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Machinery Pete: Talking ATVs and jobs

Interesting timing.

Last Saturday (May 22nd) I stood at a large farm retirement auction in southeast Minnesota shooting video of a 2006 model Polaris Ranger 700 twin EFI 6x6 ATV with only six original one owner hours on it as it sold on the auction.

I was most curious to see not only what this ATV sold for, but also the whole vibe of the auction crowd in regard to this Polaris ATV. I've been quantifying sale price data on all types of equipment for 20+ years now. Here's a piece of equipment for sale, it went for X. Easy. But not as easy to quantify human emotions and what role they play when it comes to assigning value.

Two days before the auction last Saturday Polaris announced they would be closing their parts plant in Osceola, Wisconsin, and moving the operation to Mexico. More than 500 jobs in the small western Wisconsin community will be lost. The news was well publicized here in southeast Minnesota, not far from Osceola, WI.

Hmm, I wonder how this Polaris Ranger 700 ATV will sell on the auction now?

Turns out very well. $8,500 is what it wound up going for. Pretty impressive for a four-year old machine, even with only six hours on it. More interesting to me was observing the huge auction crowd. This Polaris ATV was clearly the most talked about item on the sale. The crowd jammed in around the ATV as Todd Houghton's auction truck rolled into position.

I heard no one, repeat, no one, talking about job layoffs.

All I heard was: "what will it sell for?" "what's a new one cost?" and "have you seen one that nice?"

I've always thought that Polaris ATV's had strong resale value. I've got approximately 300 auction sale prices on Polaris ATVs in our website today, more on Polaris snowmobiles in our "Miscellaneous" category. $8,500 for the 2006 Ranger 700 6x6 with six hours last Saturday is just more proof. Click on the link below to view auction prices I've compiled on Polaris ATVs:

Pete's auction prices on Polaris ATVs >>

I'm 44 years old. When I stop to think about how much has changed in the last 20-30 years I'm amazed. Like it or not, it's a global world and we're living in it. Jobs have been shipped out of the country, overseas and all over the world. Got a question on your cable bill or your credit card statement? Call that 800 number and the person you talk with is probably in India.

Nothing against India, China, Mexico or any other country. In fact, hats off to hard working folks there for coming up with new business options and solutions. The drive to produce goods and services more cheaply is never ending. I understand the business end. Sales and profits are down. Costs need to be shaved.

But still.

Every time I read about corporate layoffs and job shifts to other countries I wonder if there isn't a different path available, one not dictated by Wall Street. A way forward that places more emphasis on employees and the true value they represent to any business. Makes me think of this letter to the Editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last month from Marvin Windows and Doors President Susan Marvin, the different path forward I'm talking about:

Polaris is working to try and help its 500-plus employees at the parts plant in Osceola, WI. Some jobs may shift to other plants here in the U.S., in Spirit Lake, Iowa and also in Roseau, Minnesota. There are also efforts to try and sell parts of the Osceola operation to suppliers, which could then keep a good number of jobs at the Osceola plant.

Here's hoping those efforts are successful.

Interesting timing.

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