Chrysler pulls the plug on its GEM EV operations

By Editors on April 29, 2011 10:38 AM

In a move aimed at allowing it to better focus energies on core automotive business concerns, the Chrysler Group has entered into an agreement to sell virtually all assets in its GEM (Global Electric Motorcars) and NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) operations to Polaris Industries. Chrysler, then linked with Daimler AG, acquired GEM back in 2000. It became a subsidiary of the Chrysler Group when the latter was sold to Cerberus in 2007.

Polaris, although best known as a purveyor of ATVs and snowmobiles as well as Victory motorcycles, also markets its own line of NEVs under the Polaris Breeze name. The deal is expected to be finalized within the next 60 days. In commenting on the pending acquisition, Polaris CEO Scott Wine stated that "GEM provides Polaris with an established position in the low-emission small vehicle market and supports Polaris' strategy of penetrating on-road market segments poised for growth."

In a brief formal statement regarding this decision to divest, the Chrysler Group advised that it's "continuously evaluating strategic requirements in the rapidly changing regulatory environment for alternative propulsion vehicles." While recognizing that "GEM has contributed significantly to its ongoing Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) compliance activities in California and the other Mandate States," the automaker now plans to "pursue a range of other ZEV options moving forward, focusing on full-function EVs."