Polaris Industries has executed a global realignment that eliminated 110 positions, including some in Medina and Plymouth.
The realignment included 45 layoffs that began Oct. 18. The other 65 affected positions were either contractors or “open” jobs that will no longer be filled, said Jess Rogers, spokeswoman for the Medina-based manufacturer of ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles and electric vehicles.
Employees who lost their jobs are receiving severance packages and outplacement assistance, she said.
Company officials declined to give specifics on which Polaris locations were affected, emphasizing that it was “throughout the company.” Several affected employees from the Medina and Plymouth offices were identified as a result of e-mail, phone or Facebook posts. It is not clear if some employees from Polaris’ research-and-development center in Wyoming, Minn., were affected.
Polaris also has facilities in Roseau, Minn., as well as in Iowa, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mexico, India and Poland.
The reorganization also involved 170 employees who were reassigned to different departments. Rogers said the goal of the changes were “not related” to the company’s massive vehicle-recall problem. The company has recalled more than 450,000 vehicles over three years for problems that include fire hazards.
Instead, Rogers said, the realignment is expected to help Polaris grow and become more efficient. For example, the company should be able to be more responsive to customer needs after moving various customer-focused jobs back into specific product divisions.
She emphasized that Polaris does not envision further large-scale workforce reductions.
“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 to earnings. Any financial charges that might result will not be posted until the company reports fourth-quarter earnings 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.
Because of the recalls, the company has paid millions in warranty costs and launched massive internal investigations. 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 his arm was crushed and later amputated after the Polaris RZR four-wheeler he was on rolled over during an April 2016 ride in Utah.
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.”
Dee DePass • 612-673-7725