Thief River Falls, MN – A sagging oil and ag economy, along with little snow the past two winters, has dealt one of the region’s largest employers a major financial blow.
Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls manufacturers snowmobiles and ATVs. It lost 10 million dollars on sales of 105 million during the first quarter of this year. However, the company will soon introduce a new product they’re betting will turn things around.
Arctic Cat employees 14 hundred people, producing snowmobiles and ATVs. It has 1,000 dealers in 30 countries around the world.
CEO Chris Metz says they’ve invested heavily in making this a state of the art plant. But, a sagging ag economy means fewer sales of its ATVs to farms and our winter weather has not been cooperating either.
“With no snow, two years in a row in a number of key markets, geographies for us is… has hurt our business as well,” said Chris Metz, Arctic Cat CEO.
However, Metz says sales will improve when the cyclical ag economy rebounds. Plus, they’re going after new markets with a couple of new products that will soon be unveiled.
A 6-passenger utility vehicle for hunters and what’s called a snowbike.
“Picture a motorcycle with a snowmobile track on the back of it,” Metz said. “It’s going to be one of the things that helps rejuvenate the snowmobile industry, because if you’re in the mountains or trail areas, this is a fun, fun vehicle to ride. It’s like riding a dirt bike in the snow.”
Meanwhile, Metz says he expects overall sales to remain a bit slow, at least until those new products hit the market later this year. He says Arctic Cat remains a strong company with a 50-year track record and bright future.
Arctic Cat is also developing racing venues for its products in order to boost name recognition and sales.