Polaris has announced it will quit the ATV market in Australia by October this year (2020), following the introduction of new quad bike safety laws which come into play that same month.
Polaris has been a vocal opponent of the mandatory introduction of ‘Operator Protection Devices’ which will come into force from 11th October this year. And, to that end, has announced it will withdraw all ATV products (quad bikes) from sale in Australia before then. The brand will continue to sell its side-by-side vehicles in Australia.
The issue, according to Polaris, is a lack of evidence around the introduction of the OPDs which the company claims will actually cause more accidents than they prevent. Polaris is also on record as saying the shrinkage of the ATV market has been caused by farmers moving from ATVs to side-by-side vehicles.
“Over recent years the Australian off-road vehicle market has experienced record levels of transference as farmers transition en masse from quad bikes, to Side by Side vehicles,” said Alan Collins, Managing Director of Polaris Australia and New Zealand.
“Polaris has led this transition with its industry-leading range of 30 vehicles with ROPS, and the market shift has been helped along in no small part by the safety rebates offered by SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe Victoria.
“Considering the vast contraction of the quad bike market over the past five years as customers flock to Side by Side vehicles with properly engineered ROPS and factory integrated safety technologies, Polaris maintains its view that the market itself would end up signaling the end for quad bikes over coming years anyway through sheer lack of demand driven by the availability, benefits and range of Side by Side vehicles.”
Stage one of The Consumer Goods (Quad Bike) Safety Standard 2019 will take effect from 11th October 2020 with stage two kicking in from October 2021. In a statement, Polaris said: “Whilst it already holds the required US or European standards for its ATV (quad bikes) and has the capability to comply with the testing and labelling required under stage one of the new Standard, Polaris has deemed the process of complying to be unviable considering the rapidly reducing size of the ATV (quad bike) market, the fact it had already committed to withdraw ATV (quad bikes) from the market by October 2021 when fitment of so-called “Operator Protection Devices” (OPD’s) becomes mandatory and the substantial range of vehicle alternatives Polaris already offers through its 30 models with properly engineered Roll Over Protection Structures (ROPS).
“Polaris has actively opposed the fitment of so-called OPD’s due to the lack of reliable science or evidence to support the safety claims made of such devices, and the fact that research indicates these devices will likely cause as many injuries as they prevent. Whilst it had the option to comply with stage one and remain in the ATV (quad bike) market for a further 12 months (until October 2021), until so-called OPD fitment becomes mandatory, Polaris believes the requirements to do so make this an unviable short-term proposition and will instead focus on the 30 models with properly engineered ROPS it already offers in the Australian market.”
As it moves to exit the ATV (quad bike) market by October, Polaris said its focus will be on ensuring Side by Sides are accessible and offer a strong value equation for customers, with models such as the entry-level Ranger 500 “boasting a price point cheaper than most competitors 500cc ATVs (quad bikes) to offer consumers the confidence of a Ranger for the price of a quad”.
Polaris is withdrawing all ATVs (quad bikes) from sale by October 2020, including its current 50cc and 110cc Outlaw youth models. However, it will continue to offer its ROPS equipped, youth range comprising the single-seat ACE 150, sporty RZR 170 and Ranger 150 which is equipped with app-based speed control and geo-fencing.