Polaris Reports Q1 2017 Earnings

The General product line with models like the General 1000 EPS Hunter Edition in Polaris Pursuit Camo was a bright spot in Polaris’ Off-Road Vehicle business.

Polaris Industries reported adjusted sales of $1,158.9 for Q1 2017, an 18% increase from q1 2016. Management reported gains in the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) business, large gains from Global Adjacent Markets and increased revenue from the recent TAP acquisition. In the ORV business Ranger and General product lines improved while the RZR line was down as expected. The side-by-side market continues to be highly competitive with elevated promotional costs. Management reported market share gains for Polaris ATVs. In the Global Adjacent Markets Aixam Mega was strong as well as the government defense business which helped increase revenue by 24%.

The following are highlights from the earnings call related to STOV markets. Figures are in comparison to Q1 2016 unless noted.

  • ORV retail sales were down 5% for the quarter.
  • ORV promotions were key as well as a targeted marketing campaign which showed results in March.
  • RFM inventory management system will be expanded for side-by-sides later this year.
  • Management reports an improved process for quickly tracking and identifying vehicle issues that will improve product safety and recall response.
  • Management did not change full year guidance for the ORV business and expects promotional costs to remain elevated and on par with 2016 levels.
  • ORV promotions are being matched by competitors.
  • Taylor-Dunn added to the significant increase in Global Adjacent Markets revenue.
  • Management expects RFM and a revamped marketing organization to create a more customer focused organization and improve sales.
  • ORV retail sales for the year are expected to be down slightly.
  • The ORV industry is expected to be flat to down for the year and was down mid-single digits in Q1 2017.
  • Continued poor performance in the oil and gas regions and the agriculture market are hurting sales.
  • The Multix launch was underwhelming, and a rapidly changing regulatory framework related to safety requirements and emission standards may provide significant obstacles.

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

 

Another Large Ranger Recall From Polaris

2015 Polaris Ranger Crew 900 Sage Green

The 2015 Ranger Crew 900 Sage Green is part of another large Polaris recall.

Polaris 2015 Ranger XP 900 EPS Hunter Deluxe Edition

The Ranger XP 900 EPS Hunter Deluxe Edition is included as well.

Polaris 2015 Ranger 900 XP Solar Red

The wide-ranging recall includes all model year 2015 Polaris Ranger XP 900, XP 900 EPS, and CREW 900 like the Ranger 900 XP Solar Red.

Despite extensive efforts to address recall problems, Polaris announced another large recall of Ranger vehicles. Approximately 51,000 model year 2015 Ranger XP 900 and Ranger Crew utility vehicles are being recalled because “…the heat shield can fall off the vehicle, posing fire and burn hazards…”. The recall also includes about 1,500 2017 Sportsman ATVs that have been sold. Vehicle owners should stop using the vehicles and contact their local dealer for a free repair. (Full recall details follow at the end of the post.)

One question with all these recall is what impact are they having on the company’s sales. Management has reported losing market share in recent quarterly earnings calls, and a chunk of that is likely to Can-Am, which has had successful introductions of their Maverick X3 models in the sport segment and their Defender models targeting the more utility/work oriented segment. The recalls have been so large and persistent and stretching over such a long period of time that one would have to assume some damage to the Polaris brand, even though Polaris management appears to be reacting relatively quickly to the overall recall issue. Management reports making high level personnel hires, bringing in other personnel with specific engineering expertise, developing new processes and spending significant financial resources to address the issue. This latest recall came as a result of their new process to more quickly track post-sales issues.

Besides affecting the brand and sales directly, these recalls may indicate a more deep-seated problem with the company’s product development process. Some of these recalls are the result of underlying engineering and design issues. How did these issues survive their product development process? Addressing this issue is arguably the most critical.

One of Polaris’ advantages on their way to a dominant position in the off-road vehicle market has been their ability to quickly and regularly produce new vehicle models. What CEO Scott Wine likes to refer to as their “armada” of vehicles provides Polaris with an extensive lineup of vehicles to cover a wide range of market sub-segments, end-use applications and price points. This has enabled Polaris to better meet specific customer needs with more tailored vehicles than their competitors.

The ability to innovate and quickly bring new vehicles to market is even more important now as competition in the side-by-side market has elevated in the past 2-3 years. A host of OEMs are now producing more vehicles, more quickly and attacking a wider range of market sub-segments. This translates into greater head-to-head feature and pricing competition between individual vehicle models. If a weakness is revealed in a product lineup then it needs to be quickly remedied with a new model or variation of an existing model or that OEM risks losing sales on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the vehicle product development process is critical to success and Polaris will need to fix any underlying problems in their process.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

The following recall details are from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recall Details

Units:  About 51,000

Description: This recall involves all model year 2015 Polaris Ranger XP 900, XP 900 EPS, and CREW 900 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). The recalled ROVs were sold in a variety of colors and have either three or six seats and a rear box. “Ranger” is printed on the rear box, and “900” is printed on the hood of the ROVs. All 2015 Ranger 900 models and vehicle identification numbers (VINs) are included in this recall. The VIN is printed on the frame on the driver’s side towards the rear of the vehicle. To check for recalled vehicles by VIN, visit www.polaris.com.

Model Year Model Number Model
2015 R15RTA87AA RANGER 900 XP SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RTA87AR RANGER 900 XP SOLAR RED
2015 R15RTA87AC RANGER XP 900 POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
2015 R15RTE87AA RANGER XP 900 EPS SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RTE87AR RANGER XP 900 EPS SOLAR RED
2015 R15RUA87AA RANGER CREW 900 SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RUA87AR RANGER CREW 900 SOLAR RED
2015 R15RUY87AA RANGER CREW 900-6 SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RTE87AK RANGER XP 900 EPS BLACK PEARL
2015

2015

R15RTE87AM RANGER XP 900 EPS SUPER STEEL GRAY
2015 R15RTE87AS RANGER XP 900 EPS SUNSET RED
2015 R15RTE87AW RANGER XP 900 EPS WHITE LIGHTNING
2015 R15RTE87AX RANGER XP 900 EPS SANDSTONE METALLIC
2015 R15RTE87AZ RANGER XP 900 EPS SUNSET RED SILVER
2015 R15RTE87AB RANGER XP 900 EPS HUNTER EDITION
2015 R15RUE87AC RANGER CREW 900 EPS POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
2015 R15RUE87AM RANGER CREW 900 EPS SUPER STEEL GRAY
2015 R15RUE87AS RANGER CREW 900 EPS SUNSET RED
2015 R15RUE87AW RANGER CREW 900 EPS WHITE LIGHTNING
2015 R15RUZ87AC RANGER CREW 900-6 EPS POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
2015 R15RUZ87AS RANGER CREW 900-6 EPS SUNSET RED
2015 R15RUZ87AW RANGER CREW 900-6 EPS WHITE LIGHTNING
2015 R15RTE87AV RANGER XP 900 EPS VOGUE SILVER DELUXE
2015 R15RTE87A5 RANGER XP 900 EPS HUNTER DELUXE EDITION
2015 R15RTE87A2 RANGER XP 900 EPS NORTHSTAR DELUXE EDITION

Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received 13 incident reports involving the recalled ROVs, including five reports of fires. No injuries have been reported.

Remedy:  Consumer should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from April 2014 through March 2017 for between $13,400 and $21,300.

Manufacturer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.

Importer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.

Manufactured In:  U.S. and Mexico

Learn more:  CPSC.gov

John Deere Recalls Gator XUV590i Models

John deere XUV590i

The John Deere Gator XUV590i S4 is being recalled because of an issue with the throttle cable.

The four-passenger Gator XUV590i S4 is being recalled as well.

John Deere has announced a recall of approximately 8,500 Gator XUV590i and XUV590i S4 models sold between January 2016 and March 2017. The recall is being initiated because “…the dust boot on the throttle cable can come loose, resulting in the vehicle not slowing down or stopping, posing a crash hazard.” To date there have been no reports of injuries related to the issue.

This is a fairly large recall compared to many of the UTV recalls, which typically number a few thousand or less. It also represents a significant amount of the UTVs that John Deere sells annually as the XUV or crossover Gators have been an important part of their product line in recent years. According to the recall information, there were only two reports, so John Deere appears to have tracked this issue down and initiated a recall fairly quickly. The following is information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recall Details

Hazard: The dust boot on the throttle cable can come loose, resulting in the vehicle not slowing down or stopping, posing a crash hazard.

Units:  About 8,500
                                                                                                                        Description: This recall involves John Deere Gator™ Utility Vehicles with model number XUV590i or XUV590i S4 printed on the hood and the “John Deere” and “Gator” brand names printed on the cargo box. The serial number, located on the frame on the rear of the machine above the hitch, begins with 1M0590 and fall within the ranges on the chart below. The recalled utility vehicles come in several colors and have four-wheel suspension with side-by-side seating for two or four people depending on model.
                                                                                                                                           Model                                      Serial Number Range
XUV590i                                   1M0590T+++M010001 – 20742
XUV590i S4                              1M0590F+++M010001 – 20277
                                                                                                                    Incidents/Injuries:  John Deere has received two reports of the dust boot on the throttle cable coming loose. No reports of injuries.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled utility vehicles and contact a John Deere dealer for a free repair. John Deere is contacting all registered owners of the recalled vehicles directly.

Sold At:  John Deere dealers nationwide from January 2016 through March 2017 for between $10,000 and $12,900.
                                                                                                                        Manufacturer(s):  Deere & Company of Moline, Ill.
                                                                                                                          Manufactured In:  United States
Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Bad Boy Off Road Rebranded Textron Off Road

Vehicles like the gas powered Stampede 900 will now be sold under the Textron Off Road brand instead of Bad Boy Off Road.

Textron Specialized Vehicles recently announced the rebranding of their Bad Boy Off Road brand of vehicles to Textron Off Road. The rebranding is designed to take advantage of Textron’s association with strong engineering and manufacturing through their long established brands in aerospace, defense and automotive such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Lycoming and Cushman.

The Textron Off Road brand of side-by-sides currently features the gas powered Stampede and Stampede XTR, the all-electric Recoil, Recoil iS and Recoil iS Crew and the hybrid Ambush iS.

“We are changing our brand from Bad Boy Off Road to Textron Off Road to better reflect the detailed design, precision engineering, manufacturing expertise and high performance for which Textron is known, across a number of major industries,” said John Collins, vice president, consumer for Textron Specialized Vehicles. “Our new name is more indicative of the level of performance, quality and innovation that we build into our side-by-sides, and demonstrates how serious Textron is about its future in the powersports market.”

The rebranding makes sense for Textron for a number of reasons. The Bad Boy name is fairly well known in the hunting segment of the utility vehicle market, but this is more of a niche market, and before being acquired in 2010 by Textron there were some quality issues associated with the brand. In 2016 Textron rebranded Bad Boy Buggies to Bad Boy Off Road so there has not been a lot of time to build brand value, and thus not as much to lose in rebranding at this time. While the Textron brand may not be as well known in the utility vehicle market, the company’s collection of more well known manufacturing brands generates higher brand awareness in general. In addition, utility vehicles from Cushman and E-Z-GO fall under the Textron umbrella and certainly are known in commercial UTV segments and, by association, Textron has some awareness there as well.

A bigger question than whether rebranding is good for business, is how the Textron Off Road product lines integrate with recently acquired Arctic Cat products. While their distribution networks are more likely complimentary than duplicative, the question is how their individual vehicles fit together. Textron Off Road’s electric UTVs are a nice compliment to Arctic Cat’s gas powered vehicles, but how does their Stampede line of UTVs fit with Arctic Cat’s Prowler, HDX and Wild Cat vehicles.

If you look at a comparison between the Stampede 900 EPS, Arctic Cat HDX 700 XT EPS and the Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XT EPS, they have similar price points and features and specifications. One could imagine the Stampede line could be turned into more of a value-oriented brand with lower price points. Value UTVs have become a competitive segment of the market as better quality imported brands and lower priced offerings from established brands target value consumers. However, Stampede’s initial marketing campaigns have been aiming higher than value-oriented customers. Another option might be to target specific market sub-segments, perhaps, in conjunction with geographic targeting based on the Stampede’s distribution network. The greater the differentiation between the various Textron brands, the better chance Textron has of convincing dealers to carry several Textron UTV brands, and of leveraging the distribution channels of their different brands.

Vehicles under the Textron Off Road brand will be available in April, 2017.  Learn more:  Textron.com

Club Car Fit-to-Task UTVs Target Commercial Segments

The Club Car Carryall 500 Facilities-Engineering Vehicle

The Carryall 500 Facilities-Engineering Vehicle is one of the pre-configured Fit-to-Task vehicles being offered by Club Car.

Club Car Carryall 700 Food Service Vehicle

Club Car Carryall 700 Food Service Vehicle

Club Car Transporter Ambulance

Club Car Transporter Ambulance

Club Car recently launched their new Fit-to-Task series of vehicles for the commercial/work segment of the utility vehicle market. The series of vehicles offers customers application specific vehicles already equipped with accessories and options designed for a particular application.

The company displayed four of the vehicles in March at the NMFT Conference and Expo in Baltimore, MD including the:

  • Carryall 500 Facilities-Engineering Vehicle with dual locking tool boxes, a dual ladder rack with tie-downs and a 2″ receiver.
  • Carryall 700 Food Service Vehicle with a van box, 68-tray rack system, a 10-shelf rack system, glass racks and drip edges.
  • Carryall 700 Housekeeping Vehicle with an L-shaped van box with interior LED lights and locking doors, drawers, shelves for towels, linens, etc and room for a full-sized vacuum cleaner, mops, brooms and other supplies.
  • Transporter Ambulance with hand-carry stretcher and mounts, fold-down rail for patient area, storage boxes and seating for three.

Club Car will be rolling out additional Fit-to-Task vehicles including:

  • Facilities-Engineering Vehicles with Van Boxes
  • Security Vehicles
  • Bell Service Vehicles
  • Grounds Maintenance Vehicles (Including a big & tall model)
  • Refuse Removal Vehicles (Including a high-dump model)
  • Snow Removal Vehicles
  • Other Ambulance, Room Service and Housekeeping Vehicles
  • People Movers
  • Long-bed 4x4s and more

These vehicles continue Club Car’s focus on the commercial and work market segments. Over the last few years as the market for fleet golf cars has declined and stagnated, E-Z-GO and Club Car have had to look for new avenues of growth. Textron (E-Z-GO) has chosen to expand their portfolio of small vehicles to reach new markets as evidenced by their recent acquisition of Arctic Cat. Club Car has chosen to further penetrate commercial and work segments in which they already had a strong presence.

Over the past several years Club Car launched new base vehicles like the Carryall 500 and 700, a UTV support team program for rental customers, their Corporate Solution Program for fleet management and maintenance, and utility vehicle accessory packages. In their marketing material they are touting their diverse commercial vehicle offerings and expertise in fleet management of small, electric vehicles. As evidenced by some of the Fit-to-Task vehicles and their website, Club Car is focusing on specific market verticals such as education, government, rentals and resorts.

Demonstrating the global nature of the small, task-oriented vehicle market in terms of both product and marketing approaches, Tata Motors earlier this year announced a series of application specific variants of their ACE mini-truck.

Learn more:  Prweb.com

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Another Polaris Recall: RZR, RZR Turbo & GENERAL Vehicles

The model year 2017 is the General 1000 EPS Hunter Edition in Polaris Pursuit Camo is one of the vehicles involved in the recall.

Polaris announced a recall of model year 2016 and 2017 RZR 900, 1000, Turbo and GENERAL 1000 utility vehicles. The recall involves approximately 13,500 vehicles. According to the notice, “The vehicle engine can misfire and the temperatures of the exhaust and nearby components can get too hot and cause the components to melt, and/or a contaminated brake master cylinder may cause unintended brake drag, posing burn and fire hazards.”

Relative to more recent Polaris recalls this one is not that large, but compared to more typical recalls in the industry that involve a few thousand vehicles, this is a large recall. The recall does include RZR 900, 1000 and RZR Turbo models that have previously been recalled. The GENERAL 1000 being involved in a recall is a new development.

Based on recent quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street analysts, the management has put a lot of money and manpower into fixing the underlying product development issues that lead to their recent massive RZR and Ranger recalls. The origin of the issues for this latest recall probably pre-date these efforts, but management is likely disappointed with this development as they have been trying to put these recalls behind them and repair damage to the Polaris brand. A recent report from BMO Capital Markets states that the recall is considered a ‘non-event’ by dealers who are having strong start to the year and think the recall will only have a ‘minimal impact’.

The following information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recall Details

Units:  About 13,500 (The RZR Turbo and RZR 900 and 1000 have previously been recalled.)

Description:  This recall involves model year 2016 and 2017 RZR 900, 1000, Turbo and GENERAL 1000 recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs). “Polaris” is printed on the front grill and “RZR” or “GENERAL” is printed on the side of the rear cargo area. The ROVs were sold in various colors. Visit the CPSC website see a complete list of the models involve.

Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received 14 reports of vehicles catching fire related to the brake master cylinder and one report of fire and two reports of melting vehicle components related to an engine misfire. No injuries have been reported.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris for a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly, and consumers can check their VIN on the Polaris website.

Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from August 2015 through February 2017 for between $12,800 and $24,000.

Importer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.

Distributor(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.

Manufactured In:  Mexico and U.S.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Cub Cadet Expands Challenger UTV Line

The new Cub Cadet Challenger 750 utility vehicle

The new Cub Cadet Challenger 750 utility vehicle

Cub Cadet Challenger 550

The new Cub Cadet Challenger 550 utility vehicle

Cub Cadet has launched the Challenger 550 and Challenger 750 utility vehicles as they continue to expand the Challenger product line, which already includes the 400, 400 LX, 500, 700 and 750 Crew. The new models continue Cub Cadet’s theme of providing a value oriented offering with a solid set of standard features.

The Challenger 550/750 comes standard with what is essentially a partially enclosed cab with high-sided sealed doors, standard roof and sealed ROPS. Optional upper doors and a rear window are available to create a completely weather-sealed cab. The interior cab design features interior and exterior door handles, a tilting steering wheel, open storage, closed glove box and premium sculpted seats.

The new models are designed for customization with a front accessory mounting panel above the windshield and a rear mounting rack. The cargo bed has integrated attachment points or “T” slots for purpose built accessories. The vertical slots accept standard ¾-inch plywood for partitions and slots on top of the side rails to accommodate standard 1 x 3-inch furring strips.

“Customization of utility vehicles is extremely important according to the customers we continually talk with,” said Tom Mielke, UV Product Marketing Manager, Cub Cadet. “We’ve designed the Challenger Series with exclusive features that give owners the power to customize their utility vehicle for the challenges they face – at the farm, ranch, off-road or in the woods. These new additions continue to raise the bar on standard features, designed around what people want to do with their UV while also improving style, comfort and convenience.”

A growing list of accessories will be available in 2017 to customize the vehicle including:

  • Upper Doors (Pair)
  • Scratch-Resistant Vented or Folding Polycarbonate Windshields
  • Rear Window
  • Spare Tire Mount
  • Dual 11.5-Inch LED Light Bar Kit
  • Four Cube LED Light Kit
  • Rock Sliders
  • Rear Bumper
  • Front and Rear Turf Tires
  • 72-Inch Snow Blade

Key specs and features for the the Challenger 550 and 750 are as follows:

  • 546cc, 27.5 hp EFI engine (550); 735cc, 35.8 hp EFI engine (750)
  • Top speed 45 mph
  • On-demand 2WD/4WD and automatic CVT
  • Selectable locking front/rear differential
  • 3-way adjustable shocks
  • 12″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ tires
  • 500 lb. capacity dump bed
  • 1,200 lb. towing capacity
  • 3,500 lb. winch
  • Sealed windshield
  • High-sided doors
  • Roof
  • LED headlights
  • Available colors:  Cub Yellow, Blue, Red, Black and Camo
  • MSRP:  Challenger 550 – $9,999; Challenger 750 – $10,999

A quick comparison between the Challenger 750 and 700 shows that the 750 has a more powerful engine, larger capacity cargo box by 150 lbs., improved doors and windshield, LED rather than halogen headlights, slightly more ground clearance and a better drivetrain. The differences between the Challenger 550 and 500 are similar.

The new UTVs are available at local Cub Cadet dealers. Learn more:  Cub Cadet

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Can-Am Adds 2017 Maverick X3 Max Models

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3

Can-Am Maverick X3 X ds

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X ds

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs

Can-Am recently announced their new four-passenger Maverick X3 Max family of vehicles for model year 2017. The lineup includes the Maverick X3 Max, X3 Max X ds and the X3 Max X rs and continues the company’s plan to launch new side-by-side vehicles every six months. Key specs for the Maverick X3 Max include:

  • 154 hp, Rotax ACE 900cc turbocharged engine with electronic fuel injection and Donaldson high-performance air filter
  • Quick Response System X (QRS-X) CVT
  • Selectable 2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok X auto-locking front differential
  • Dynamic Power Steering
  • 20″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • 4-link Torsional Trailing-arm X rear suspension
  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM Piggyback with QS3 compression adjustment and bottom-out control
  • 13″ of ground clearance
  • Hydraulic brakes with twin-piston calipers
  • 28″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires and 14″ aluminum wheels
  • 64″ width
  • Integrated front bumper
  • HMW skid plate
  • Quarter doors
  • LED headlights and tail lights with unique Can-Am LED signature
  • MSRP:  $24,999
  • Available in White

The Maverick X3 Max X ds has many of the same features with the following differences:

  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM RC2 Piggyback with dual speed compression and rebound adjustments
  • 29″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires
  • 14″ Aluminum beadlock wheels
  • Slightly longer at 164.4″ vs. 162″
  • MSRP:  $27,399
  • Available in Triple Black and Circuit Yellow

The Maverick X3 Max X rs has many of the same features with the following differences:

  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM RC2 Piggyback with bypass, dual speed compression and rebound adjustments in the front
  • FOX 3.0 PODIUM RC2 remote reservoir with bypass, dual speed compression and rebound adjustments in the rear
  • 22″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 14″ of ground clearance
  • 30″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires
  • 14″ Aluminum beadlock wheels
  • 72″ width compared to 64″
  • Slightly more than 100 lbs heavier
  • Full roof
  • MSRP:  $29,099
  • Available in Triple Black and Gold & Can-Am Red

Learn more:  Can-am.brp.com

Arctic Cat Announces 2017 Special Edition Wildcats

Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport SE EPS

Arctic Cat’s new Wildcat Sport SE EPS

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail SE EPS

Arctic Cat’s new Wildcat Trail SE EPS

Arctic Cat has announced two new special edition Wildcats for the 2017 model year, the Wildcat Sport SE EPS and the Wildcat Trail SE EPS. Special edition features on these models include:

  • Warn 3,000 lb. synthetic rope winch
  • Polycarbonate half windshield
  • Electronic power steering
  • Aluminum rims polished with black inlays
  • Infinitely adjustable tilt steering
  • TEAM Rapid Response clutch
  • Electronic 2WD/4WD front differential lock
  • 2″ receiver
  • Shocks
    • Trail SE EPS:  FOX premium gas-charged shocks
    • Sport SESEPs: King aluminum gas shocks with single-speed adjustment

The Wildcat Sport SE EPS retails for $16,499 and the Wildcat Trail SE EPS for $14,699.

Other key specs for the Wildcat Sport SE EPS include:

  • 700cc, 4-stroke, twin cylinder engine
  • 36 amp alternator
  • Double-A-arm front and rear suspension
  • 12.2″/12.6″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 13″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ Carlisle Trail Pro tires
  • Halogen headlights and LED brake/tail lights
  • Digital instrumentation
  • 300 lb. cargo box
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full doors
  • Matte Black automotive-style paint

Key specs for the Wildcat Trail SE EPS include:

  • 700cc, 4-stroke, twin cylinder engine
  • 36 amp alternator
  • Double-A-arm front and rear suspension
  • 10″/10.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10″ of ground clearance
  • 25″ Carlisle Trail Pro tires
  • Halogen headlights and LED brake/tail lights
  • Digital instrumentation
  • 300 lb. cargo box
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full doors
  • Matte Black automotive-style paint

 

Eicher-Polaris Adjusting Multix Strategy

Eicher Polaris Multix

The Multix utility vehicle, the first offering from the Eicher-Polaris joint venture.

Eicher-Polaris, the Indian joint venture between Eicher Motors and Polaris, is adjusting their Multix marketing strategy to boost a lackluster rollout, according to reports from the Economic Times of India. The less than expected performance has been mentioned in recent quarterly earnings calls with analysts. Eicher-Polaris has already boosted the Multix’s power with a more powerful and BS IV compliant engine. The company plans on doubling their dealer network to 150 locations over the next six months and looks to more aggressively market this new concept vehicle. Additional resources are being allocated to marketing strategy consultants and customer research to inform future marketing initiatives.

The joint venture’s management has moved back their breakeven time frame by up to two years and may start producing ATVs at the Multix plant to help in that regard. The plant, located in Jaipur, has a capacity to produce 60,000 vehicles annually, so ATVs could fill some of that capacity until the Multix can develop some momentum.

This isn’t the first time Polaris has had difficulties in markets outside of the powersports arena. They have had some challenges along the way with their Bobcat partnership, Brutus line sold to commercial and government markets, as well as, some issues with traditional Polaris dealers trying to sell GEMs after the brand was first acquired.

While one might expect the past success of Polaris might produce different results, these difficulties are not completely unexpected. Selling to commercial and government customers is different than selling a new off-road vehicle to a powersport customer. With the latter, Polaris’ established presence in the market facilitates a build it and they will come approach, and the company has had years to hone their PR and marketing campaigns for a market often eager for the next best thing. Literally, dealers can wait for customers to walk through their doors,

In the commercial/government market customers are often constrained by budgets and budgetary calendars, and a dealer has to be pro-active. The successful dealers I have met in this market all aggressively make on site visits and demo vehicles for potential customers, as well as, attend trade shows, exhibitions and other venues where potential customers congregate. This is essentially a different type of dealer than the powersports dealer. This is not to say that Eicher-Polaris and Polaris won’t be successful in these markets. Despite these hurdles, Polaris has continued to grow their commercial business and their recent acquisition of Taylor-Dunn shows they are committed to a long-term strategy. In fact, overcoming these hurdles is building an institutional knowledge of these markets that should improve help them moving forward.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com