Motorsports’ Polaris Drives Deals

Motorsports licensing is a hot category for licensing, and one that is getting considerable attention this year on the Licensing Expo show floor (read more about it in the Licensing Expo feature story "Licensing Expo 2014: Big Names, New Brands").

One top motorsports licensor is Polaris, which extends its racing, recreational, utility and all-terrain vehicles across multiple product categories, with particular emphasis on driving growth in 2014 and beyond.

"We think we have a tremendous amount of equity locked up in our brands collectively," says Steve Eastman, vice president, parts, garments and accessories, Polaris, which is also celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. "Collectively, we are a significant stakeholder in powersports. We know that our brands resonate extremely well with consumers. There is a lot of reach for the brand."

This year, Polaris has secured and executed a deal with licensee Livin Lite to manufacture the Polaris Toy Hauler, to be used in conjunction with Polaris' branded off-road and on-road vehicles (Polaris, Polaris Ranger, Polaris RZR, Polaris Sportsman and Victory motorcycles). The lightweight trailer will allow consumers to transport their Polaris vehicles in comfort, and includes living quarters complete with a kitchen, garage, bathroom and even flat screen TV.

The company will also look to extend its heritage motorcycle brands Indian and Victory, which it will be highlighting on the Licensing Expo show floor this year. According to Eastman, Polaris will take a more disciplined and "wait and see" approach to both brands' product programs, allowing it to be selective with partners in order to ensure that consumer products ultimately complement and augment both brands in the well-engineered and quality way that fans of Indian and Victory have come to expect.

Polaris has also locked in a partnership for e-bikes, too. The Polaris and Evantage Renewable Energy vehicles allow Polaris to support the company's strategy in growing the electric vehicle market, which it began strengthening in 2011 with the acquisition of Global Electric Motorcars and Groupil Industries. Last year, Polaris further snapped up A.M. Holding (Aixam Mega), as well, and now the company offers products in the light-duty hauling, people mover and urban/suburban commuting sectors of the small vehicles industry. This new niche category has created a range of products for Polaris that allows the company to further align its consumer products with the powersports category and take full advantage of the opportunities the company can provide its dedicated retail distributors.

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