Nov. 10--Polaris Industries has executed a global realignment resulting in the elimination of 110 employee, contractor and open positions, company officials confirmed Friday, adding that some layoffs affected workers in Medina and Plymouth, Minnesota.
The realignment included 45 employees who lost their jobs beginning Oct. 18. The other 65 affected positions either included contractors who were let go, or included "open" jobs that will no longer be filled, said Jess Rogers, spokeswoman for the Medina based manufacturer of ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles and electric vehicles.
Laid off employees are receiving severance packages and outplacement assistance, she said.
Company officials declined to state which Polaris locations were affected by the downsizings, but instead emphasized that those affected were "throughout the company." Several affected employees from the Medina and Plymouth offices were identified as a result of email, phone or Facebook posts. It is not clear if some employees from Polaris' R&D center in Wyoming, Minnesota were affected.
Polaris has facilities in Roseau, Medina, Wyoming and Plymouth, Minnesota, as well as in Iowa, Wisconsin, Alabama and Mexico, India and Poland.
In addition to last month's job eliminations, Polaris' realignment separately involved another 170 employees who were not laid off. Instead, they were relocated into different departments throughout the organization.
Rogers said the goal of the changes were "not related" to the company's massive vehicle-recall problem, which has dogged Polaris for three years.
Instead, the realignment is expected to help Polaris grow, become more efficient and sweep various customer service and customer focused jobs back into specific product divisions. That should help Polaris be more responsive to customer needs, Rogers said.
She emphasized that Polaris does not envision further large scale reductions to its workforce. "We have done our best to align the skills required of the organization with our business needs at this time and we don't anticipate additional large scale positions in the foreseeable future," Rogers said.
She added that restructuring costs are not expected to be material. Any financial charges that might result will not be posted until the company reports fourth quarter earnings results in January.
Polaris' layoffs come on the heels of a strong third quarter in which the company significantly improved sales of its off-road four-wheelers. It also follows three years of product quality concerns around fire risks and mechanical hazards. The company has paid millions in warranty costs, launched massive R&D investigations and recalled more than 450,000 vehicles in three years as a result. It has been sued by several plaintiffs after riders were injured, burned or killed while riding Polaris vehicles.
Last week, Texas resident Frederick Keith became the latest to sue Polaris, claiming product defect issues. Keith alleged that his arm was crushed (and later amputated) following an April 2016 ride in Moab, Utah in which the Polaris RZR four wheeler he was in tipped over.
In a statement, Polaris officials said, "We are saddened to hear about this incident and our thoughts go out to Mr. Keith. The safety of our riders is our top priority. We are aware of the incident and are thoroughly investigating it, including obtaining a copy of the police report that has indicated the vehicle was traveling at a high-rate speed for the conditions."
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