“As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we are focusing on the health and safety of our employees, dealers, customers and the communities where we operate, while also taking bold action to protect our business,” says Polaris CEO Scott Wine. “With most of our vehicles – and our Think Outside tagline – highly amenable to social distancing, we believe, with validation from our dealers, that powersports customers will not hibernate. Consistent with 2008, we are prepared for a period of vehicle retail demand being down significantly.”
A more specific response to what Polaris is doing for its dealers included numerous new programs to help support dealers during this challenging time, Polaris has added dealer support in the areas of retail rewards and flooring on future orders. Polaris has temporarily lifted restrictions to enable participating dealers to provide home deliveries where requested by customers. To further assist in cash flow, our dealer financing arm, Polaris Acceptance, a joint venture with Wells Fargo, is covering all Off-Road Vehicle and Indian Motorcycle flooring interest payments through May 31, 2020.
“As small business owners, our dealers are facing considerable pressure on their business,” Wine noted. “In addition to program enhancements we have been in frequent, open communication with our dealers, which is allowing us to adjust shipment plans on an individual dealer basis and better monitor and protect dealer inventory health. Additionally, RFM is benefitting us and our dealers, facilitating shipment adjustments through real-time information on fluctuating demand. In the near-term, we are taking further steps to support our dealers by updating rebates and payout levels and extending Polaris paid flooring support.”
Polaris’ Chief Financial Officer Mike Speetzen added, “We are managing through unprecedented times, and as a result, we are taking proactive, prudent steps to enable the flexibility and liquidity of the Company for the long-term. As of March 20, 2020, we have approximately $150 million in cash on hand, and another approximately $280 million available under our current revolver. We believe the actions we are taking today will enhance our ability to withstand this heightened global economic turmoil.”
“We have been aggressive with employee safety and supply chain mitigations actions, so our plants have operated effectively to meet the strong retail momentum we saw at the start the year, through the second week of March,” claims Wine. “As anticipated, pandemic concerns ultimately began to impact demand, which dropped suddenly in the middle of last week, and we are adjusting our operations accordingly. Between our Retail Flow Management (RFM) system and our agile workforce Polaris is built to react quickly during rapidly changing times. However, with no near-term resolution to the COVID-19 related economic slowdown in sight, we expect these events to have a significant impact on our 2020 financial results.”
Wine continued: “While broad-based economic uncertainty is creating headwinds, I am confident that we have the foundation and team we need to withstand these challenges. We are taking action to further enhance our financial flexibility and adjust operations in light of the reduced demand, and we will think critically and act judiciously to keep Polaris strong in both the near- and long-term.
"This Polaris team is exceptionally strong, and as we work together to manage through these serious external challenges, I am extremely confident that we will get through this successfully and emerge as a better and stronger company.”