Development Beat Marches On

Farmer Iron

Company engineers keep pushing the envelope on equipment...just check out this latest example.

Published on: July 23, 2009

We've been in "these economic times" so long that for some it may appear as if this is the new normal. But that hasn't stopped the research and development activities at equipment makers. You're already going to get a good look at some new equipment at the upcoming fall farm shows, and today the veil came off of the latest products from Polaris.

You can check out the new Ranger, including an electric version (yep, everyone's getting into that business) in a report by Dan Crummett, who also edits our PowerIron e-newsletter. Just visit New Polaris on this site.

I want to take a look at another new machine Polaris announced recently from its new On-Road division. The company announced the new division a couple months ago, and frankly some of us following the equipment industry wondered just what the heck was going on. Now comes the electric Neighborhood Vehicle - their name for it - which Polaris is calling the Breeze.

Polaris is hoping this new machine will be perceived as a 'cool' Breeze by the planned community market. The Breeze is the first new product from the Minnesota company's On-Road Division.

While electric like the new Ranger, the Breeze shares little in common with the rugged electric Ranger. Instead, the buyer will find a machine designed for a range of consumer uses from golf, to transportation to light cargo hauling. The machine can carry up to four people (imagine only one cart for your foursome!).

This is not a farm vehicle. But the new On-Road Vehicle Division at Polaris sees an opportunity in master planned communities were electric vehicles are getting more popular. The Breeze targets that market and will be offered through "Polaris Neighborhood Vehicle dealerships" starting in September.

Diversification has worked for Polaris in the past when it got into the all-terrain vehicle and later the utility-vehicle (or side-by-side) market after decades as a snowmobile and personal water craft maker. And the company isn't afraid to slice off divisions that don't perform. For example, the personal watercraft business went away a few years ago. Oh, yeah, and they created a motorcycle division - Victory - which has been met with solid sales.

We'll be watching the new on-road division at Polaris, just to see what else might be coming. And we'll follow the latest development in machines you can put to work on the farm. You'll be able to see the new Rangers at the Farm Progress Show. Start planning your trip to Decatur, Ill., for Sept. 1, 2 or 3, now.

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