Polaris Buys Another Electric Vehicle Maker

The purchase of France-based Goupil Industrie marks Polaris' third recent investment in electric vehicles; this year, it also bought electric-vehicle maker Global Electric Motorcars and purchased a minority stake in Brammo, which makes electric motorcycles.

Polaris Industries, Inc.-which has been investing heavily in electric vehicles-said Wednesday that it bought an overseas commercial electric vehicle manufacturer.

The company being acquired is Bourran, France-based Goupil Industrie SA, which reported about $25 million in 2010 sales. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Medina-based Polaris said that the acquisition strengthens its position in the small electric vehicle market and builds on its purchase of Fargo, North Dakota-based Global Electric Motorcars, LLC (GEM)-a Chrysler subsidiary that also makes electric vehicles.

“We are eager to pursue the natural synergies between [Goupil's] commercial light-duty work products and the more people-mover oriented offerings from our GEM business,” Polaris CEO Scott Wine said in a statement.

He added that Polaris sees “tremendous, long-term growth in the global small electric vehicle market,” and Goupil will be key in helping it to realize that potential.

In addition to buying Goupil and GEM, Polaris last month purchased a minority stake in Ashland, Oregon-based Brammo-which makes electric motorcycles. Polaris said that investments in the three companies have given it a solid foundation for future innovation in electric vehicle technology.

Electric vehicle-makers aren't the only companies in which Polaris sees potential: News of the GEM acquisition came less than a week after the company announced that it bought Indian Motorcycle from two British private equity firms for an undisclosed sum.

Polaris makes and markets off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and on-road electric-powered vehicles. It is among Minnesota's 30-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled about $2 billion in 2010.