Arctic Cat

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Arctic Cat, Inc.
Industry Automotive
Headquarters Plymouth, Minnesota, United States
Key people
Founder: Edgar Hetteen Former CEO:Christopher Twomey, Current CEO:Christopher T. Metz, Roger Skime
Products Land vehicles (ATVs, Snowmobiles)
Revenue Increase US$585.27 million (FY 2012)[1]
Increase US$45.89 million (FY 2012)[1]
Increase US$29.94 million (FY 2012)[1]
Total assets Decrease US$255.42 million (FY 2012) [1]
Total equity Decrease US$138.47 Million (FY 2012)[1]
Number of employees
1,369 (March 2012) [1]

Arctic Cat is a North American manufacturer of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles. The company was formed in 1960 and is based in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.[2] The company designs, engineers, manufactures and markets all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, as well as related parts, garments and accessories. Its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “ACAT”.[3]


Arctic Cat was formed by snowmobile pioneer Edgar Hetteen in 1960[2] due to his departure from his previous self-started business, Polaris Industries. Like Polaris, Arctic Cat grew to become a major manufacturer of snowmobiles, watercraft, and all-terrain vehicles (ATV's).[4] The company's first name was Polar Manufacturing but was soon changed to Arctic Enterprises.[2] The company made their first snowmobile in 1960 and in 1970, started the Boss Cat line.[5] Various boat manufacturers, including Silver Line, Lund and Spirit Marine, were bought to attempt to expand the company. However, Arctic Cat went bankrupt in 1982. Two years later, a new company Arctco was created to continue the production of Arctic Cat snowmobiles.[2] The company was successful in keeping the Arctic Cat alive and in 1996 the company changed its name to Arctic Cat.[6] The company continues to make snowmobiles as well as all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides. Over the years, the company has attempted many other product lines including snowblowers, generators, mini bikes, and two-wheel drive vehicles. Arctic Cat relocated its headquarters, certain corporate executives, general managers, and sales and marketing personnel to Plymouth MN from Thief River Falls in 2007. Arctic Cat continues the majority of their manufacturing in Thief River Falls MN .[7]

Vehicles today


A snowmobile on a snowy mountain.
Arctic Cat Snowmobile.

Arctic Cat is today known for their M series snowmobile models which utilized two stroke motors in the mid to late 2000s. Most firecats were replacing pistons weekly. And were 3rd in Market share behind Ski-doo and Polaris in 2003. This "Skinny Mini" prototype sled had features different from other sleds at that time, by utilizing parts that provided more than one role and a track that had less width then other sleds, reducing rotating mass. Cat discovered that this design was splendid for mountain riding, however the trail model developed an over heating issue as the heat exchangers were found to be insufficient when ridden on ice and in marginal snow conditions. Arctic Cat released a technical bulletin to dealers in an attempt to remedy this concern. It instructed dealers to drive a traction stud through the back of each plastic ski in an attempt to throw snow dust upon the heat exchangers. This resulted in a class action lawsuit and resulted in an out of court settlement where cat bought back from owners 3200 short track Firecat F-7's. These sleds featured a laydown type engine which placed the carburetors in front of the engine. which was centered low in the sled to centralize mass and was believed to allow cooler air inlet temperatures. It worked, but not as intended, the forward facing air box would allow snow dust into the intake charge, and would result in burned pistons. Other sleds of this time include the Arctic Cat Firecat F7, a 700cc two stroke with 140 horsepower. Big changes were made to the lineup for the 2007 model year as a new chassis was introduced which was called a twin-spar chassis replacing all previous models while adding a new 4 stroke engine, the Z1 Jaguar, which featured an 1100cc 4-stroke parallel twin. In 2009 the Z1 was turbocharged to produce 177 horsepower (132 kW), which is 1 horsepower (0.75 kW) more than any other production snowmobile.[8] The Crossfire and M-series remain on the same M-series chassis which is a spinoff from the original Firecat Chassis.

Arctic Cat ATV in use by the Finnish Border Guard

All-terrain vehicles

Although Arctic Cat did not start their company with the production of all-terrain vehicles, they now produce many different models. These models range from youth models to competition models, with other models being sport, recreation, 2-Up Trail, and utility models.[9] Most models come with both 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive, ride in suspensions, and electronic power steering capabilities.[10][11] When it comes to the power of the ATV, your choices come in a H2 V-twin engine or an H1 engine both of which have a hemispherical combustion chamber that allows for a cleaner and more complete combustion,[12] a Duramatic automatic transmission, and hydraulic disc brakes.[12] These ATV's are also strong, having a 1150 pound towing capacity.[13]


Side-by-sides are similar to ATV's as they have the capability to do many different tasks. The only differences are that the riders sit side by side, hence the name, and that this vehicle is more of a small truck (with the exception of the high performance model which has a smaller truck bed). The side-by-sides come in 3 different categories: High performance, Recreation, and Utility. The High Performance model bears a resemblance to a dune buggy and is versatile over various terrains. The Recreation models are used for everyday driving and other tasks. The utility model is built for work as it has a 1000 pound rear rack capacity that can be upgraded to 1500 pounds.[14]


External links