Arctic Cat to manufacture its own ATV engines
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. - Arctic Cat is getting into the engine business.
The Thief River Falls maker of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles has bought nearly all of its engines from Suzuki, which owns 32 percent of Arctic Cat.
The company said most of its engines will still come from Suzuki. But it's going to start making its own engine for one of its ATV models, the company announced Thursday.
Chairman and chief executive Christopher Twomey said the move will allow the company to be more responsive to customers.
"We just want a little control over our own destiny," he said.
The engines will be made at a refurbished Arctic Cat facility in Thief River Falls. The facility, its workers and the total research and development effort is expected to cost $10 million by the end of the year, Twomey said.
Arctic Cat decided to make its own engines about four years ago, creating the ATV engine division staffed by existing employees and engineers from German engine design firms.
The end result is the 650 H1, a single-cylinder four-stroke engine that would go into its 650 series of utility ATVs. The new engines will ship on 2005 model ATVs the company will manufacture later this year, spokesman Jay Lusignan said.
Arctic officials said they are not dissatisfied with ATV engine suppliers Suzuki and Kawasaki, but said those suppliers do not design engines to the company's specifications.
Twomey said Arctic Cat likely would make other engines in the future for its other ATV lines. He said it will not make snowmobile engines, which it currently buys from Suzuki.