Kubota has added the RTV 400 to their line of utility vehicles. Using the same chassis as the RTV 500, the RTV 400 features a one cylinder, 404cc, 16 hp engine with electronic fuel injection and a new Kubota designed continuously variable transmission. The new CVT maintains a taught belt at all times for “…a longer lasting belt and dynamic breaking.” The RTV 400 has the same cargo carrying capacity as the 500 but 200 lb less hauling capacity. Other features include:
- Independent front suspension and semi-independent rear suspension
- Selectable 2wd or 4wd and a differential lock
- Compatibility with options for the RTV 500.
The vehicle is targeted for the similar farm and general utility markets as the RTV 500 according to management. Learn more: Agweb.com
Club Car has launched www.clubcar.tv to showcase the company’s electric golf cars and utility vehicles. The microsite provides information about the Club Car’s latest technologies as well as news and case studies from vehicle operators at various European and Middle Eastern golf facilities. Learn more: Worldgolf.com
Also in the European market, the PGA announced the purchase of an eleven vehicle fleet of Club Car vehicles for use at PGA events. The vehicles will be distributed to various regions in Great Britain and Ireland and the PGA headquarters. A number of the vehicles feature Club Car’s Delta Q on-board charging system. Learn more: Worldgolf.com
Pro Armor, in cooperation with the CPSC, is voluntarily recalling latches used on utility vehicle doors. “The latch pin can disengage from the latch allowing the door to open while the vehicle is moving. This can pose a risk of ejection of an unrestrained rider and impact or laceration hazards.” To date no injuries have been associated with any of the latch failures reported. Approximately 5,200 of the latches were sold between January and November of 2011 for use in Polaris RZR, Can-Am Commander and Kawasaki Teryx utility vehicles. Consumers should stop using vehicles equipped with the latches and contact Pro Armor for a free repair kit. Learn more: CPSC.gov
VP Racing fuels recently launched their new T4 fuel for powersports. The fuel is only for use in competition vehicles such as UTVs, ATVs and motorcycles. T4 was developed in response to complaints about ethanol in pump gas causing problems with fuel injectors and carburetors. Learn more: Powersportsbusiness.com
The Washington State Senate has passed a bill that will charge electric vehicle owners a $100 fee to compensate for lost gas taxes. The bill reportedly does not apply to LSVs. The revenues would be used to fund road repair and related services. The bill still has to pass the House. Learn more: Plugincars.com
Eric Bondy, the President and CEO of KYMCO USA since 2004, has joined E-Z-GO as Vice President, Consumer Value Stream. In his new position he will be responsible for strategy development and execution, worldwide sales, marketing, product development and channel development for a wide range of vehicles including Bad Boy Buggies, E-Z-GO’s Terrain and Express lines of UTVs, the Freedom line of personal golf cars, and the 2Five line of LSVs.
Learn more: Motorsportsnewswire.wordpress.com
Reports from Bangladesh indicate a small but fast growing mini-truck market. In 2011 the market was estimated to be 8,500 vehicles and the Tata Ace mini-truck, manufactured in neighboring India, accounts for over ninety percent of the market. Tata started selling their mini-trucks in Bangladesh in 2009, selling 3,500 vehicles that first year.
The local distributor Nitol Motors attributes their sales success to growing demand across many industries and a reduced down payment for purchasers. Instead of requiring a 50% initial payment, they only require 30% and sometimes as low as 20%. This has enabled local entrepreneurs to start their own goods shipping businesses. According to Nitrol Motors half the market is for this type of business and the other half for general business use. Buyers are most concerned with the initial payment costs instead of total vehicle costs. The success of the Tata Ace has also taken a large chunk of the used and reconditioned mini-truck market. Learn more: Thedailystar.net
An important driver for the consumer LSV market has been the growth of retirement and over 55 master planned/gated communities to serve aging Baby Boomers. While many of these communities have been associated with retirement areas in Florida, California, Arizona and the Carolinas, a recent planning document from Washington state points to more widespread potential outside those states and master planned communities. Recently the Clark County Aging Readiness Task Force presented over 90 recommendations to county officials to address the county’s aging population. A number of the recommendations deal specifically with transportation issues and one of the general recommendations is to support the use of neighborhood electric vehicles. County officials expect that by 2030, 25% of local residents will be 60 or older compared to around 16% today. “Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the local population and, statewide, Washington will rank 11th in the nation.” Learn more: Columbian.com
This is an update to an earlier Market Trender post about a county replacing pickups with UTVs for beach patrol. The initial impetus for the new vehicles was a string of accidents where sunbathers were accidentally run over by life guards driving pickup trucks. An issue in the incidents was the height of the trucks and the limited visibility they provided in the context of beachgoers laying down on the sand. The county has purchased two vehicles and will add eight more vehicles by March. Besides offering increased visibility, the UTVs operate better in soft sand and the open sides make it more inviting for beachgoers to approach lifeguards. The UTVs carry a surfboard, backboard and other safety equipment. Learn more: Orlandosentinel.com
Highlighting some of the many applications for small, task-oriented vehicles
Lewis County's New UTV: A Search & Rescue command center for backwoods operations
Search and Rescue Command Center Vehicle – In Lewis County in upstate New York a Polaris Ranger UTV was recently purchased to serve as a command center for search and rescue operations. The vehicle cost $19,000 and was funded with a grant from the Federal Department of Homeland Security. Other funding covered the $4,000 for a track kit that expands the vehicle capabilities in snowy conditions. The vehicle also includes a heated cab, 100 watt radio system, emergency floodlights, a winch and a small emergency generator. Any agency in the county will be able to use the vehicle in addition to it’s use as a search and rescue vehicle. Learn more: Watertowndailytimes.com