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Polaris to close Wisconsin plant

Polaris Industries announced Thursday it plans to close or sell its plant in Osceola, Wis., while opening a new one in Mexico.

The idea is to "realign its operations and refocus on its core strategic manufacturing processes," including "enhancing" the historic foundational factory in Roseau, Minn., where snowmobiles are built.

The Victory motorcycle plant will continue in Spirit Lake, Iowa, said officials of the Median, Minn.-based firm.

A key goal of the realignment is to allow Polaris to make their "ORVs", which refer both to the all-terrain vehicles and the side-by-side vehicles, in multiple locations depending on demand. They are the big ticket, now, representing more than two-thirds of Polaris' sales.

The new plant planned for the Monterrey area in Mexico will lead to the sale or closure of the Wisconsin plant and the welding, painting and assembly operations there will move to Mexico, according to a news release Thursday from Polaris.

The company will hold a telephone news conference at 10 a.m. Friday to discuss the plans.

Company officials said "certain Osceola manufacturing processes will be moved into the Roseau, Spirit Lake and Mexico facilities," while others will be "outsourced," done by other companies.

Polaris spokeswoman Marlys Knutson says the 515 employees at the Osceola plant will be allowed to apply for jobs at the other Polaris facilities or with companies that continue pro-ducing parts in Osceola. Those who lose their jobs will be paid severance benefits as the realignment begins immediately and will be completed in 2012.