ATV Digest – Polaris signs $10.3 million military deal

Minnesota-based Polaris Industries was awarded a five-year, $10.3 million contract by the United States Department of Defense’s Special Operations Command for the production and delivery of up to 700 Polaris all-terrain vehicles.
U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq already use Polaris ATVs. The recent agreement, a result of more than two years of collaborative design work with Special Operations Command (SOCOM), includes the Polaris Sportsman MV (Military Version) model and the Polaris Sportsman 6×6 designed specifically for military use.
Boasting the engine of a standard Sportsman 700, the MV also incorporates infrared lights for enhanced night vision, run-flat tires, a keyless ignition, an enhanced suspension, a roll bar, a fortified steel exoskeleton, front and back racks that can carry two-times the cargo of a standard ATV, front and back winches capable of towing 2,500 lbs. each, and increased fuel capacity for longer range travel.
Polaris began producing finished MVs for SOCOM in March of 2003, and has supplied hundreds of additional models to other branches of the military based on existing Ranger 6×6, Sportsman 6×6 and Sportsman 500 models.
Gas Gas Reduces Prices, Adds ATvs
Gas Gas Motors of America announced a $200 across-the-board MSRP reduction. The 2004 Gas Gas Wild H.P. 450 and 300 have been reduced by $300.
“Instead of regrouping or even retreating, Gas Gas is pushing forward, despite market conditions and an unfavorable Euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate situation,” the company said in a press release.
Gas Gas also confirmed the release of two new ATVs. The spanish manufacturer will release two new two-stroke ATVs in 2004. The Wild H.P. 300 R.V. and the 240-2T join the family. The R.V. stands for reverse gear and is essentially the same ATV as the Wild H.P 300. The 240 two-stroke uses a detuned and destroked engine from the Wild H.P. 300. The 240 sits in the same chassis as found on the both Wild H.P. quads. It was designed to fit a subcategory within the ATV industry and appeal to the 13- to 15-year-old national race classes. It retails for $7,895.
A 50cc two-stroke model, which uses the same chassis as the Wild H.P. quads, is available in Europe as an adult-sized, street-legal quad.
Gas Gas also added red to its color choices for 2004. The manufacturer said it is implementing a very abitious growth strategy in the U.S. marketplace.
Cycle Country 2Q Revenues Up 97%
Cycle Country Accessories Corp., Milford, Iowa, reported revenues for its second quarter of fiscal 2004 rose 97% to $5.38 million compared to last year’s second quarter due to strong domestic and international demand.
Cycle Country says reduced operating costs resulting from management’s cost control initiatives and improved worker productivity achieved an increase in gross margin to 27.3% while reducing Selling, General and Administrative Expenses to 13.8% of sales.
Combining the increase in revenues with improving margins, Cycle Country was able to deliver Net Income of $465,013 or $0.11/share compared to an EPS of $0.00 in the same period last year.
The company says it remains well positioned to achieve its sales and profitability goals, and says the third quarter is already showing strong sales of mowers, sprayers, spreaders and other spring/summer products.
“While pleased with surpassing prior expectations for the most recent quarter, feedback from our OEM customers and indications from distributors cause us to be optimistic for the third quarter and the remainder of Fiscal 2004,” said Ron Hickman, CEO and president of Cycle Country Accessories.
Deere Approves EPA Regulations
Deere & Company, Moline, Ill., says new regulations for off-road diesel engines announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be challenging to meet, but recently expressed confidence in its ability to do so.
The new EPA Tier 4 rule continues the progression toward cleaner off-road diesel engines. EPA first adopted off-road regulations in 1996. The new standards, when fully implemented, should provide a 90% reduction in NOx and more than a 95% reduction in particulates, as compared to uncontrolled emission levels. In a move supported by Deere and others, the EPA recognized differences between on-highway and off-highway engines in the new Tier 4 rule.
“Although a number of technical issues remain to be resolved, such as the measurement and certification procedures, we are pleased with the overall direction taken by the agency in crafting the rule,” said James D. White, senior vice president, John Deere Power Systems Group. “John Deere will continue working with the EPA and others to address these remaining issues and will continue to be a leader in the progress that has been made over the years toward cleaner, more efficient, off-road engines.”
White said a phase-in provision helps promote better air quality while reducing compliance costs for manufacturers and enabling consumers to replace their older engines with newer, more affordable, cleaner emitting ones.
John Deere Power Systems produces diesel and natural gas engines and other power train components for nearly 200 Deere models and 1,000 models of machines made by other manufacturers, primarily for off-highway and marine applications.
W. Va. ATV Law Takes Affect
West Virginia’s ATV safety law took affect May 26, regulating vehicle use in a number of ways and requiring safety training for riders under the age of 18.
Gov. Bob Wise, calling the legislation an important first step to protecting West Virginia’s youth, signed the measure March 10 after seven yeas of legislative debate. While the law does not encompass all of the issues raised during debate, Wise said it puts safety regulations on the books which leaves room for future governors and legislators to build upon.
The measure requires riders under 18 to take safety courses and wear helmets on both public and private land, while barring those without driver’s licenses from carrying passengers. The law restricts ATV use on some state roads while allowing them on mostly backcountry roads that lack a painted center line.
Powersports manufacturers have said the provisions are worth enacting despite grave concerns that the measure would authorize ATV drivers to carry passengers and operate on paved roads, which they consider unsafe.
Off-Road Activist Injured
In other West Virginia ATV news, NOHVCC State Representative and Marketing Director for Hatfield/McCoy Trail System, Mike Pinkerton was severely injured in a hit-and-run accident on April 24 while walking back to his hotel near Fairfax, Virginia. Pinkerton was attending an outdoor recreation conference that evening.
As Pinkerton was walking to his hotel room, a car swerved off the road and stuck Pinkerton, and he consequently lost his left arm in the accident. Pinkerton’s arm was thrown 120 feet, he said. He said he called for help, and finally someone heard him.
“I feel extremely fortunate to be here,” the 32-year-old said. He also added that he was thankful that he doesn’t have any memory of being struck. Pinkerton also suffered minor fractures to the skull, slight bruising of the brain and has 10 to 15 stitches above his right eye, he said.
Police are still investigating the accident, Pinkerton said. Fairfax County Police said an older-model Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera hit him.
Trimble and u-Nav Forge Alliance
Trimble and u-Nav Microelectronics Corp. announced the companies have forged an alliance to jointly develop and market integrated Global Positioning System (GPS) chipsets and software solutions. The Southern California companies’ new solutions will incorporate Trimble’s proven core GPS software and u-Nav’s ultra low-power GPS chipsets. The copanies are aiming to produce the lowest power, smallest size, highest performance and most cost-effective chipsets on the market for portable electronic manufacturers.
As part of this alliance, Trimble will be licensing GPS software and providing technical support and training to customers using the combined chipset and software solutions. Trimble core GPS software provides both stand-alone and assisted GPS (A-GPS) operation. The parties expect to finalize a definitive agreement within the next three months.
u-Nav’s patented semiconductor platform is based on an all CMOS design and features a powerful matched filter search (acquisition) engine, combined with an advanced tracking engine. This permits an extremely small, low-cost GPS architecture for devices with outstanding performance. This proven, low power, GPS chipset targets cellular handsets, PDAs, watches and other portable consumer and enterprise electronics products.
BLM to BeginAnother Suit?
Local, state, and national trail access groups filed a 60 day Notice of Intent (NOI) to sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act at the 50,000 acre Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA). They charge the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with failure to actively and adequately manage off-highway vehicle use at this popular site located about 3 hours south of San Jose, Calif. psb

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