MILFORD, Iowa | After announcing last month that it had bought the former Klaussner/Stylecraft Furniture factory here, Polaris Industries said Wednesday it will produce a new line of commercial utility vehicles at the site, which has been shuttered since 2011.
The new Brutus line will be produced in conjunction with Bobcat Co., known for its skid-steer loaders and similar equipment. The two companies developed the Brutus together, Marlys Knutson, Polaris external relations manager, said Thursday.
"Bobcat is responsible for hydraulics and attachments. Polaris is responsible for chassis," she said.
The power train is subcontracted to Polaris, she said.
"Built on a platform of proven technology and enhanced by innovative, commercially focused new features, the Polaris Brutus line will deliver exceptional performance to our commercial customers and solve real work problems," Polaris President and COO Bennett Morgan told dealers at a meeting Wednesday in Phoenix, where the announcement was made.
The three Brutus models in the initial lineup include HD and HDPTO models in addition to the basic unit.
Each of the three models features a treadle pedal, which allows the vehicle to travel forward or in reverse without shifting gears; a multi-link, coil over De Dion rear suspension that maintains class-leading ground clearance while towing a best-in-class, 2,000-pound load; and a pallet-sized rear cargo box, according to Polaris.
Fully enclosed cabs, to tackle jobs in any weather, are standard on the HDPTO, factory-installed with heat, defrost and air conditioning.
Shipment of the Brutus line is due to begin in April, through select Polaris dealers.
Polaris is among the global sales leaders for snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands, both of which are made in nearby Spirit Lake, Iowa, where Polaris listed employment of about 700 last summer.
The company experienced its third consecutive year of record sales in 2012 -- $3.2 billion, a 21 percent increase over the previous year's $2.65 billion.
Manufacture of the Polaris GEM electric vehicles will continue in leased facilities two blocks east of the former furniture factory's main facility. Forty new jobs were promised to the Iowa Department of Economic Development when it was announced last month that Polaris had received $3.6 million in tax benefits.