14 Facts You Never Knew About Polaris Industries [Video]

Polaris Industries became successful with its line of high-quality snowmobile vehicles designed for mountain and backcountry riding. It became North America’s leading ATV market leader in 2012 and is a major producer of powersport vehicles such as off-road vehicles, motorcycles and dirt bikes. Thanks to its diverse portfolio, Polaris is a huge worldwide powersports player.

Are you interested in learning more about Polaris and its origins? At PowerSportsGuide, we have the skinny about this respectable company.

Who Founded Polaris?

Edgar Hetteen, along with his brother Allan Hetteen and friend David Johnson founded Polaris Industries in 1954. The men partnered up at Hetteen Hoist and Derrick in Minnesota. While the company was dedicated to manufacturing farm equipment, the trio came up with a snowmobile vehicle.   

Hetteen Hoist and Derrick was soon renamed Polaris Industries, Inc. 

When Was The First Polaris Snowmobile Built?

The first snowmobile Polaris Industries, Inc. built was in 1955. More like sleds, the vehicles would help consumers access cabins in the remote woods. They got their power from the 9-hp Briggs & Stratton engine and used Chevrolet bumpers for the skis. The first vehicle made a run along the Roseau snow in 1956. Since the prototype did so well, the machine was mass-produced.

Which Country Brand Is Polaris?

Polaris, Inc. was founded in Roseau, Minn., making it an American manufacturer of ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles and more. 

Where Is The Polaris Headquarters Located?

Polaris’ headquarters is located in Medina, Minn.

Which Company Owns Polaris?

Textron bought Polaris in 1968 and maintained its manufacturing operations in Roseau. However, in 1981, several investors got together to buy Polaris back from Textron. 

Who Is The Owner of Polaris?

Polaris is currently a publicly-traded company, which began in 1987 as a master limited partnership. In 1994, the company changed its title from limited partnership to corporation. 

Does Polaris Own Indian Motorcycle?

In 2011, Indian Motorcycle was going through the bankruptcy process, which is when Polaris made its purchase. When it did so, Polaris moved its production facilities to Spirit Lake, Iowa. 

Since 2013, Polaris has been marketing several Indian motorcycles, reverting to Indian’s classic styles. It manufactured three bikes under the new company – Indian Chieftain, Indian Chief Vintage and Indian Chief Classic. 

Does Polaris own KTM?

At this time, and despite the rumors, Polaris has no ownership stake in KTM. The rumor began after they strategically partnered in the mid-2000s.

KTM announced in 2005 it was partnering up with Polaris for a shared R&D and distribution networks. It was an agreement that would only last two years, but with the option to merge if they wanted. However, in 2006, KTM said the Polaris agreement was downgraded, and engines would only be supplied to Polaris. 

What Products Does Polaris Make?

Polaris focuses mainly on on-road and off-road vehicles, motorcycles, dirt bikes, snow bikes (Timbersled), and snowmobiles.

About 10 years ago, Polaris ventured into manufacturing personal watercraft and boats as well. Polaris also manufactures an extensive line of passenger and utility vehicles to meet government or commercial needs. 

When Did Polaris Make Their First Four-Wheeler? 

In a market that Honda dominated, it was 1985 when Polaris came up with its first four-wheeler – the trail boss 250 four-wheeler. It also built an ATV called the scrambler 250 3-wheeler.

Does Polaris Make Its Own Engines?

Polaris has been receiving its engines from Fuji Heavy Industries since 1968. In fact, Fuji was Polaris’ main supplier of engines until 1995 when the company branched out to create its own engines for some models. In 2013, Fuji Heavy Industries supplied a quarter of the engines to Polaris installed in some off-road vehicles and snowmobiles. 

Polaris is looking to rely less and less on FHI for its engines starting in 2014, focusing on developing its engine portfolio. 

Does Polaris Have Electric Vehicles?

Polaris has shown an interest in electric vehicles and teamed up with the electric vehicle company Brammo, Inc. to manufacture an electric version of the Ranger Side-by-Side. It’s also looked into the purchase of Global Electric Motorcars to expand its Brammo investment. 

One publication wrote Polaris’ move is to manufacture quieter drivetrains on motorcycles and ATVs, but snowmobiles would need to wait for breakthroughs with batteries before it’s feasible. Polaris announced in 2015 it was buying Brammo’s electric motorcycle business, with production starting at its Spirit Lake facility in late 2015.

Is Polaris Made In The U.S.?

Polaris vehicles are manufactured in the U.S., with most parts manufactured at its Wisconsin facility and the Roseau, Minn. facility handling the vehicle assembly. 

Where Is The Polaris Factory Located?

Polaris’ operations were founded in Roseau, Minn, which is where its manufacturing and engineering processes are still happening. Its headquarters, on the other hand, is located in Medina, Minn. 

Polaris also has factories in Spirit Lake, Iowa, Osceola, Wis., Huntsville, Ala. and Monterrey, Mexico. Its paint facility is located in Spearfish, S.D., and there is a manufacturing plant in Opole, Poland. 

In 2019, the company divested more into the boating division and acquired Marquis-Larson Boat Group of Wisconsin. It was later moved to Syracuse, Ind. 

Final Words

Although its start was quite rocky, Polaris, Inc. has become a worldwide player in the manufacturing of powersport vehicles such as UTVs, ATVs and snowmobiles. The company has gone through numerous changes since its inception in the 1950s and continues to expand itself and make way for future endeavors. 


Polaris Inc.




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