Just when you thought you'd heard everything you could possibly hear about Russians in the news, press reports are indicating that IRBIS, a Russian company, with manufacturing ties to China, is in the process of setting up a dealer network to sell their line of snowmobiles to North America sledders.
“We will start with an initial target of dealers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan,” Konstantin Archakov, IRBIS' GM, told Powersports Business. “Irbis snowmobiles are designed in Russia, manufactured in China and now being sold in the USA."
The company is reportedly initially only offering their T150 utility sled to the North American market, at a $2500 US price point—top speed 25 mile per hour.
According to their website, "IRBIS is an established Russian company with a new U.S. Headquarters in Brooklyn Park, MN. IRBIS has an innovative mission: Build world-leading powersports vehicles by sourcing the best design, engineering, manufacturing, and assembly from the strongest global resources. Our mission is not unlike the global effort that put together and has sustained the International Space Station. Through the cooperative effort of the best and the brightest from around the world, we offer products that deliver remarkable performance with “down to earth pricing” built-in.
"The idea of IRBIS came from an ingenious motorcyclist from Vladivostok. Artem Tsarev started by importing used motorcycles from Japan, fixing them up and selling them across Russia. That enterprise flourished and in 2002 IRBIS was born. From the beginning, design simplicity, dependability and critical performance were in the IRBIS engineering DNA. Remember, we’re talking vehicles built for Siberia! Spin the globe and we are right smack dab in Canada and northern U.S.A. When it comes to tough machines, “We got this!” IRBIS is the Russian name for Snow Leopard–quite appropriate for a company that engineers machines for ultra harsh climates. The Snow Leopard has thick insulating hair and wide fur covered feet that work like natural snowshoes. Great design and great performance! They can jump as far as 50 feet.
There are no firm details about when or if the IBRIS T150 will be widely available in Canada. The company's Facebook page sports a logo made up of a stylized American and Canada flag. However, there is reference to the entry level sled selling well in Japan and sales already taking place in Canada.