Polaris Buying Chryslers Electric Vehicle Holding

April 28, 2011
Global Electric Motorcars brings growth opportunities in low-emission small vehicle market

Polaris Industries Inc., known for manufacturing snowmobiles, motorcycles, and other off-road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles, has a deal to buy Global Electric Motorcars LLC from Chrysler Corp. for an unreported price. GEM designs and manufacturers electric vehicles, and is the described as the leading supplier of EVs with more than 45,000 battery-electric vehicles on the road worldwide.

Earlier this month Polaris announced a deal to by Indian Motorcycle, Kings Mountain, N.C., for an undisclosed price, and it would keep open at a reduced rate an Osceola, Wis., engine-assembly plant it had previously marked for shutdown.

Chrysler held Fargo, N.D.-based GEM as a legacy of DaimlerChrysler, which bought it from start-up investors in 2000. The GEM product line involves “neighborhood electric vehicles” that have top speeds of 25 mph but drive on public roads, and have a single-charge range of about 30 miles. Typically these cars are used by government agencies, resorts, planned communities, universities, medical and corporate campuses, sports teams, and taxi-shuttle services, as well as individuals. The company recorded 2010 sales of approximately $30 million.

“GEM provides Polaris with an established position in the low-emission small vehicle market and supports Polaris’ strategy of penetrating on-road market segments poised for growth,” stated Polaris CEO Scott Wine, Polaris chief executive officer. “We are excited about the outlook for growth within this market space, and are looking forward to developing even stronger growth prospects for the GEM business.”

Terms of the acquisition have not bee released. The sale is seen closing within 60 days, state sales certifications required from Polaris in order to sell GEM products.

Polaris had 2010 sales of $1.991 billion. It designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, ATVs and the Polaris RANGER® Side X Side vehicles, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles. Recently, Polaris introduced a on-road electric-powered vehicle for “neighborhood” use.

“Our vision is to accelerate profitable sales growth for GEM, by combining Polaris’ strength in new product innovation with the most-recognized brand in the low speed vehicle market space,” stated Mike Jonikas, vice president of the Polaris On-Road Vehicle Division. “These new product efforts for GEM will be supported by an expanded distribution presence within select domestic and international markets.”

Latest from Beyond The Cutting Zone