Polaris Recalls Ranger and ProXD UTVs

Polaris Pro XD 4000G utility vehicle
The 2020 Polaris Pro XD 4000G utility vehicle being recalled is sold to commercial markets.
Polaris Ranger XP 1000
The 2020 and 2021 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 is also part of the recall.

Ranger and ProXD UTVs Recall Summary

Polaris is recalling model year 2020-2021 Ranger 1000, Crew 1000, XP 1000 and Crew XP 1000 utility vehicles as well as model year 2020 ProXD 2000G, 2000G H, 4000G and 4000G H utility vehicles. The throttle pedal can return to the idle position more slowly than anticipated and create a crash hazard. The recall includes nearly 16,000 vehicles. Owners should stop using the vehicles and contact their local Polaris dealer to schedule a repair. Owners filed 52 reports regarding the issue, including six crashes, but no reported injuries. The following recall details are from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ranger and ProXD UTVs Recall Details

Name of product: Model Year 2020-2021 RANGER 1000, RANGER CREW 1000, RANGER XP 1000, and RANGER CREW XP 1000 and Model Year 2020 ProXD 2000G, ProXD 2000G H, ProXD 4000G, and ProXD 4000G H

Hazard: The throttle pedal can return to the idle position more slowly than anticipated once the pedal is released or stick in the depressed position, posing a crash hazard.

Recall date: March 4, 2021

Units: About 15,800 (In addition, 711 units were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact: Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.comand click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” or https://www.polaris.com/en-us/off-road-recalls/ to check your vehicle identification number “VIN” or go to “Product Safety Recalls” page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls or online at https://www.polaris.com/en-us/recalls/off-road/.

Description: This recall involves Model Year 2020-2021 RANGER 1000, RANGER CREW 1000, RANGER XP 1000, and RANGER CREW XP 1000 recreational off-highway vehicles and Model Year 2020 ProXD 2000G, ProXD 2000G H, ProXD 4000G, and ProXD 4000G H off-road utility vehicles.  The vehicles were sold in the following colors:  black, blue, burgundy, camo, gray, green, orange, red, sand, tan, titanium, and white.  The RANGER vehicles have three or six seats and the ProXD vehicles have two or four seats.  The RANGER and ProXD vehicles have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille.  The model number and VIN are printed on a portion of the left rear frame (on the driver’s side of the vehicle) under the cargo box.  

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact a Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair.  Polaris is notifying all dealers and contacting registered owners directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 52 reports of throttle pedals returning to the idle position slowly or sticking, including six reports of vehicle crashes resulting in minor property damage.  No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Polaris dealers nationwide from April 2020 through January 2021 for between $13,000 and $31,000.

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

Manufactured In:  United States and Mexico 

Recall number: 21-724

SVR’s Take

At 16,000 units the recall is medium sized for Polaris. They are the largest UTV manufacturer by far so you would expect them to have more and larger recalls. However, this is the seventh recall dating back to January of 2020. The recall also has relatively high number of consumer reports. It appears they are still having quality control issues despite making changes after their massive recalls several years ago. SVR tracks recalls on an ongoing basis.

2021: A Turning Point for Electrifying UTV?

Polaris Ranger electric UTV developed in partnership with Zero Motorcycles
An electric Ranger is the first product from the Polaris partnership with Zero Motorcycles.

Polaris’ New Push to Electrify UTVs

Polaris’ announcement that they will be producing a new electric Ranger in collaboration with Zero Motorcycles is a strong indication that 2021 may be a turning point for the electrifying UTVs. They are the leading UTV manufacturer and already produces an electric Ranger but with traditional lead acid battery technology. There was a lithium ion battery equipped option at one time, but the model was prohibitively priced. The Ranger EV with a lithium battery pack cost approximately $10,000 higher than the lead acid version. This new Ranger EV is another step by Polaris as they increase investment towards electrifying UTVs and other powersports products.

At the end of 2019 the company created a new position, senior vice president of Electrification Strategy. Signaling the initiative’s importance, they filled it with the then president of Off Road, the company’s largest business division. In September, 2020 they announced a 10-year partnership with Zero Motorcycles as a cornerstone to their electrification strategy. Named rEV’d up, the strategy aims to offer electric vehicle options within each of its core product segments by 2025. Zero Motorcycles is one of the leading electric powertrain technology companies.

Polaris Has Extensive EV Experience

Polaris actually has quite a bit of experience in electric vehicles, but mostly outside of their powersports segments. Through the years the company has acquired GEM, Goupil, Brammo Electric Motorcycles and Taylor-Dunn, all manufacturers of electric vehicles. However, these companies are primarily active in markets that are more tangential to powersports. Polaris used the Brammo technology in the Ranger EV but not a motorcycle. Goupil produces light-duty commercial vehicles for the European market, GEM produces light-duty utility vehicles and transporters for college/corporate campuses and such, and Taylor-Dunn produces industrial utility vehicles. While these acquisitions were for commercial markets not powersports, Polaris gained a wealth of experience with electric vehicles. 

Volcon is a startup looking to electrify powersports.

Moving forward, these product lines can provide manufacturing volume and a broad product development base to further spread the cost of developing new electric powertrain technology. This could become a distinct advantage for Polaris that most of their competitors do not have. Can-Am, their leading powersports rival, is also moving into electrification, but is not active in other electric vehicle segments. Others, like Textron and Yamaha are major players in the golf car market. More interesting and potentially tougher competitors may be new entrants into the market like Texas-based Volcon Motors. This electric vehicle start-up has plans to introduce an all-terrain electric motorcycle in the Spring of 2021, a two-seat electric UTV later in 2021 and a four-seat UTV in 2022. Start-ups lack the financial resources, manufacturing expertise and distribution networks of established players but aren’t burdened by cultural legacies and management incentives tied to ICE based vehicles.

Electrifying UTVs is Challenging

Electrifying UTVs poses a unique challenge because of their size, performance requirements and usage profile. They need both power and range but still must remain reasonably priced. They need the power because, well, its powersports after all and a vehicle’s horsepower is a defining characteristic. Work oriented UTVs, especially for heavy duty work applications, need plenty of horsepower as well. Users want to make long trail rides without being stranded in the middle of nowhere, or be productive work throughout the work day. 

There is limited space for a battery pack in these very compact vehicles. In addition, a large sized battery pack will make the vehicles prohibitively expensive. It’s not surprising that they are starting with the lower priced Ranger. A small but efficient motor and small battery pack could keep prices low enough while still delivering better performance than the existing ICE engine in the Ranger. The new Ranger EV could also fit in nicely on college and corporate campuses or smaller farms/ranches where the range and work requirements would be not as demanding. 

High-end, off-road performance vehicles might be the next step. Already a premium market, they may be able to more readily absorb the additional expense of a large battery pack. These higher-end models could also serve to demonstrate the unique performance characteristics of an electric powertrain as well as gauge the interest of a customer base that likes the sound of ICE engines. An interesting aspect is that the performance customer is likely to wear out the rest of the vehicle before the advanced battery pack. Selling or leasing the battery pack separately from the rest of the vehicle may become an option. Approaching the UTV market from both ends may be the most likely strategy. Moving up the lower priced work-oriented UTVs and moving down from the highest priced, off-road performance UTVs, as electric powertrain technology improves and becomes more affordable. 

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Yamaha Recall: Wolverine RMAX1000 UTVs

Yamaha Wolverine RMAX1000 UTV
Yamaha is recalling certain Wolverine RMAX1000 UTVs due to a shock absorber issue.

Yamaha Recall Summary

In February Yamaha issued a recall of model year 2021 Wolverine RMAX4 1000 utility vehicles. The relatively small recall involves approximately 820 vehicles sold from October through December of 2020. The rear shock absorber mounts can break and potentially cause a crash. Owners should stop using the vehicle and contact a local Yamaha dealer for a free repair. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Yamaha Recall Details

Name of product: Model Year 2021 Wolverine RMAX4 1000 Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs)

Hazard: The vehicles’ rear shock absorber mounts can break, posing crash and injury hazards.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: February 11, 2021

Units: About 820

Consumer Contact: Yamaha at 800-962-7926 anytime or online at https://yamaha-motor.com/and click on “CPSC Recall Alerts” for more information.  In addition, check your vehicle identification number “VIN” on Yamaha’s “Product Safety Recalls” page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls.

Description: This recall involves model year 2021 Wolverine 1000 RMAX4 recreational off-highway vehicles.  The side-by-side vehicles were sold in blue, green and gray.  The model name is shown on the side of the vehicle.  The Vehicle Identification Number can be found on the frame at the left rear.  The model number is located near the front left corner of driver’s seat.   

Model YearModel NameModel Number
                2021Wolverine RMAX4 1000 XT-RYXF10WPZM 
 Wolverine RMAX4 1000 LEYXF10WPLM
 Wolverine RMAX4 1000YXF10WPAM

 Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact an authorized Yamaha dealer to schedule a free repair.  Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly.  

Incidents/Injuries:  Yamaha has received one report of the rear shock absorber breaking loose.  No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Yamaha dealers nationwide from October 2020 through December 2020 for between $21,300 and $25,300.

Importer(s):  Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A., of Cypress, Calif.

Manufactured In:  Japan

Recall number: 21-720

SVR’s Take:

On one hand, this recall is small compared to what we typically see and to the overall sales volume for Yamaha. On the other hand, it is a new vehicle and has not been on the market too long. Not what Yamaha’s management would like to see as they rolled out their new Wolverine lineup. This is the first recall SVR remembers involving shock absorbers in at least the last five years. Textron Off Road had a recall involving suspension arms in 2019. SVR tracks recalls on an ongoing basis.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com