January was a month full of change, for two of our customers here at Stern Rubber. Recreational vehicle manufactures, and competitors, Polaris Industries and Arctic Cat, both announced modifications to their companies for the future.
The alterations to the companies began with Polaris’s announcement at the beginning of January, that they would be cutting their motorcycle line, Victory. This change would be effective immediately, with all production coming to a halt, allowing the company to put all their focus into their recently purchased motorcycle brand, Indian. Although Polaris worked hard for 18 years with the brand, Victory had slid to just 2 percent of the entire motorcycle industry last year, with the Indian making leaps and bounds in the market against their partner brand. With the line of bikes coming to end, Polaris promises to continue to supply parts, and service for ten years, while honoring all warranty coverage, along with working hard to grow their new brand of motorcycle.
Another, even bigger transformation occurred for Polaris’s nearest competitor, Arctic Cat. After several years of financial hardship, the Minnesota based company sold to Textron Inc. for 247 million dollars. Textron, best known for their work in the aviation market, with brands such as Bell Helicopter and Cessna aircraft, are continuing to diversify themselves in the realm of off-road vehicles including popular brands like, E-ZGO and Cushman. The acquisition between Textron and Arctic Cat, occurred following several years of pressure in the recreational vehicle market that has broken down many companies in the industry. Although the purchase of Arctic Cat is a big change, Textron plans to
keep things similar, including the production of the machines in Minnesota, as well as keeping the jobs in current factories, while also continuing to grow the brand.
Much like our company here at Stern, our customers continuously work to grow, and expand, even if that includes making major changes to their platforms. With Polaris and Arctic Cat being long time customers, we look forward to what these new changes have to offer them as they continue to diversify themselves in the recreational vehicle market.