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26/03/2020

Barely a week after Harley-Davidson shut down its US production plants, following a worker at Harley’s Wisconsin engine assembly plant falling ill with coronavirus infection, Indian Motorcycle parent Polaris Industries followed suit on 24 March.

The company suspended operations at what was described as “selected powersports plants”. But the list provided seemed to include all of its domestic off-road vehicle and motorcycle manufacturing sites, variously located in the US States of Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington, as well as foreign facilities at Monterrey in Mexico and Opole in Poland. Concern for the well-being of personnel was clearly mixed with collapsing sales, though.

In a statement, Polaris chairman and chief executive Scott Wine said: “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. 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.

"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. 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.”