Editors’ Picks: Bobcat, Polaris team up

Skid-steer maker Bobcat Co. and snowmobile and ATV maker Polaris Industries have signed on for a “long-term strategic alliance” that will ultimately include co-development of new equipment.

The agreement, announced last week, is meant to “leverage the complementary strengths of both companies to penetrate work-related market segments globally.”

“Initially, Polaris will produce and sell highly differentiated work vehicles to Bobcat for sale through the Bobcat dealer network,” Scott Wine, CEO for Minnesota-based Polaris, said in the two companies’ release.

“The breadth and depth of our co-operative efforts will expand thereafter to include co-developed vehicles for both Polaris and Bobcat and further technology sharing.”

The new Polaris-made Bobcat vehicles are expected to be launched by the second half of 2010, the two companies said.

According to Chicago-based industry magazine Construction Equipment, the new vehicles are to be branded Bobcat “work vehicles” but would replace the Bobcat 2100, 2200 and 2300 utility vehicles made by Club Car.

“Bobcat will continue to support and take orders for the next 12 months,” the magazine quoted a spokesperson for North Dakota-based Bobcat as saying.

The deal will not affect Polaris’ Ranger or Bobcat’s Tool Cat product lines, the magazine said.

Polaris has 1,800 dealers, of which only about 20 are Bobcat distributors, the magazine said, also quoting a Polaris spokesperson as saying Polaris products wouldn’t be marketed by way of Bobcat dealerships — at least not at first.

“This alliance is consistent with our stated strategy of diversifying Polaris beyond our core powersports segments and will enhance our efforts to accelerate the growth of our military and international businesses,” Wine said in the companies’ release.

“This alliance will enable both companies to extend our customer bases and provide profitable growth,” Bobcat Americas president Richard Goldsbury said in the same release.

— The “Editors’ Picks” feature will highlight eyebrow-raising and unusual-yet-true news from the world of farming, as gleaned from various sources by the editorial staff of the Farm Business Communications division.

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