Polaris to Build Large ATV Plant in Alabama

MINNEAPOLIS (Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) -

The fast-growing Polaris Industries will build a new ATV manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Ala., adding 1,700 employees there by next year, company officials said.

The project cost was not disclosed.

Polaris, based in Medina, Minn., will break ground on the 600,000-square-foot factory before the end of March. The plant, on 453 acres of land, will be nearly twice as large as the Opole, Poland, facility the company opened in September.

Construction on the new plant will finish early in the second quarter of 2016, officials said.

The new factory is the latest of several expansions in recent years. Besides the Poland plant, the maker of all terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and motorcycles has spent millions adding space in Wyoming and in Minnesota; Spirit Lake, Iowa; Osceola, Wis.; and Monterrey, Mexico.

Alabama was chosen for the most recent expansion because it is close to several key customers in the southeastern United States, officials said.

“This new facility will complement our already strong and growing North American manufacturing footprint by reducing pressure on our existing facilities and enable each to remain focused on their current product lines as we continue to meet the demand for our innovative quality product,” said Ken Pucel, operations executive vice president, in a statement. “We are grateful to the city of Huntsville and the state of Alabama for their support.”

It is unclear what subsidies or tax relief Alabama and Huntsville offered Polaris. But state officials are clearly thrilled they were chosen for this move. “I am honored to welcome Polaris Industries to Alabama,” said Gov. Robert Bentley in a statement. The “announcement will create at least 1,700 well-paying jobs in Huntsville. I look forward to the completion of this state-of-the-art facility and a continued partnership with Polaris.”

Polaris spokeswoman Marlys Knutson said in an email that more details about the project will be released in a few months. Architects and contractors have not yet been hired, and the cost of the project has not been finalized, she said.

On Monday, Polaris stock closed at $142.45, down $3.16, or 2.2 percent. Regardless, Polaris is trading significantly higher than the $119 a share it sold for in February.