Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Are Chrysler and Fiat Pulling Back on Battery Power?

Maker selling its GEM battery vehicle division.

by on Apr.28, 2011

The GEM Peapod neighborhood-electrict vehicle.

Chrysler Group LLC is selling its neighborhood battery car unit, Global Electric Motorcars, LLC to Polaris Industries Inc.

Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said GEM, which is based in Fargo, North Dakota, didn’t fit into Chryusler’s portfolio. However, the sales of GEM does not mean Chrysler was giving up on electric vehicles entirely, he said. A battery-powered version of the Fiat 500 is still an approved program, Ranieri said.

But the trans-Atlantic partnership has otherwise taken a relatively low-visibility approach to battery cars, Fiat scrubbing several electric vehicle projects that Chrysler had previewed after the American maker emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

Subscribe Now! Free!

GEM, which builds low-speed EVs used in gated communities and golf courses, is considered something of a leader within the low-speed vehicle market, with a well-respected brand and approximately $30 million in sales during the 2010 calendar year. Since the company was established in 1998, they have placed more than 45,000 electric-powered vehicles on the road worldwide.

GEM has developed business-to-business sales expertise within the fleet and government vehicle markets, and has created a competitive advantage with core competencies in make-to-order vehicle fulfillment and mobile service support.

“GEM provides Polaris with an established position in the low-emission small vehicle market and supports Polaris’ strategy of penetrating on-road market segments poised for growth,” said Scott Wine, Polaris chief executive officer. “We are excited about the outlook for growth within this market space, and are looking forward to developing even stronger growth prospects for the GEM business.”

“Our vision is to accelerate profitable sales growth for GEM, by combining Polaris’ strength in new product innovation with the most-recognized brand in the low speed vehicle market space,” said Mike Jonikas, vice president of the On-Road Vehicle Division. “These new product efforts for GEM will be supported by an expanded distribution presence within select domestic and international markets.”

The agreement to acquire GEM will officially close within the next 60 days once Polaris secures the required state sales certifications to sell GEM products.

With annual 2010 sales of $1.991 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles and the Polaris RANGER(R) Side X Side vehicles, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use and has recently introduced a new on-road electric powered neighborhood vehicle.

The six GEM passenger and utility models are legal on most streets with posted speeds of 35 mph or less and have many of the same features of regular cars, but are much more economical in price and fuel consumption. GEM cars are eligible for incentives and tax credits from clean-air districts and other governmental agencies.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.