Polaris Inc. has announced it is suspending production schedules and plant operations for one week at select powersports plants across its operations, including its Huntsville facility.
“As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we are focusing on the health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers and the communities where we operate, while also taking bold action to protect our business,” said Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of Polaris. “While broad-based economic uncertainty is creating headwinds, I am confident that we have the foundation and team we need to withstand these challenges.”
During the first quarter of 2020, Polaris had reduced shipments in anticipation of weaker retail demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
To help support its employees, Polaris has established a COVID-19 program under which U.S. employees can choose to receive up to 10 days of pay for income replacement in the event of COVID-related quarantine, illness or suspension of plant operations.
In addition to the Huntsville plant, Polaris has suspended plant operations in the United States at its Spirit Lake, Iowa; Monticello and Roseau, Minnesota; Battle Ground, Washington and Osceola, Wisconsin locations. In addition, it has suspended operations at its Monterrey, Mexico and Opole, Poland plants.
During the plant closures, Polaris plans to continue to ship finished vehicles to dealers, as well as produce products that are considered essential by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, including vehicles built or upfitted for the U.S. military; federal, state or local governments; or customers who are critical to shipping and delivery services.
In addition, the company will continue to manufacture and deliver boats to meet retail customer orders; and its distribution centers will continue to operate.
“Consistent with 2008, we are prepared for a period of vehicle retail demand being down significantly. Today, however, we have a much larger installed base and broader aftermarket portfolio, which will help to mitigate the impact of this unwelcome downturn,” Wine said.
Polaris has also launched programs to help support its dealers during the crisis, including lifting restrictions against home delivery of products to customers who request it.
“In addition to program enhancements, we have been in frequent, open communication with our dealers, which is allowing us to adjust shipment plans on an individual dealer basis and better monitor and protect dealer inventory health,” Wine said.
Wine and Polaris Chief Financial Officer Mike Speetzen said they will continue to monitor the situation and will have more information available by its release of first quarter 2020 financial results on April 28.