Polaris CEO calls potential tariff increase ‘downright catastrophic’ for business

The CEO of Polaris Industries says an impending tariff increase is a catastrophe for his business, and could erase a third of the company's net income.

In a phone call with CNBC Tuesday, Polaris CEO and Chairman Scott Wine said the White House's plan to up tariffs on Chinese goods to 25% is "downright catastrophic in terms of impact on the company and employees."

The tariff increase will take effect Friday night if the U.S. and China aren't able to strike a trade deal.

Wine told Bloomberg in another call that he doesn't like to be vocal against the tariffs and undermine our negotiating position as a country. But added, “We just can’t stand for it."

Polaris has continued to pursue an exemption from the U.S. government on China tariffs and Wine said he remains hopeful that will still happen.

President Donald Trump said Sunday that tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods will increase to 25% on Friday, despite repeated claims by the administration trade talks were going well.

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The tariff rate on those goods was originally set at 10%. The president said that trade talks with China are continuing, but are moving "too slowly" as Beijing tries to re-negotiate in Trump's view.

If Trump follows through with his threats, virtually everything imported from China to the U.S. would face some sort of tariff.

The NMMA says Section 301 tariffs are taking a toll on the recreational boating industry, increasing the price of hundreds of commonly used marine materials, parts and products, including fiberglass, inflatable boats, and trailer tires.

For some products, the additional cost to manufacturers is thousands of dollars. Additionally, some of these items have not been manufactured in the U.S. in decades and there are no viable alternatives.

3 comments

  1. Phil Barbalace

    Short term pain, long term gain. But who looks long term?

  2. I think it's typical of Polaris Industries to think only of themselves, and not the big picture when it comes to the tariffs. The tariffs are working, just look at Mexico and Canada dealings. As a purchaser of over 20 Polaris products over the years, that won't be happening again. They again only thought of themselves, and left me, and the rest of the Victory owners, out in the cold, when they decided it was best to shutter Victory, since they bought a better "emotional" name in Indian. I told my wife that would happen the minute the news came out that they had bought the Indian name. I think that rather than abandoning all of those Victory customers, they should have folded Victory into Indian as the performance division for at least a few years to build loyalty and cross over sales for Victory guys to embrace Indian. Even then, there are guys like me, that bought a Victory, especially the Cross Country's, Hammers, Visions and Vegas's , that will not be seen on those overly wrought, and overly retro, Indians, especially after Polaris abandoned us. I've owned a least 10 Harleys, and there was no comparison at the end of 2013, of any of the Harley comparable Touring models, to the ride and handling of the Cross Country when I test road the 2013 Road Glide, Street Glide, Ultra Classic, and the Road King, (the bike I was replacing). The only way a Harley came close was if I was willing to shell out another 3-4000 for the CVO suspension. My wife agreed 100%, even though we were formally Harley people. I will go back to Harley now though, before I'll ever buy Polaris again, and/or ride an Indian.

  3. The items that are not manufactured the in the US that is used by the Marine Industry will just have to come home where they were originally manufactured. Polaris tell me how this will be a bad thing!!! We are the world largest consumer of marine products in the world why should we give China that strangle hold over us. If we continue to farm out that manufacturing and put all our eggs in the basket China controls they will have the upper hand and can set prices where they want them. No one including You Mr. CEO will be at the mercy of that Chinese controlled market! WAKE UP Mr. CEO go American.

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