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Polaris announces partnership with Bobcat Co.

Few consumers are in the mood these days to buy expensive new motor toys. That has meant bad news for Polaris Industries (PII), one of the leading snowmobile and ATV manufacturers.

The Medina-based company saw record results in 2008, but revenue dipped in the fourth quarter. In January, the company predicted sales in 2009 would decline 15 to 23 percent.

Today, Polaris announced a strategic alliance with North Dakota-based Bobcat Co. that it expects to create new, long-term opportunities for both companies.

Initially, the deal will allow Polaris to sell “highly differentiated work vehicles” through Bobcat dealers. Eventually, the companies will share technology and co-develop new vehicles.

“This alliance is consistent with our stated strategy of diversifying Polaris beyond our core powersports segments and will enhance our efforts to accelerate the growth of our military and international businesses,” Polaris CEO Scott Wine said in the company’s statement.

With construction activity plummeting, Bobcat’s market isn’t performing well, either. Both companies have announced layoffs and/or plant shutdowns this year.

The alliance, however, has its focus on the long term. The first co-developed vehicles are planned to launch in the second half of 2010. Said Wine:

“With this alliance, Polaris and Bobcat will be well positioned for incremental revenue growth in 2010 and beyond.”

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