A couple of more news items point to continued strength in the UTV market with increased sales from new models and more widespread applications.
An analyst from Felt and Company raised their revenue expectations for Arctic Cat and reiterated their Buy recommendation in part on the strength being seen in the market from both dealers and consumers from the new 50 inch Wildcat side-by-side. (Note: This was before the recent patent lawsuit was filed against Arctic Cat by Polaris) Learn more: Powersportsbusiness
The recent GIE + EXPO and Hardscape North America dual trade shows in Kentucky saw an increased presence from UTV manufacturers. UTV manufacturers attending included Bad Boy Buggies/E-Z-GO/Cushman, Bobcat, BV Powersports, Cub Cadet, Deere, JCB, Kubota, Sunright International and Polaris. The trade shows feature outdoor power equipment, along with products for landscapes, gardens, outdoor leisure, hardscapes and light construction. Learn more: Powersportsbusienss.com
Image from patent no. 8,596,405, the basis of the Polaris lawsuit against Arctic Cat. See link below to patent for other images and information.
Polaris is suing Arctic Cat for alleging violating patent no. 8,596,405 which covers versions of the Ranger RZR side-by-side. The patent was originally filed in 2006, updated in 2010 and approved several weeks ago. The alleged violation relates to the Arctic Cat Wildcat and the patent appears to pertain to trail riding side-by-sides.
I’m no patent lawyer but the patent seems to be very broad, covering the basic design of a trail riding side-by-side. One key element of the vehicle design as described in the patent claims is the placement of the engine in the rear of the vehicle behind the seat. This lawsuit could have major implications for the UTV market and further enhance the dominant position of Polaris if they win. This is just another sign of how competitive this market has become, especially in the higher end trail riding/recreation segment. Learn more: Startribune.com
The Maverick XRS DPS as well as other Can Am Maverick and Commander side-by-side models helped power BRP earnings in the last quarter.
BRP Inc., manufacturer of Can-Am side-by-sides and other power sports products announced their FY14 third quarter results for the period ended October 31, 2013 (Figures in Canadian dollars). The management reported record quarterly revenues of $866.0 million, an increase of 18% compared to the corresponding period of FY2013 Net income of $48.2 million, an increase of 52% compared to the third quarter FY2013. Revenues from Year-Round Products increased by $2.2 million, or 0.9%, to $249.6 million for the three-month period ended October 31, 2013, up from $247.4 million for the corresponding period ended October 31, 2012. The increase is primarily due to higher wholesale and a favourable product mix in side-by-side vehicles, for an increase of approximately 38% compared with the corresponding period ended October 31, 2012. The increase was mainly offset by a 20% reduction in ATV sales. Other highlights from the earnings call with a focus on side-by-sides include:
Year-to-date, BRP registered growth of 13% in year-round products, primarily driven by significant growth in side-by-side, a market BRP only entered in late 2010.
Year-to-date, side-by-side revenue is up 35% driven by eight new models under the Commander and Maverick product lines.
Company remains on track for to add 35-40 new dealers in North America by the end of our fiscal year 2014, and continue to focus on the US South and Southwest regions. They are also on track for 200 to 300 new dealers over the next four years.
International revenues have grown 15% in large part to the increasing popularity of side-by-side products
The US side-by-side industry is up low-double digit thus far in season 2014, while BRP retail continues to significantly outpace the industry.
Management reports that they started deliveries of the Maverick Max in June; the Maverick XMR, the mud-ready vehicle, in October; and the XC model, Maverick XC model, also in October. “Then we have a very good momentum worldwide with our side-by-side business, and we are outpacing the industry every quarter, and we’re very happy with that.”
BRP continues to track on plan for our full-year revenue and normalized EBITDA guidance.
Club Car has launched a new line of Carryall UTVs.
New Carryall UTV from Club Car
Club Car announced their new line of Carryall utility vehicles which feature significant changes to the vehicles. One key feature of the line is a new engine developed by Subaru.
The 14-hp-rated, 404-cc, single-cylinder overhead cam engine features electronic fuel injection (EFI), capacitive discharge ignition (CGI), hemispherical heads and a case-hardened steel timing chain that enhances reliability. A splash lubrication system that eliminates the need for oil filters simplifies maintenance and reduces environmental waste.
The engine will be warrantied for 3 years and 3,000 hours, up from the previous 2 years and 2,000 hours. The product line will continue to have an aluminum frame, rack and pinion steering and independent front suspension. Other key features include:
30% more horsepower and 50% more fuel efficiency
Electric models have an inboard solid state charger that is programmable for different algorithms depending on battery type i.e. flooded lead-acid or AGM and 10% more efficient than the previous one
Movable bed dividers and cargo tie-downs and ability to accommodate ladder racks, bucket holders and other accessories
Rhino lining for the cargo bed floor is standard
New body and interior styling for better ergonomics and usability
Integrated halogen headlights with an LED option
Optional cab designed to integrate with vehicle design
A street-legal LSV model configuration and six passenger Transporter model
Comment: The product line is being marketed as a replacement for pickup trucks in the commercial and industrial markets. This is a fast growing segment in work segment of the UTV markets. The savings is not so much in the front-end costs but all the insurance, maintenance and fuel costs during the life of the vehicle. UTVs like the Carryall can also offer productivity improvements as they can prove more versatile and better access work areas than larger pick-up trucks. The electric vehicles are particularly popular with colleges/universities, parks and municipalities that have green or sustainability policies. This is one of the reasons that the UTV market has continued to grow at a good pace despite a slow economic recovery.
The new 50-inch wide Wildcat Trail XT from Arctic Cat
Arctic Cat introduced their new 50-inch wide Wildcat Trail and Trail XT UTVs. The models are designed for narrower trails and feature a new Arctic Cat-designed 700 inline twin with EFI, 4 valves per cylinder and liquid cooling. The 700cc 60-plus horsepower engine was designed specifically for the Wildcat Trail chassis. Other key features of the vehicle include:
10 Inches of ground clearance 10.5 Inches of rear suspension travel
The Wildcat Trail and Trail XT models get double a-arms front and rear sporting top quality FOX nitrogen charged shocks all the way around.2-Inch receiver
Digital gauge with14 indicators: clock/hour meter, fuel level, mode button, set/reset button, odometer/trip, gear position, speedometer/tachometer, needle display, differential lock, high beam, temperature and oil pressure.
Color-matched bucket seats
Selectable on-the-fly 2WD/4WD with locking front differential
TEAM® Rapid Response Clutch
12” rims with 4-ply, Carlisle Trail Pro tires, designed exclusively for the Wildcat Trail.
Comment: These vehicles will give riders access to some of the ATV trails, particularly in the East and other regions with trail networks in forests that have historically been too narrow for side-by-sides. In some areas these trails have numerous gates that make it impossible for wider side-by-sides to use the trails. In certain parts of the country this will likely further erode the ATV market which has seen consumers swap UTVs for ATVs over the last several years. Designed to compete against the Polaris RZR 800, it will be interesting to see the competition between these companies and others plays out in this segment of narrow width UTVs.
The new Ranger XP 900 Deluxe in nuclear sunset orange from Polaris.
The new model features cockpit changes from the Ranger XP 900 EPS on which it is based.
Polaris announced their latest addition to the Ranger product line, the Ranger XP 900 Deluxe in nuclear sunset orange. Based on the Ranger XP 900 EPS the new vehicle includes the following changes:
The bench seating is replaced with ‘bolstered cut-and-sew bucket seats’ with an adjustable driver’s seat
Center console with integrated storage
Color-matched half doors for protection from branches and mud
Factory installed in-dash audio system
The Deluxe model had a 1,000 lb cargo box capacity and 2,000 lb towing capacity. The MSRP is $16,499 for the base version. Learn more: Polaris.com
Comment: Polaris continues to pump out new models targeting different slices of the market. While the recreational and crossover UTV segments have become more competitive with other companies introducing new models as well, no company seems to be able to match the speed and volume with which Polaris brings new models to the market. Their product development cycle is one of the reasons they continue to be the dominant brand in the market.