Polaris bets big on India, begins local assembly of the Hammerhead ATV

MUMBAI:Polaris India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the world’s biggest All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) manufacturer Polaris Industries Inc., has started assembling Hammerhead, an off-road go-kart, locally to make it affordable and to meet the growing demand from customers, a top official said.

“We have been here in India since 2011 but this is the first time that we have started assembling one of our products.

We believe that Hammerhead will have greater demand as prices have come down by 20 per cent following local production,” Pankaj Dubey, Managing Director, Polaris India, told The Hindu.

Hammerhead is imported in the Completely Knock Down (CKD) form and then assembled in India at the company’s facility in Faridabad.

“We started manufacturing last month and going forward, we may add new products depending on more volume. India is a key market for us and we see a long-term future here,” Mr. Dubey said.

More coming
“Hammerhead will be our No.1 product in ATVs in terms of volume. Once we gain traction, we will get more products to India. We see lot of potential in Hammerhead,” Mr. Dubey added.

In a year, around 1,000 ATVs are sold in India and Polaris has a 20 per cent market share. The rest is controlled by unorganised players. With Hammerhead, Polaris expects to corner some market share from unorganised players, he said.

The product has come under the Polaris portfolio following an acquisition in China and is priced at Rs.2.85 lakh. “It looks like a go-kart but goes off-road. Most hammerheads will be purchased by Polaris Experience Zones,” he said.

Recreation centres
Polaris Entertainment Zones are recreation centres where people come to enjoy the thrill of riding ATVs, according to him. Meant to create demand for its ATVs, they now number 52 across the country through franchisees, each with an investment ranging from Rs.20 lakh to Rs.1.5 crore, mainly in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and this number is expected to go up to 200 in three years, Mr. Dubey said. Polaris also sells ATVs to the Army and paramilitary forces. The Army has acquired ATVs from Polaris for patrolling in snowy and the border areas.

Last year, the company reported 70 per cent growth in revenue, while its compounded annual growth rate has been over 40 per cent for the last five years.

‘Indian’ superbikes
Apart from ATVs, the company also sells superbikes under the brand name ‘Indian’. It has dealerships at six locations in India and is planning to have a total of 12 outlets by the year-end.

Polaris, in a joint venture with Eicher Motors, is manufacturing an on-road vehicle called Multix, a combination of a car, a pick-up van and a generator of electricity. Polaris expects to manufacture its full range here by 2020, Mr. Dubey said. Meanwhile, the company is expanding its presence in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan by utilising its learning experience from here.