Rumormill: Polaris could enter NEV, scooter and sportbike markets
According to Dealernews, these new developments may spur the introduction of a two-wheel drive electric side-by-side four-wheeled vehicle intended for low-speed use in gated communities and neighborhoods and a new small-displacement scooter that would likely be sourced from China and sold in the U.S. market. Perhaps most interesting of all is the possibility that Polaris, led by former racer Mark Blackwell, could move past its cruiser roots and enter the sportbike market.
Polaris Announces Creation of On-Road Vehicle Division
MEDINA, Minn.--Polaris Industries Inc. today announced the creation of a new On-Road Vehicle Division to help continue its drive toward the company's vision and objectives which include establishing a significant on-road presence. The new division takes the existing skills and assets within the company and aligns them in a way that maximizes cohesive and strategic growth for Victory Motorcycles and other on-road products and brands.
"Victory Motorcycles, with its strong brand recognition and customer loyalty, will be one of the major components of our new On-Road Vehicle Division that we're announcing today," said Scott Wine, Chief Executive Officer of Polaris Industries. "This new division will support our efforts to be the 'Best in Powersports' and continue building on our strong on-road brands and global market leadership in this critical space."
Several organizational changes that set the foundation of the On-Road Vehicle Division are also being announced today. Intended to further strengthen the company in the on-road marketplace, these management moves put the new division in the best possible position to sustain profitable growth and long-term success.
First among these changes is Mark Blackwell's new role as Vice President of Motorcycles. Blackwell has spent the past eight years leading day-to-day operations for Victory Motorcycles and played a key role in building the brand from an unknown startup into a highly regarded competitor considered to be among the worlds finest. Under Blackwell's leadership, Victory has expanded into markets outside the United States and is well-positioned for long term success. Blackwell's deep knowledge of products and markets in the motorcycle industry will continue to be an invaluable asset to the Victory brand and all other on-road vehicles.
Mike Jonikas, currently Vice President, Sales & Corporate Marketing has been appointed to the newly created role of Vice President of the On-Road Vehicle Division. In this position, Jonikas will be responsible for rapidly growing the on-road business for Polaris including strategic direction for Victory Motorcycles, and any on-road adjacencies we may add in the future. Jonikas brings proven skills to the On-Road Vehicle Division that include leading business teams to profitable growth, developing new markets and successful commercialization of new products. He will continue to lead our Sales & Corporate Marketing teams. During the past nine years, Jonikas has succeeded in several key roles with Polaris including Director of Product & Marketing Management for ATV, the first General Manager of the Polaris side-by-side business, and eventually as Vice President Sales & Corporate Marketing, overseeing the creation and phased roll-out of the Max Velocity Program.
Steve Menneto has been promoted to the position of General Manager of Victory Motorcycles, to lead profitable sales growth for this business. Since joining Polaris in 1997, Menneto has risen quickly, and has demonstrated a strong knowledge for strategic planning and increasing business profitability. Additional experience in positions such as Region Sales Manager, Director of Dealer Development and Director of North American Sales developed Menneto's deep understanding of Victory's dealer network and his keen eye for the competitive environment at the dealership level for on-road vehicles.
"The Victory Motorcycles brand was essentially built from scratch through tireless work in the past ten years," said Bennett Morgan, Chief Operating Officer of Polaris Industries. "Now, by combining the diverse strengths of Mark, Mike and Steve to further develop our long-term strategies in the On-Road Vehicle Division, we are positioning ourselves for continued growth both in the motorcycle industry and, in the bigger picture, across all segments of the on-road marketplace."
Polaris is committed to growing its on-road vehicle business through continued growth in the motorcycle industry along with successfully introducing products into other on-road adjacencies in the future. The creation of this new On-Road Vehicle Division reflects efforts to position the company's key personnel into roles that suit their strengths and allow them to further develop the Polaris business and brands within the on-road market.
Lastly, Judy Kulsrud has been appointed to the position of Director of North American Sales replacing Steve Menneto. Judy has been with Polaris since 1995 and has a broad set of experiences across many functional areas of the business including management positions in Retail Development, Sales Operations, Regional Sales Management, and most recently the position of Director of Dealer Development. Judy has consistently delivered results and been successful in each of these positions.
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