Polaris recently announced a strategic partnership with Ariens, a maker of outdoor power equipment. Ariens sells a variety of products under the Ariens, Gravely and other brands and is based in Wisconsin. The partnership will allow Polaris access to markets not as easily served through their network of powersports dealers. Under the partnership Polaris will be providing a “highly differentiated work vehicle” for the Gravely brand. The partnership is expected to create opportunities for some dealers for each of the companies. Learn more: Polaris.com
Comment: Growing revenue from adjacent markets, like small, task-oriented vehicles for commercial and work applications has been a long term goal for Polaris. They have already established a partnership with Bobcat and added the GEM line, which is primarily sold to commercial and institutional entities like colleges and municipalities. The challenge is that these markets require a more aggressive sales effort to get out and visit with potential buyers in-person as opposed to a powersports dealer that tries to generate interest and awareness and drive traffic through their door.
The Bobcat sales have developed slower than expected as the purchase cycle for commercial and institutional buyers is longer. I also think an issue with the Bobcat partnership is that Bobcat dealers might be more focused on selling their more expensive equipment offerings like skid steers. I have heard some doubts from GEM dealers that powersports dealers will not know how to sell the GEM into its traditional market. So I think this partnership with Ariens puts another iron in the fire as Polaris goes after the commercial and work segments. The Ariens partnership provides more exposure to work UTV markets and could produce some synergies with their expertise in snowblowers and mowers for the Polaris Brutus line of vehicles which take work attachments.