Should Polaris Target Garia Next?

Garia Luxury Golf Car

Are the luxury golf cars and high-end utility vehicles of Garia appealing to Polaris?

With Polaris’ recent acquisition of Taylor-Dunn it made me wonder if Garia might make a good target as well. The European based luxury brand could be appealing to Polaris for a number of reasons.

  • Brand Value – The Garia brand has been around for ten years, not as established as the recently acquired Taylor-Dunn brand, but still a significant amount of time. More importantly though Garia is a luxury brand. Particularly with their new utility vehicle lineup, a high-end line of utility vehicles could be a nice overlay on the existing Polaris brands.
  • International Presence – With it’s strong European presence Garia would fit nicely with Polaris’ international expansion efforts. Garia could provide both expanded distribution and manufacturing options for other Polaris small vehicle brands outside the US. At the same time, Polaris manufacturing facilities could be used to reduce the cost of Garia vehicles sold in the US market.
  • Golf Segment Entry – The golf car segment is a major piece of the global small vehicle market, but Polaris does not have a presence in it except for the small portion of GEM owners using their vehicles for golf. The problem with the golf car segment is that it has been declining or stagnant in the US for several years and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. The golf car fleet market is also very price conscious and has its own interwoven distribution channel that funnels used fleet vehicles to golf car dealers. In the private transportation portion of the market used vehicles at various levels of refurbishment provide a range of choices in competition with new vehicles. However, what Garia has the potential to do is offer Polaris an entry into the golf car segment while remaining above the fray. They could avoid the price battles and target just the luxury end of the market which would require only a limited and targeted distribution network. Of course the question is if there is enough of a market there to interest them.
  • Complementary Vehicles – Garia vehicles would provide Polaris with golf cars and personal transportation vehicles but at the luxury end of the market that could complement the GEM brand in the personal transportation segment. Similarly the new Garia utility line could provide a higher-end vehicles sold through a complementary distribution network.
  • Electric Vehicles – Similar to Taylor-Dunn, the Garia product line would offer Polaris an opportunity to leverage their electric powertrain expertise and spread development costs among a larger array of vehicles.
  • Quality – Both companies focus on quality and the customer experience. There could be some good opportunities for knowledge transfer at many different levels for both companies.

What could be some reasons for not acquiring Garia. First, maybe Garia does not want to be acquired or their price could be too high. Second, Polaris may not see the luxury end of the small vehicle market as large enough to pursue. While luxury markets are often global, the luxury end of the small vehicle market may not be large enough even on a global scale to appeal to Polaris. Third, Polaris tends to purchase strong, established brands. Is the Garia brand strong enough and established enough to meet their needs. Fourth, Polaris may want to avoid the slow or no growth golf car segment altogether, even if the luxury end offers some growth opportunities.

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