017 Earnings Results

RZR XP 4 Turbo EPS

RZR sales showed improvement in the quarter compared to the prior year results hurt by recall issues.

Polaris Industries recently announced their quarterly earnings results for the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year. The quarter ended June 30, 2017. Management reported second quarter sales of $1,364.9 million, up 21% from second quarter 2016. Net income for the quarter was $62.0 million compared to $71.2 the prior year, and included some one-time expenses.

The following are some of the highlights of the earnings call related to small, task-oriented vehicles:

  • ORV sales increased 6% for the quarter
  • North American ORV unit retail sales for the second quarter of 2017 were down low-single digits percent from the 2016 second quarter as UTV sales increased low single digits but ATVs sale declined high single digits in a weak ATV market
  • Polaris ATVs lost market share in a heavy promotional environment
  • RZR retail turned positive while Ranger retail was flat for the quarter in a highly competitive segment with significant promotional activity
  • The General UTV product line has been good and the segment offers good opportunities according to management
  • Agriculture markets remain weak while oil markets are improving
  • Global Adjacent Markets segment sales increased 7% driven by the Work & Transportation group with good performances from Aixam quadricycles and Goupil light utility vehicles
  • Management expects Global Adjacent Market segment to increase mid-single digits percent for the year
  • Side-by-sides are expected to drive the improved guidance for the ORV/Snowmobile segment, which is now expected to see flat sales year-over-year

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

Polaris Announces 2018 UTVs

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The new 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS.

Polaris recently introduced their new UTVs for model year 2018. An updated Ranger XP 1000 priced at $16,299 features a redesigned exterior and interior. Key changes include:

  • Increased hp from 80 to 82
  • New large-ratio clutch and redesigned driveline
  • Redesigned under-hood air intakes and a new clutch cover provide increased air flow for cooler, longer-lasting belt life.
  • Improved driveline geometry is designed to increase efficiency and produce a quieter ride.
  • Increased towing capacity to 2,500 lbs.
  • Stiffer chassis
  • 27″ Maxxis tires with Black Xcelerator 2.0 aluminum wheels
  • New front end, larger headlights, new grill and larger front bumper
  • Integrated Polaris Glacier plow mount
  • Reduced steering ratio and tighter turning radius,
  • New front sway bar
  • Polaris engine braking system is now standard
  • More entry/exit clearance, more legroom and better bottom seat cushions
  • New flip-up passenger seat
2018 Polaris General 1000 EPS Limited Edition

2018 Polaris General 1000 EPS Limited Edition with military graphics.

For the GENERAL line a GENERAL 1000 EPS Limited Edition has been added with custom military-themed graphics on Matte Sagebrush Green automotive-style paint, and cut-and-sew leather-like custom seats. This model also has a:

  • 4,500 lb. Polaris HD Winch
  • Front Bumper
  • Maxxis Coronado Tires
  • Lock & Ride Headache Rack
  • $18,999 MSRP
 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS Dynamix

The new Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS Dynamix Edition for 2018.

The RZR line in 2018 will include the RZR XP Turbo Dynamix Edition which features RZR DynamixActive suspension. Dynamix tunes the suspension on the fly with 200 adjustments per second and is integrated with the Polaris Ride Command system. The MSRP for this model is $25,999.

2018 Polaris ACE 570 EPS

The 2018 Polaris ACE 570 EPS

The ACE lineup now includes an all new ACE 570 EPS for $8,999. This model is $500 more than the ACE 570, but features:

  • Electronic power steering
  • Trail premium dual A-arm front suspension with more ground clearance
  • Factory installed quarter doors
  • Mud guards
  • Stainless steel exhaust
  • Improved seat slider
  • Slightly less weight

Learn more:  Polaris.com