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machines more fuel effi cient, or creating mowers that are in and of themselves more effi cient, these are always top of mind for us, and we see them as big trends in the coming years. — Matt Medden, Ariens Company VP of marketing Landscape professionals have high expectations for their equipment, and demand a machine that lasts as long as they do. BOB-CAT designs its mower families to support three pillars: durability, ease of ownership, and quality of cut. Through supporting these pillars, we can provide the market with a commercial mower that meets the necessary needs and demands of the professional, while also providing comfort and the best- in-class serviceability that a mower can have. — Ron Scheffl er, product manager, BOB-CAT We developed the PRO Z Series to not only meet expectations, but exceed them. We learned from the direct interaction with landscape professionals that a commercial zero-turn should be simple in design, but rugged and durable to stand up to the daily abuse of normal mowing conditions. A beefed-up front end, 5/16-inch-thick steel bumper, and a fully welded steel frame are standard across the entire line, ensuring these zero-turns will last for the long haul. Plus, these mowers are protected with e-coating, a precise multi-stage process that provides automotive-grade corrosion defense. Post-purchase dealer support for professional landscapers continues to be an important trend. A superior warranty adds to confi dence in the product purchase, and our dealers' general maintenance support makes it simple to get parts quickly and minimizes downtime. Our service team and fi eld team continuously listen to what our customers and independent dealers want in their service experience, and act accordingly. — Allen Baird, professional product manager, Cub Cadet We continue to see some focus on fuel-injected engines in the commercial segment. Also, the trend or push we see is value. Customers want a solid, well-built mower that is bulletproof — no issues and simplifi ed maintenance. They want to mow, not work on equipment. Obviously, pricing continues to be a focus. Getting a full commercial machine for a good price. This is what we targeted with our new X-ONE. — Brad Unruh, director of product strategy, Excel Industries (Hustler) At Exmark, we're working hard to reduce the required maintenance for our mowers while raising the bar for both reliability and long-term durability. We're also making necessary maintenance easier to perform quickly. The reduction in maintenance-related downtime allows landscape professionals to focus more time and energy cutting grass, so they make more money. Operator comfort is another aspect we're working hard on improving across our line. We're hearing from our customers that comfort and ergonomics are critical to the day-to-day sustainability and season-long productivity of mower operators. This is true regardless of mower type, but obviously the end result looks different depending on whether the mower is a walk- behind, stand-on or zero-turn rider. With all that said, innovation for the sake of innovation isn't necessarily progress, and that's something we discuss frequently. Exmark is focused on developing features and innovations that not only raise the bar, but are also a refl ection of our customers' priorities. — Jamie Briggs, Exmark product manager Improving operator comfort continues to be a key focus, as well as low-maintenance, cost-effi cient systems and designs. Grasshopper mowers have the fewest grease points — as few as two to as many as fi ve — of any mower manufacturer, while our transmissions boast the longest fl uid-change intervals on the market — up to 1,000 hours. That translates to as little as seven cents per hour of operation. — Mike Simmon, marketing specialist, Grasshopper As in past years, lawnmower reliability, and being easy and inexpensive to maintain, continue to be extremely important issues for landscape professionals. In addition, this segment is focused on how to get the most value from their lawnmower model — or fl eet — investment while helping to effectively complete outdoor landscaping maintenance and projects. Because these trends tend to drive buying habits, Honda places durability, reliability and low cost of ownership at the top of the list for new design attributes for its lawnmower lineup. — Elisha Lipscomb, Honda Power Equipment, senior marketing strategist, lawn & garden Ergonomics are becoming more important as professionals expect comfort in addition to performance. We've addressed this with a new suspension seat, which features deep cushions and mechanically adjustable suspension with elastomeric vibration control (EVC) to reduce operator fatigue during long working hours. Productivity is also paramount to professionals, so we use the latest techniques and technologies to maximize the cutting deck performance of each of our mowers. — Giovanni Crespi, director of regional product management of Husqvarna North America From a market trend perspective, uptime, ride quality and effi ciency remain top of mind for our customers. We are 22 APRIL 2017 OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT www.outdoorpowerequipment.com PHOTO PROVIDED BY HUSQVARNA FEATURE STORY | Mower Trends