Despite lean economic times, Polaris Industries Inc. reported record third-quarter 2008 sales, led in large part by the success of the Ranger side-by-side business.

According to Polaris, results exceeded the company’s expectations. Sales reached $580.3 million in the third quarter, up 7% from the same period in 2007 ($543,979). ATV sales, which include the Ranger lineup, increased by 5%, while Parts, Garments and Accessories (PG&A) improved 20% and International sales jumped 31%.

ATV sales of $371.2 million in the 2008 third quarter is up almost $18 million from the third quarter 2007. Polaris’ side-by-side business remained strong during the quarter with the Ranger RZR side-by-side recreation vehicles continuing to sell well along with the Ranger Crew six passenger side-by-side utility vehicles.

During the third quarter, Polaris also began shipping the new redesigned Ranger for model year 2009. In addition, the RZR S was released, which added higher horsepower performance, a wider stance and more suspension travel.

Sales growth outside North America was also strong in the quarter for both Polaris’ core ATV and side-by-side vehicles. The overall market for more traditional core ATVs sold in North America remained very weak during the third quarter 2008 resulting in fewer shipments of Polaris ATVs to North American dealers as they continued to reduce their core ATV inventory levels in a tough economic environment.

Although the core ATV market continued to be weak, Polaris didn’t back off of product development, introducing the Sportsman XP, in both 550 and 850 engine displacement sizes.

For the first nine months of 2008 Polaris ATV sales have increased by 15%, from $857.8 million in 2007 to $986.0 million in 2008.

Related Reading:2009 Polaris Rangers: First LookPolaris side-by-side sales on the rise

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