Polaris Slingshot. What’s Going On?

slingshotAgain, I try to answer your email questions. This explanation regarding what you heard about the Polaris 3-wheel Slingshot. No doubt that it is has been, to the surprise of many, a hit as soon as it has been launched 2 years ago. The classification of the Slingshot, either as a motorcycle or an autocycle, depending of the state in which you register it, has never been an issue for buyers. To ride it, you need a motorcycle endorsement or license. To drive it a state drivers license. So, rumors suggesting that the Slingshot is forbidden in some states are unfounded. So, why were first year’s Slingshot sales above expectations, then down for 2016 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters?

A series of recalls for defects that may cause a crash and even (it happened one time) your Slingshot bursting in flames. Polaris is facing the same type of hazards with thousands of RZR’s and related vehicles that has caused injuries and one death. Again, contrary to rumors, at this date, there are absolutely no injuries or fatalities related to the Slingshot, but recalls for issues ranging from a weak swingarm to possible failure of the steering due to a problem with bearings to a fire hazard because of a faulty electric system, have caused sales to slow and contributed, with other ATV’s recalls, to Polaris earnings being down in 2016. The stock of Polaris (PII) is currently 18% lower than its 52 week high.

23 Responses to “Polaris Slingshot. What’s Going On?”

  1. 1 Greeko Nov 29th, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I don’t understand that all manufacturers seem to have so many recalls. What about quality controls at the factory?

  2. 2 Woody's Nov 29th, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Maybe the same as the original Honda Valkyrie, where everyone who fell in love ran out and bought right away, and then sales fell each year since most everyone who wanted one already had one? Or maybe because it’s just a convertible with a wheel and top missing? 😉

  3. 3 VForce Nov 29th, 2016 at 11:44 am

    My neighbor went out and bought one of these in the spring. if there ever was a “hey look at me” vehicle this is it. Its for people that want to be noticed, and nothing more.

    After spending some time around it this year, these are my general observations on why the sales are nose diving fast:

    The retail price for these machines is just ridiculous. Then you start looking at the quality of the product, which has poor fit and finish and most of the materials are cheap plastic. No wonder there are so many recalls, if this is how they designed and built it.

    And for this price you get a machine with a Chevy Cobalt motor. One of the worse engines (also involved in recalls) ever made.

    Its really not that fast. See above. Everyone is waiting for Polaris to drop a turbo option.

    No automatic option. I drive a manual car. Passengers are confused that in America I have to shift. No, I WANT to shift. But the driving masses do not agree, they want an automatic. Sad.

    No top. This machine is not as practical as a small sports car- i.e. Miata

    No storage. Maybe you can bring your wallet. Maybe.

    Price one of those tires after you have been sliding it around and doing rolling burnouts. Ouch.

    They get too hot in the summer, and too cold in the winter.

    On top of that, after the initial “hooliganism” wears off, what do you do with it?

  4. 4 James just another crazy kiwi Nov 29th, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    In the land of look at me, It is ugly. I often think the Morgan is cool.This contraption makes it look like a super model. Why is this thing even being mentioned on this site ?

  5. 5 Woody's Nov 29th, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    @Kiwi-because it’s Polaris-related 😉

  6. 6 Chris Mezler Nov 29th, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    This thing, the Slingshot, will probably not last. Attractive to some because it was new. But objectively it’s ugly looking.

  7. 7 Blackmax Nov 29th, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I’m with Woody & V-force on this one !!!
    it was always going to be a niche product that appealed
    to the people who:
    a. Can’t ride 2 wheels anymore
    b. Didn’t want to learn how to ride 2 wheels
    c. Have more $$$ than they know what to do with for a novelty item
    if yo wanted one & you got one, good for you !!
    I’m good with 2 wheels for now, but when (not if) I have to go to 3 wheels
    It’ll be a Can-Am Spyder, at least that is more like a bike than a car !!!

  8. 8 MakeTrumpDrumpfAgain Nov 29th, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    As with all things trendy , vapid and irrelevant the Early Adapters spike the first year’s sales . Then sales plummet into the abyss once all those ‘ gotta have one’s ‘ got one and no one else with a modicum of common sense wants one . Suffice it to say the Slingshot is a toy not worthy of consideration . And did I mention the ridiculously large footprint the Slingshot has in light of its absolute uselessness ?

  9. 9 Woody's Nov 29th, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Cyril, any chance of getting rid of the ability of cowardly posters who hide behind names like MakeTrumpDrumpfAgain instead of posting their real names to be taken seriously? It’d really be nice to discuss things with folks who aren’t wearing masks . Thanks for your consideration.

  10. 10 nicker Nov 30th, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Max has it….

    More than likely because it became obvious that such a device was not being accepted as motorcycle…
    So why bother?


  11. 11 Rick Lossner Nov 30th, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Too funny , reading comments from folks that dislike it and have never been in one. They are a complete blast to drive….

    TRex’s exist for a reason. Dune Buggys several decades ago, existed for a reason. These things are selling like hot cakes for a reason. …..

    Hell, I sold my convertible C5 Vette … never drove it anymore after getting a SS …

    BTW.. I don’t buy into the ‘motorcycle’ aspect of it. But, will allow me into the HOV lane.. so.. wtf 🙂

  12. 12 Jim Tom Nov 30th, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I rode one and it is a non-stop rush. I loved it but can’t bring myself to buy one. My wife and I ride a motorcycle. I don’t what to do with it long term. If we have free leisure time , we are on the saddle of our bike so the slingshot would sit in the driveway most of the time. But, make no mistake, it isn’t going away. It is a blast, I love manual tranny’s . The aftermarket for them is coming out of the woodwork. There are several top options (which I wouldn’t want, except maybe just the bikini top)The power to weight ratio makes that little GM engine seem like it’s out of a Bugatti . The term ugly is completely subjective. I think it looks like the batmobile and that has turned out to be a pretty popular design element, as one contributor illuded to, people will go out of their way to come ask what it is and get a closer look and regardless of what people who hate it say, they don’t do that because it’s ugly. It does have little storage but there are aftermarket companies making on board storage options and hitches to pull equally cool looking trailers. People think our Victory Vision is ugly but it’s the same people that say it behind a keyboard. We love our Vision and yes, it creates a lot of buzz still to this day when we stop. I enjoy talking to people about it and answering questions. But, I’m not a look at me person, I just like to meet and talk to people and the Vision has been the “vehicle” to invite new people into our circle. The more people I connect with, the more I learn. So, it’s not just vain people who buy a slingshot, stop labeling. The critics will hate , especially because people will walk right by a sea of invisible, vanilla, black street glides (including theirs), to get a closer look at the lone Slingshot in the parking lot.
    And when I can no longer hold up a bike and begin to consider 3 wheels , I will consider the SL because I support American workers making American products but that’s just me. I don’t impose my opinion or beliefs on others. By the way, my real name is Jim Tom.

  13. 13 calif phil Nov 30th, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I like the fact that it has a GM motor. Should be able to get 200,000 miles or more out of it.
    I know folks who have sold their Harley motorcycle and purchased a Slingshot instead of a Harley Trike.
    They are very happy with their decision.

  14. 14 Jim Tom Nov 30th, 2016 at 9:03 am

    another thing, they are no more expensive than many motorcycles on the market today. Also something to consider, the accessories featured on this site every day add little to no function. They are for a different look so could we say people that customize their stock bikes with a selection from the millions of offerings are “look at me” people? I would say there are a degree of those people in every segment. Who cares, ride/drive what you like . Enjoy life , it’s short.

  15. 15 Matt W. Nov 30th, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Polaris dealers should rent out one or two of them out to let folks experience it for themselves. It wouldn’t replace my bike but it’s a hell of a lot of fun !

  16. 16 Woody's Nov 30th, 2016 at 11:16 am

    FWIW, I’ve driven my friend’s and it’s fun, we even talked about various hop-up options for the engine. My possibly negative comments were really concerned with the initial storyline of “why aren’t they selling”. Regarding the 2.4L GM engine platform, it’s really not a bad powerplant as much as it was stuck in a very crappy Cobalt product. The two main problems were cam chain/chain tensioner failures which of course trash an interference engine’s valves & pistons and the whole GM list of horrible electronics causing performance and non-starting issues, The variable valve, direct injection platform itself is a very good design and easy to build up. I have a Solstice with the turbocharged 2.0L version of the same engine, 260 HP stock and I’m at over 300 with only a chip change and cat-back exhaust swap. GM played with the cam chain issue design 3-4 times, hopefully it’s good now (maybe S&S will do a gear conversion) and there have been reports of low mileage water pump failures and stuck thermostats. Not difficult repairs except when they spun the engine 90° for the rear-drive Solstice it made the thermostat impossible to reach easily and the water pump drive is a PITA design, also. Looks like it would be easier to get at on the Slingshot if the body comes off.

  17. 17 JohnnySpeed Nov 30th, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Woody’s – Woody’s is your given name? I have no idea who you are or whether or not the name younchoose tobuse is real. People can use whatever username they want. It’s a long standing tradition of internet users dating back to the birthnof the medium.

  18. 18 James just another crazy kiwi Nov 30th, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    It is a three wheeled car, ugly or beautiful it is only on here because this is a Polaris biased site

  19. 19 Gary Nov 30th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    James Just Another Crazy Kiwi. If this is a Polaris biased site, how do you explain that the feature is about exposing the Slingshot problems? Without this article you would have read/known nothing about them!, Yep, you are just another Crazy, as you call yourself…

  20. 20 Woody's Nov 30th, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    2 JSpeed I include my web address and it’s pretty easy to get a hold of me. I don’t pick a fuktard political jab as a handle. Like my opinions or not, at least I have the balls to not hide when I give ’em. Civility goes out the window when people throw stones from behind trees.

  21. 21 Patrick Kelly Nov 30th, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    One issue not mentioned is competition, not just can am or the other unaffordable 3 wheel offerings. The is also a company that takes the front forks off your Harley. Mounts two wheels and enables you to lean into turns, it also has an option that will keep the bike upright when stopped. Having driven a Harley trike the first ones with the wl engines I know how much trouble having two wheels in the back can be and that was with a very underpowered engine. Putting two wheels in the front and you can corner like a vette, it’s the only way to go safely that is.

  22. 22 James just another crazy kiwi Dec 1st, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Yep I’m crazy but not overly defensive 🙂
    I don’t want to know anything about something with a stearing wheel, a car engine and safety belts.
    It is a 3 wheel car, like those many crazy ones built in Europe after the second big one. They did not last either.

  23. 23 Brian J Dec 1st, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I rode on a group ride with several of these. For the record the owners had knee and hip issues that prevented them using a standard machine. Good for them. I will say I did not enjoy have something that fills up a lane riding with smaller nimbler machine. I do think they should not be classified as a motorcycle, but perhaps a separate class for registration purposes. They are just not for me. YMMV

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