Polaris Agrees to $27M Penalty for Not Immediately Reporting Vehicle Hazards
Polaris Industries Inc. has agreed to pay a $27.25 million civil penalty to settle claims from the Consumer Product Safety Commission over the company’s alleged failure to quickly report defects in its off-road vehicles.
The first of two vehicle line recalls in question involved the Medina-based company’s 2013 to 2016 RZR 900 and 2014 to 2016 RZR 1000 vehicles. Polaris knew early on about overheating issues affecting as many as 133,000 RZR vehicles, CPSC claimed, but the company did not inform the agency immediately.
Instead, the CPSC said Polaris waited to report the problem until after it received 150 reports of vehicle fires, 11 reports of burn injuries, and reports of a fire consuming ten acres of land while another resulted in the death of a 15-year-old passenger.
Polaris’s line of Ranger off-road vehicles, meanwhile, were facing a similar problem. After announcing a recall in fall 2016 to have approximately 93,500 model year 2014 and 2015 Ranger XP 900, XP 900 EPS and CREW 900 vehicles brought into Polaris shops to have defective heat shields fixed, the CPSC alleged the company failed to report cases of fires and heat shields falling off shortly thereafter. The affected vehicles this time, the agency said, solely involved the 2015 Ranger vehicles.
In tandem with the civil penalty announcement, Polaris on Monday recalled about 107,000 of its Razer XP 1000 vehicles under the 2014 to 2018 model years. The issue again involves a fire hazard related to the vehicles’ heat shield.
“Today’s recall and penalty agreement is the culmination of many years of hard work between Polaris and CPSC staff,” said CPSC acting chairman Ann Marie Buerkle in a statement. “The company has agreed to maintain an enhanced compliance program going forward, which we will monitor closely.”
By accepting the penalty agreement with the CPSC, Polaris is not admitting to the charges brought up by the agency.
“We are dedicated to leading the industry, not only in innovation and performance, but in safety and quality — because we will accept nothing less,” said Polaris CEO Scott Wine in prepared remarks. “I am extremely confident in the strength of our organization, the quality of our products, and the 11,000 employees who champion the principles and values that embody Polaris.”