Polaris Lays Off 60 Employees

Polaris Industries, one of Minnesota’s largest employers, laid off 60 of its 3,800 employees Tuesday. Thirty-four of the lay-offs occurred at the company’s Roseau, Minn., production facility.
The lay-offs were part of a workforce reduction plan that Marlys Knutson, external relations manager for Polaris, said paralleled a decrease in snowmobile manufacturing.
“As we cut back snowmobile production due to the last seven years of low snowfall, we never made any staffing changes to reflect the lower build,” Knutson said.
Knutson said the lay-offs occurred “pretty much across the company” – including engineering, manufacturing, human resources, sales and marketing. She said all of the 60 employees received severance packages and job search assistance. The Roseau employees who lost their jobs, mostly engineers and personnel with technical capacities, were offered positions in the factory’s production line.
Polaris reported a record $19.1 million net income for its first quarter ended March 31, 2005, a 12% increase over 2004. The company said sled sales decreased to $7.2 million for the first quarter 2005 compared to the prior year’s first quarter sales of $13.3 million.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2004, snowmobile sales increased 26% compared to the prior year. Those results were aided by fourth quarter sled sales, when the company posted a 39% increase compared to last year’s fourth quarter. Polaris said the fourth quarter upswing in sales was primarily due to timing of shipments – the majority of its new Fusion 900 and 900 RMK models were shipped to dealers in the fourth quarter.

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