PowerSports Business

March 13, 2017

Issue link: http://read.uberflip.com/i/793848

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 39

FOCUS PSB UTV-Utility An in-depth look at one of the fastest growing segments in powersports BY LIZ KEENER SENIOR EDITOR When Can-Am unveiled its Maverick X3 in August, dealers clamored into the showroom at Club BRP to dive into the sport side-by-side, and whenever Polaris releases a new RZR, deal- ers, consumers and enthusiast media are quick to learn about the unit. But sport side-by-sides only accounted for 36 percent of all side-by- sides sold in 2016, according to CDK Global Recreation data you'll see in this Focus section. Instead, the lion's share — 64 percent — of the side-by-side market goes to multi-purpose and work units, those used by farmers, ranch- ers, hunters, colleges and universities, fisher- men, landscapers and more to complete tasks and tackle small off-road adventures. Though side-by-side sales numbers aren't shared by OEMs with any data-collecting group, Wells Fargo estimated 439,000 side- by-sides were sold at retail worldwide in 2015, according to a report run in the 2016 Powers- ports Business Market Data Book, meaning it wouldn't be off base to assume that hundreds of thousands of multi-use and work side-by-sides are sold each year across the globe. "The utility segment is a large volume cat- egory that continues to show signs of growth, and savvy dealers are capitalizing on that part of their business to increase sales," Steve Nessl, Yamaha's ATV/SxS group marketing manager, told Powersports Business. Yamaha has been participating in the utility UTV segment since it released the Rhino for the 2004 model year. That tradition contin- ues now with the Viking, which was released in the 2014 model year to replace the Rhino. Of course, a number of OEMs are also in the utility UTV space. Side-by-side market share leader Polaris has the Ranger; John Deere has the Gator; Arctic Cat's UTV is the Prowler; Kawasaki has produced the Mule since 1988; Honda introduced the Big Red in 2009 and followed it up with the Pioneer in 2014; and Can-Am introduced the Defender for the 2016 model year. Of course, even more OEMs are in the mix when it comes to utility side-by-sides, including Kubota, American LandMaster, Bad Boy Off Road, CFMOTO, Cub Cadet, Hisun and others. It's a competitive market that's growing as OEMs realize the importance of the seg- ment. Can-Am, for example, introduced its recreation/utility Commander in 2010, but just added its work-focused Defender at the November 2015 Club BRP. "We've always been the recreational brand that's very performance-focused, with innova- tion, but there was that big white space in our lineup," before the Defender was launched, explained Marc-André Dubois, director of Global Marketing for Can-Am off-road. Honda is also a newer entrant in the side-by- side market, only introducing the Big Red eight years ago and not really blossoming until the Pioneer was developed for the 2014 model year. "The utility side of it is very, very important, just the scale of it and also the scale of all of the accessories and everything that goes with it," said Chuck Boderman, vice president of sales for American Honda. The release of the Pioneer has helped Honda reach 10 times its side-by-side sales volume, when compared to Big Red results. THE BUYERS When asked who uses utility side-by-sides, representatives from the OEMs and aftermar- ket companies often referred to those who use them primarily for commercial use, as well as outdoorsmen and recreational users. The work group consists of farmers, those in the oil and gas industry, ranchers, lawn care professionals, search and rescue teams, colleges and universities, and more. Others are using them for tasks in their spare time, taking utility side-by-sides hunting, fishing and trail riding, or using them on hobby farms. The tasks are often similar to what utility ATV riders use their vehicles for, Boderman explained. However, the uses for each vehicle often aren't singular, Dubois said. "When you do research, you realize that they don't just use it for one purpose. You realize that yes, farming might be the core, but farmers are also hunters, so they end up hunting with the unit, and they also end up just doing some recreational rides on the weekend or their free time, so it's rarely I see it used for only working purposes." Nessl said, "Viking and Wolverine custom- ers are using their vehicles on farms, ranches and around their property in general. They're using them in fleets on big corporate farm- ing operations, and they're using them on the weekend to go hunting, camping or just trail riding with friends and family. That's why this segment is so big — it's often called 'utility,' but we think 'multi-use' better encapsulates it." There's little doubt that some utility UTV sales are cannibalizing the utility ATV market. However, as U.S. ATV sales have plateaued around the 228,000 mark, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, at the same time, side-by-sides continue to trend upward. One reason for this, Boderman said, is because many Utility UTVs taking on the heavy work for the industry 14 • March 13, 2017 • Powersports Business www.PowersportsBusiness.com See Utility UTV, Page 16

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PowerSports Business - March 13, 2017