Chrysler Group, saying it wants to focus on its core automotive products, said late Tuesday that it plans to sell its Global Electric Motorcars subsidiary to Polaris Industries Inc.
Polaris, best known for its snowmobiles and off-road vehicles, would acquire the low-speed electric vehicle maker within the next 60 days according to a purchase agreement signed by both companies.
Polaris must secure the required state sales certificates to sell GEM products before it can acquire the company. Until then, operations will continue as usual.
GEM was founded in 1998 in Fargo, N.D. Since then, it has sold 45,000 electric-powered vehicles globally.
In 2000, then-DaimlerChrysler AG bought GEM. When Daimler AG sold control of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management in August 2007, Chrysler retained GEM as a wholly owned subsidiary. Last year, it generated about $30 million in sales.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration classifies GEM's small vehicles as "low-speed" or "neighborhood" EVs. They are usually restricted to speeds of 25 mph, but they can legally travel on roads up to 35 mph in most states. Most of the vehicles do not have airbags and are not required to be crash-tested.
GEM vehicles can travel 30 miles on a charge. Cost ranges from $8,440 for a two-seater to $14,380 for a six-seater. Both prices include destination.
Polaris said it expects the market for low-speed EVs to grow.
"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," Polaris CEO Scott Wine said in a statement.
In a statement on its Web site, Chrysler said it will pursue a range of other zero emissions vehicle options, focusing on full-function EVs.