Eicher Polaris JV Shut Down

Eicher Polaris Multix

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

Eicher Polaris, the joint venture between Eicher Motors of India and Polaris Industries and the manufacturer of the Multix small, task-oriented vehicle, has been shut down due to poor sales. Eicher reported that initial interest in the Multix was good but could not be sustained over the long term, especially in the rural markets. The Multix was marketed as India’s first personal utility vehicle that could be used to carry passengers or cargo. The vehicle was designed with flexibility in mind from the beginning so that it could be used as a work vehicle, a family vehicle and even a power generator for the home in rural communities.

The joint venture formed in 2012 and the vehicle launched in 2015 after a significant amount of money and resources were put into market research and product development. Management initially expected sales of 10,000 to 12,000 units that would grow to 100,000 units annually. However, the joint venture showed signs of difficulty by early 2017 and management adjusted their marketing strategy and put more resources into the effort including adding more dealers. These efforts targeted the original market, the rural customer, but failed to make inroads. Later in the year, the joint venture steered in a new direction and started targeting urban customers. Apparently this strategy did not produce enough results. Eicher and Polaris spent an estimated $60 million to bring the vehicle to market. For the last full year ending March 31, 2017 the Eicher Polaris JV reported a loss of approximately $14 million. Some people attributed the lack of adoption to conservative attitudes of the rural customer base that may have been unwilling try such a new vehicle concept.  Learn more: Autoindia.com

SVR’s Take:  This must be a disappointment for Polaris. A lot of time, effort and resources were put into the joint venture and the vehicle. If successful, the Multix would have been a nice addition to the Polaris international portfolio of small, task-oriented vehicle lineups like Aixam, Goupil, GEM and Taylor-Dunn. The Multix would have given them a foothold in the large and growing Indian commercial/work vehicle market and served as a potential jumping off point to export to other countries in the region. Polaris is intent on growing international sales and it is hard to believe they would abandon the Indian and Southeast Asia STOV markets altogether. One option may be to acquire an existing manufacturer.

Garia Golf Car Inspired By Mercedes Benz Style Premieres

Garia Golf Car Mecedes-Benz Style

The Garia Golf Car inspired by Mercedes-Benz Style is now available in limited edition release.

Garia aluminum rims

14″ black aluminum wheels with diamond-cut elements add style.

outdoor touchpad

The 10″ outdoor touchpad display is paired with bluetooth connectivity.

Under the moniker “The coolest golf car ever”, Garia premiered their Garia Golf Car inspired by Mercedes Benz Style at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Priced at $73,000, the two-seat Golf Car is the height of luxury and available for a limited edition release.

What makes a $73,000 golf car? You can start with unique styling unlike any other golf car that is a product of Garia’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz. This includes 14″, five spoke, black aluminum rims with diamond cut elements, uniquely designed headlights, carbon fiber accents, as well as Garia and Mercedes-Benz Style logos prominently placed around the vehicle.

The vehicle is handmade including hand-stitched leather “lounge” seats and Mansory carbon fiber parts like the black leather lined roof.The electric powertrain features a 10.24 kWh lithium battery pack good for a 50 mile range and a 70 km/hr top speed that can be limited to 25 mph to meet LSV regulations. For electronics the Golf Car features a 10.1″ outdoor touch screen that displays the scoreboard, bluetooth connection with hands-free streaming, and speakers in the roof and seat interior. Other amenities include a built-in refrigerator, water-proof leather, grab handles, dual size cup-holders and a tray for golf balls and tees. If you are interested, a $1,000 deposit is required to place an order. Learn more: Garia.com

SVR’s Take:  While I’m sure Garia would be happy to sell a bunch of these golf cars that’s not really the point. They are trying to fortify their image as not only a luxury golf car manufacturer but as THE luxury golf car manufacturer. In addition, the design pushes the concept of the golf car away from traditional golf cars and more towards automobiles. With the future of transportation alternatives in flux, this could be helpful in positioning Garia vehicles more towards the personal transportation end of the spectrum as opposed to the golf car end. If niches develop for lower speed urban transportation would you want a vehicle that looks like a golf car or an automobile? From a more current standpoint, elements from the Golf Car will likely find their way into some of Garia’s other lower-priced but still luxurious golf cars.

Marc Cesare, SVR

Polaris Introduces The RZR XP Turbo S

Polaris RZR SP Turbo S

The new Polaris RZR XP Turbo S features 32″ tires, 16″ of ground clearance and 168 hp turbo engine.

Polaris RZR SP Turbo S

The RZR XP Turbo S has 25″ of usable front and rear suspension travel.

Polaris introduced their new, top-of-the-line RZR, the 72-inch RZR XP Turbo S. The RZR XP Turbo S was completely “redesigned and reengineered” with a reinforced chassis, stronger axels and other strengthened components. Like other high performance RZRs this model is powered by a 168 hp ProStar turbo H.O. engine. Rather than bump up the horsepower, Polaris beefed up almost every other aspect of the vehicle. The XP Turbo S features 32″ ITP Coyote tires 16″ of ground clearance and 25% more assist in power steering. This model also has the Dynamix Active Suspension system, 19″ or 21″ of wheel travel depending on settings and 25″ of what Polaris refers to as useable travel to the skid plate. The drive system is the new Isolated Xtreme Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD with greater front drive impact strength, improved throttle control and a redesigned clutch box “..for better air flow and decreased belt temperatures.”

Other key specs and features of the RZR XP Turbo S include:

  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • EPS
  • 2.5″/3″ FOX Podium Internal Bypass Shocks with Live Valve
  • Premium Sparco Steering Wheel
  • Bolstered Bucket Seats with 4-point Harness
  • Aluminum Roof
  • Bowed 1/4 Doors
  • Front Blacked Out White LED Low/High w/ Accent Lights & Rear Red LED Tail / Brake / Accent Lights
  • Rear Wired Camera
  • RIDE COMMAND™ 7” Glove-Touch Display with DYNAMIX Visualizer
  • Built-In GPS
  • Bluetooth & USB Smartphone Connectivity
  • GoPro® Control
  • In-Vehicle Communications Capable
  • Ride Command App Integration

The RZR XP Turbo S is available in Indy Red or Polaris Blue and has an MSRP of $27,499. The vehicle will be available at dealers in mid-March.  Learn more:  Polaris.com

SVR’s Take:  After years of manufacturers coming to market with new models with more horsepower the RZR XP Turbo S went in a different direction. They really focused on the ride and suspension as well as the ability of the vehicle to take a beating when powered by such a large engine. This introduction may signal that there are diminishing returns for increasing horsepower and/or that the rest of the vehicle features need to catch up with power of the engine. This could signal a market move towards focusing on durability, handling and creature comforts. How will other manufacturers in the market respond?

NHTSA Finalizes Quiet-Car Rule for EVs

Garia LSV In NYC

Street legal Garia on the streets of New York City. LSVs will need to incorporate alert sounds by the end of 2020 according to NHTSA’s finalized “quiet car” ruling.

NHTSA has finalized the quiet car rule that will apply to electric vehicles and hybrids including low speed vehicles. The rule requires EVs and other quiet cars like hybrids to emit alert sounds to warn pedestrians of their approach at low speeds. Vehicles will have to emit sounds when they are moving at speeds of up to 18.6 mph (30 km/hr). Some automakers had pushed for a lower speed threshold of 20 km/hr.

Originally the rule was to be implemented by September 2019 when automakers would have to have 50% of the vehicles equipped with the sounds. After a review by the Trump administration the implementation date has been pushed back by a year to 2020, a full decade since Congress first passed the relevant law. NHTSA expects the rules to prevent 2,400 injuries annually. It is possible that NHTSA will allow manufacturers to provide multiple sounds from which consumers to choose. Learn more:  Reuters.com

SVR’s Take:  This could prove to be an annoying regulation in many campus or gated community settings where LSVs are prevalent. They will likely continuously be making noises since most of their travel around campuses or communities will likely be under the speed threshold. There is the possibility that constantly hearing the alerts could de-sensitize pedestrians to the alerts and negate the intended safety effects. Another unintended consequence is that drivers may want to drive more quickly to keep the vehicle over the threshold speed to avoid triggering the alert.

Marc Cesare, SVR

Mahindra Reveals Roxor Turbodiesel UTVs

Mahindra Roxor

The new Mahindra Roxor utility vehicle powered by a 62 hp urbo diesel.

Mahindra Roxor LE

The Mahindra Roxor LE adds features like a winch, soft top, LED light bar and more.

Mahindra, a well-known auto and tractor manufacturer, revealed two new turbodiesel powered utility vehicles, the Roxor and Roxor LE. The 152cc engine puts out 62 hp at 3,200 rpm and 144 ft lbs of torque at 1,400 rpm. The retro styled exterior is reminiscent of a classic Jeep and is married to a boxed steel frame. The Roxor seats two, has a top speed of 45 mph and 9″ of ground clearance. Both models are targeting recreational users. The vehicles are assembled in Mahindra’s Auburn Hills, Michigan plant. Other key specs include:

  • 3,490 lbs towing capacity
  • 349 lbs cargo capacity
  • 5 speed transmission
  • Selectable 2WD/4WD
  • Rigid leaf spring front suspension with stabilizer bar
  • Leaf spring rear suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers
  • Hydraulic front disc and rear drum brakes
  • Hydraulic power steering
  • Halogen headlights
  • Underseat storage
  • Available in Carbon Black, Classic White, Fire Orange or Tahoe Blue
  • MSRP:  $15,499

The Roxor LE adds the following features:

  • Bestop Bikini soft top
  • Warn 8,000 lb. winch
  • HD front bumper with mounting plate and HD battery
  • 40″ KC HiLites Light Bar
  • BF Goodrich KO2 radial off-road tiers
  • MTX AM/FM bluetooth sound bar
  • Side and rearview mirrors
  • ROPS mounted grab handles

The MSRP for this limited edition model is $18,899. Company marketing material indicates a Dune Edition will be coming later in California.

A marketing program to support the new vehicles will be launched this Spring and the vehicles will be available from over 240 Mahindra powersports dealers in the US.

Learn more: Roxoroffroad.com

SVR’s Take:  I think the very Jeep-like look could prove popular, although not everyone may want a diesel powered UTV. The styling really sets the vehicle apart in a market where there are plenty of options and more seem to materialize every day. If it proves popular I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the larger players in the market come out with similar styling.

This is another example of an agricultural equipment company more aggressively moving into the UTV market to take advantage of their existing distribution channel. However, Mahindra appears to be putting more resources in the most by designing and manufacturing the vehicles themselves, and establishing dedicated new facilities in the US.

A quick perusal of their dealer network shows a large number of agricultural and power equipment dealers. The diesel powertrain makes the UTV a natural fit on farms. The company may have difficulty reaching beyond the farm and large area home owner market, which are a primary target given Mahindra’s popularity in the tractor market. It would appear that this vehicle could have wider appeal beyond these segments, but Mahindra may have to be creative in developing dealers or partnerships to expand the reach of their current distribution channel.

Marc Cesare, SVR


Massive Yamaha Golf Car & PTV Recall

Yamaha Drive2

The 2018 Yamaha Drive2 is one of the models being recalled over a brake cable issue.

Yamaha Golf Car has issued a recall for over 160,000 golf cars, personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) and utility vehicles due to potential failure of the brake cables and subsequent crash hazard. The recall involves model year 2015 through 2018 gas and electric powered golf cars, PTVs and utility vehicles. Note that the utility vehicles from Yamaha Golf Car are different than those from the power sports manufacturer Yamaha Motors which makes the YXZ, Wolverine and Viking utility vehicles. This recall involves Yamaha Drive and Drive2 branded vehicles made by Yamaha Golf Car. For a detailed list of the model numbers and serial number ranges included check the CPSC.gov website. Owners can also contact Yamaha at 800-962-7926 or at www.yamahagolfcar.com.   Owners should immediately stop using these recalled Golf Cars and PTVs and contact a local Yamaha Golf Car dealer to schedule a free repair. Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly.

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

Name of product:  Yamaha Golf Cars and Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) Hazard:  The brake cables on the golf cars and PTVs can fail, posing a crash hazard.

Recall date: February 22, 2018
Units:  About 161,000

Description:  This recall involves the following model year 2015 through 2018 gas and electric-powered golf cars , PTVs and utility vehicles. The vehicles were sold in various colors including blue, green, red, white, tan and silver. The model and serial numbers can be found on a label under the seat on the left or right side.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled Golf Cars and PTVs and contact a local Yamaha Golf Car dealer to schedule a free repair. Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 285 reports of brake cables failing. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:  Yamaha Golf Car dealers nationwide from November 2014 through December 2017 for between $5,900 and $7,700.

Manufacturer(s):  Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, of Newnan, Ga.

Distributor(s):  Yamaha Golf-Car Company, of Kennesaw, Ga.

Manufactured In:  Assembled in United States
Recall number:  18-725

SVR’s Take:  This is a very large recall and on par with the relatively recent large recalls from Polaris. This will likely cost Yamaha millions of dollars to remedy. More importantly, this might put a dent in Yamaha’s progress in gaining market share against Club Car and E-Z-GO. In the last few years, Yamaha has been touting how many thousands of golf courses have switched to their golf cars. The golf car market has always been highly competitive, and even more so in the last several years as golf course growth has declined or remained stagnant.

Marc Cesare, SmallVehicleResource.com

Kubota Updates UTV Lineup

Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick utility vehicle

The new Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick utility vehicle, gas-powered and with a 40 mph top speed.

Over the last few months Kubota has unveiled two significant model additions to their utility vehicle lineup that will be available at dealers in the first part of 2018. The first reveal was the all new RTV-XG850 Sidekick. The Sidekick is a gas powered UTV being marketed as fast, strong and agile with a 48 hp engine, 40 mph top speed, a CVT with centrifugal clutch and speed sensitive electronic power steering.

Kubota is clearly trying to expand their more work-oriented customer base with the faster, crossover oriented Sidekick. However, the RTV-XG850 still maintains solid work specs with a 15.2 cu. ft. and 1,000 lb. capacity steel cargo box and a 2,000 lb. towing capacity. The cargo box has an optional electric hydraulic lift.

Additional features of the Sidekick designed to widen the vehicle’s appeal include:

  • Improved ergonomics with a new digital display, steering wheel and shift knob
  • LED headlights
  • Green and Black color options beyond the traditional Kubota Orange and RealTree AP Camo choices
  • Sidekick specific accessories including a premium audio system, sports roof, alloy wheels and bed extender

Other key specs and features of the Sidekick include:

  • Selectable 2WD/4WD with limited slip front differential
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Front and rear independent suspension
  • 9″/8.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 9.8″ of ground clearance
  • Tilt steering
  • Front guard (standard on Worksite and Special variations)
  • Optional spray-on bed liner

The Sidekick will come in three different variations:  General Purpose, Worksite and Special. The Special comes with a front guard, alloy wheels, tilt steering and spray-on bed liner standard. The Worksite comes with the front guard and tilt steering standard. The General Purpose does not come standard with any of these options. The Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick will be available at dealers in Spring 2018. A quick internet search shows pricing in the $13,000 to $14,500 range.

The other addition to the Kubota UTV lineup is an updated version of the RTV-X1120, a heavy duty work-oriented utility vehicle. The updated model comes with a significantly lower price tag compared to the older version, $13,999 compared to approximately $16,000.

The RTV-X1120 is powered by a 24.8 hp diesel engine and has a Variable Hydro Transmission, a top speed of 29 mph and 4WD with limited-slip front differential and foot operated rear differential lock. Kubota aimed to improve ergonomics and styling with new shoulder restraints, ergonomic 60:40 split bucket seats, digital display, easily accessible parking brake and under seat storage compartments.

Additional key features and specs include:

  • Hydraulic power steering
  • Steel cargo box with optional hydraulic lift
  • Front and rear standard 2″ hitch receivers
  • 1,300 lb. towing capacity
  • Optional machine-polished alloy or black alloy wheels
  • Optional spray-on bed liner
  • Colors:  Kubota Orange or RealTree AP Camo

The RTV-X1120 will be available in General Purpose, Worksite and Deluxe configurations with a starting base price of $13,999 The new RTV-X1120 models will be available at Kubota dealerships in February 2018.

Learn more:   Kubotausa.com

SVR’s Take:  The work and multi-purpose use segment of the UTV market has become more competitive over the last several years as manufacturers have identified the segments as key growth areas. No doubt Kubota has felt the encroachment of this competition on their traditional customer segments of farm, ranch, large area home owners and construction. This has come from larger brands such as Can-Am with their new Defender line, Honda with their expanding Pioneer line and market leader Polaris with their dominant Ranger line, as well as from smaller brands like the value oriented and expanding Cub Cadet Challenger line and the likes of Toro and New Holland that have partnered with larger UTV manufacturers to develop vehicles to sell under their own brands. The most recent in the latter category is the construction oriented Caterpillar.

As the pace of new model development in the UTV market has increased in the last five years, one could argue that Kubota has been at the slower end of the scale among the large manufacturers. The Sidekick in particular may be an indication that Kubota will be accelerating their product development moving forward with an eye towards expanding their appeal. A key difficulty for Kubota in growing their customer base will be how to reach new customers with their existing farm and construction oriented dealership network. They may look to add new types of dealers or partner with other companies to reach new distribution channels.

Marc Cesare, SmallVehicleResource.com

Cushman Introduces New Hauler 800 and 800X Utility Vehicles

Cushman Hauler 800X

The new Cushman Hauler 800X from Textron Specialized Vehicles.

Cushman Hauler 800

The new Cushman Hauler 800 from Textron Specialized Vehicles.

Cushman, a brand under the Textron Specialized Vehicles umbrella, recently announced new, upgraded versions of their Hauler 800 and 800X utility vehicles. Each vehicle comes in an electric powered or gas powered variant. The electric powered models feature a 48-Volt AC powertrain with a 4.4 hp motor, six 8-volt deep cycle batteries, DC PowerWise QE charger and 235 amp AC controller. The gas powered models feature a 13.5 hp Kawasaki, 4-cycle, 401cc engine.

“Customer research guided the design of the Cushman Hauler, and the new Hauler 800 and 800X provides an excellent go-to, light-duty utility option in our lineup,” said John Collins, Vice President, Consumer for Textron Specialized Vehicles. “A customizable bed, functional dash storage, and increased visibility allow the operator to be more organized and productive on the work site.” New options for the Hauler 800 and 800X include:

  • A floor mount attachment that enables you to transport and secure small equipment in the passenger area of the vehicle
  • An independent radio clip that has been ergonomically designed for easy reach
  • Glove box mat package to prevent movement of items in storage compartments

Additional key specs common for the vehicles include:

  • Seating for two
  • 8.4 cu ft of cargo deck capacity
  • Headlights
  • Brushguard
  • Optional bed divider
  • Welded Steel w/ E-Shield e-coat plus DuraShield™ Powder Coat

Some of the key differences between the Hauler 800 and the 800X include:

  • The Hauler 800 has slightly more cargo bed capacity at 400 lbs vs. 325 lbs and more towing capacity with 900 lbs vs. 500 lbs
  • The Hauler 800X has a faster top speed of 16.5 mph vs. 14.5 mph
  • The Hauler 800X has more ground clearance:  5.5″ vs. 4.3″

The Hauler 800 and 800X are available in Patriot Blue and Forest Green.

Learn more:  Cushman.com

SVR’s Take:  While the changes to the Hauler 800 and 800X are not drastic, they are very focused on the application specific needs of end users. These types of changes are indicative of how competitive the work side of the utility vehicle market has become as manufacturers tailor their vehicle offerings to specific sub-segments of the market. They are accomplishing this by adding new work specific features and offering a wider range of options and accessories for specific applications. In some cases, they are providing a pre-packaged set of options and features for certain end-use applications. This is often in the context of segment specific marketing efforts. For example, Club Car has identified certain market verticals they are strategically targeting, and Cushman is using different marketing material for commercial and golf segments for these Hauler 800 and 800X models.  These approaches demonstrate the functionality and versatility of utility vehicles that serve as a common work platform which can relatively easily be customized for a wide range of work environments and applications. Marc Cesare, SmallVehicleResource.com


Ingersoll-Rand Q4 2017 Earnings

Club Car Tempo 4Fun

The four-person Club Car Tempo 4Fun fills out the new fleet line, which Ingersoll-Rand expects to help maintain momentum in their Small Electric Vehicle business.

Ingersoll-Rand, which makes a range of commercial and industrial products including Club Car golf cars and utility vehicles, recently reported Q4 2017 financial results. For the quarter net revenues increased 8% to $3.6 billion from $3.4 billion and for the year they increased 5% to $14.2 billion from $13.5 billion. Club Car revenues account for only a small portion of the overall revenues. The Industrial segment, which includes Club Car, reported Q4 net revenues of $858 million, a 7% increase from $800 million in Q4 of the previous year.

The following are some of the highlights from the earnings call related to small, task-oriented vehicles.

  • The Small Electric Vehicle portion of the Industrial segment grew low teens percent on strength in both vehicle and aftermarket sales, particularly in North America
  • The Club Car Tempo Connect golf car was just launched at the recent PGA Show.

Guidance for 2018

  • Industrial segment revenue overall is expected to increase 5.5% to 6.0%
  • Golf/Utility/Consumer end markets are expected to increase mid-single digits
  • Golf utility vehicles and consumer vehicles combined are generally expected to be flat to slightly up across the globe.
  • Consumer vehicle continues to grow at a nice clip.
  • Utility vehicles are also expected to have good growth in 2018.
  • The golf market is expected to remain roughly flat

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings Call Transcript)

Textron Reports Q4 2017 Earnings

E-Z-GO Freedom RXV

The lithium powered Freedom RXV ELiTE helped drive E-Z-GO sales at Textron.

Textron, manufacturer of Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road utility vehicles, E-Z-GO golf cars and other small, task-oriented vehicles recently reported Q4 2017 financial results. Revenues in the quarter were $4.0 billion, up 5% from the fourth quarter of 2016. Textron segment profit in the quarter was $360 million, down $31 million from the fourth quarter of 2016. For the year revenue increased to $14.2 billion up from $13.8 billion. Textron also produces Bell helicopters, Citation jets and various military systems and products. Textron is forecasting 2018 revenues of approximately $14.6 billion, up 3% percent from the prior year.

The following are some of the highlights of the earnings call and presentation related to small, task-oriented vehicles.

  • Industrial revenues, which includes Arctic Cat, E-Z-GO and other Specialized Vehicles, were $1.1 billion for the quarter, up 20% largely related to the recent Arctic Cat acquisition.
  • Industrial segment profit was up $10 million from the fourth quarter of 2016 due to favorable performance.
  • E-Z-GO sales increased led by the new lithium powered ELiTE golf car which has seen over 21,000 units delivered
  • In December the new Havoc X side-by-side was introduced

Guidance for 2018

  • At industrial, we’re expecting growth in each of our businesses resulting in projected segment revenue of about $4.7 billion and a margin of about 8%.

Learn More:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings Call Transcript)