Polaris to Pay $27 Million Penalty for Defective Off-Road Vehicles

More than 150 fires and one death were reported before its vehicles were recalled.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Polaris Industries, of Medina, Minnesota will pay a civil penalty of $27.35 million for failing to report defective RZR models and recreational off-road vehicles. The CPSC also announced a recall of more than 100,000 Polaris model year 2014 to 2018 RZR XP 1000 ROVs.

“If the exhaust silencer fatigues and cracks, the heat shield may fail to manage heat, which may lead to melting of nearby components or fire,” said CPSC acting chairman, Ann Marie Buerkle, in a statement

By the time that Polaris reported risks with model years 2013 through 2016 RZR 900s and model years 2014 through 2016 RZR 1000 ROVS, they had received reports of 11 burn injuries and 150 fires, one of which resulted in the death of a 15-year-old passenger. Another fire consumed 10 acres of land. By the time Polaris reported a defect with 2014 Rangers, they had received 36 reports of fires associated with the model.

Patty Davis, Communications Director of the CPSP,  told The Drive that companies have a 24-hour window to report to the commission if a product creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. Polaris failed to do so by filing late in 2016.  

“We are dedicated to leading the industry, not only in innovation and performance, but in safety and quality—because we will accept nothing less,” said chairman and CEO of Polaris, Scott Wine, in an email to The Drive.  

Polaris has agreed to maintain an enhanced compliance program, which will be monitored closely according to Buerkle.