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POLARIS SPANKS HARLEY

US powersports manufacturer Polaris Industries has shamed Harley-Davidson with record third-quarter financial results, outpacing its iconic but troubled domestic rival in both profits and turnover during the same period.

Operating profit rose by 9% to £157.1m and net profit grew by 10% to £100.5m. Total three-monthly revenue was up by 12% to £942.8m. Core quadbike and side-by-side ATV sales delivered the biggest slice, rising by 3% to £532.8m. But the burgeoning Polaris motorcycle division considerably more than doubled last year’s quarterly contribution, stacking on 154% to £103.9m.

The company attributed this rapid growth to ongoing strong demand for the Indian motorcycle range and Slingshot three-wheelers. It reported that Indian product supply had been prioritised and boosted by tackling a paintshop bottleneck at the Polaris bike plant at Spirit Lake, Iowa. However, Victory motorcyle sales actually fell due to resultant lower inventory. To tackle this capacity issue in the longer term, Polaris has just acquired an additional specialist paint facility from Lehman Trikes in Spearfish, South Dakota — which became available because Lehman is relocating to California.

For the nine months of 2015 to date, Polaris revenue has risen by 13% to £2.34bn. Motorcycles accounted for over a tenth of that, climbing by 88% to £297.9m. Operating profit improved by 10% to £360.7m and net profit by 8% to £223.2m.   

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