Caterpillar Partners with Textron Specialized Vehicles for UTVs

Cushman Hauler 1200

Textron Specialized Vehicles, which makes utility vehicles like the Cushman Hauler 1200, is partnering with Caterpillar to manufacturer CAT branded UTVs.

Caterpillar, the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives, has entered into a manufacturing and supply agreement with Textron Specialized Vehicles to develop CAT branded utility vehicles.

The CAT utility vehicles will feature a steel cargo bed with a 1,000 lb. capacity and be able to tow up to 2,000 lbs. According to Cat product manager Steve Schoening, “Cat utility vehicles will offer exceptional performance and stability at full load, superior reliability, and a quiet, spacious operator environment”. There will also be ample headroom and legroom for tall operators.

Those specs are similar to the Cushman Hauler 1200 and Hauler 4×4 Diesel although the Haulers have slightly more cargo bed capacity by significantly less towing capacity. Caterpillar has 49 independent dealers in the US and another 123 worldwide. The CAT UTV will be available in 2018.

This is another example of utility vehicle manufacturers expanding their distribution through partnerships to reach additional market segments or geographic areas. Textron Speciality Vehicles has their Cushman product line that touches on the construction equipment market segment, but Caterpillar’s brand and dealer network provides access to the heart of heavy equipment markets. The partnership also helps increase production volume for Textron that can further reduce their manufacturing costs. For Caterpillar the partnership provides an easy add-on to their product line for a type of vehicle that many of their heavy equipment customers are likely already buying, but from other brands. In addition, they do not have to spend as much non-monetary resources developing and producing a type of vehicle that is not core to their mission or expertise. Learn more:  Constructionequipment.com

Marc Cesare, SmallVehicleResource.com

More STOV Self-Driving Tech

Polaris MRZR X autonomous vehicle

The self-driving MRZR X developed by Polaris, ARA and Neya Systems for the Army’s SMET program.

A recent post highlighted current self-driving tech in the STOV market and commented on the potential in the future. In the past week I came across a couple of additional examples of self-driving tech in the market.

The first is a collaboration between Polaris Industries, Applied Research Associates (ARA) and Neya Systems to provide a platform for the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) program. Polaris brings their MRZR vehicle platform, currently sold to US and allied military organizations around the world, to the collaboration, Neya Systems is providing advanced unmanned systems technology and ARA brings experience in bringing computer and other technical expertise to national security issues. The SMET program’s goal is to develop a ground robotic vehicle to carry a squad’s worth of life support and combat gear. An Army squad typically consists of nine soldiers. (Learn more:  Businesswire.com)

A self-driving shuttle from Auro which was recently acquired by Ridecell.

The second example is California based Ridecell that is developing self-driving, low-speed vehicles for use on private property such as colleges, theme parks, business parks, retirement communities, and basically any campus like setting that can set it’s own traffic rules. Ridecell recently acquired autonomous shuttle maker Auro Robotics. Ridecell will also be providing fleet-management software and services which they already provide for BMW’s and Volkswagen’s car sharing services.The battery-electric shuttle has a top speed of 25 mph and a 90-mile range. Auro currently builds three different configurations to suit various transportation needs and is using GEMs as their base vehicle platform. They provide 2, 6 or 12 seat shuttles depending on customer need. Learn more:  Greencarreports.com

Ridecell is targeting exactly the markets I mentioned in my previous post. The college campus market in particular is already a major market for GEM. However, local GEM dealers could find themselves in competition with Ridecell and indirectly with Polaris who manufactures GEM vehicles, if they end up selling directly to Ridecell. It may be useful for Ridecell, Polaris corporate and local GEM dealers to collaborate in marketing self-driving vehicles. Ridecell could significantly expand their distribution and service channel and enhance their marketing efforts, Polaris could sell more GEMs without alienating their dealer base while establishing the GEM brand in the self-driving space, and GEM dealers could provide a value-added, next generation product to their customers while adding a differentiating and potentially higher margin product to their vehicle lineup.

For GEM dealers this could also be an opportunity to grab a greater share of the gated community market. Traditionally this has been a harder sell for LSVs because of the price of LSVs in comparison to used, refurbished, new and customized golf cars. The Ridecell product however would more likely be marketed to the organization operating the community rather than individual owners, since it would be a shuttle service shared by the community. The economics would be different as well, as the shuttle service would likely need to start with a brand new vehicle. Over the long term, a self-driving shuttle service could very well significantly erode the individual vehicle market in gated communities.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Can-Am Enters Trail Segment with 2018 Maverick Trail Models

Can-Am side-by-side

New Can-Am side-by-side models for 2018 including trail specific models and application specific Defender  and Maverick X3 models.

Can-Am launched their entry into the trail riding segment with four 50″ wide Maverick Trail models for 2018. The new models are the Maverick Trail and Maverick Trail DPS, both of which have the option of a Rotax 800 or Rotax 1000 engine. They also added technical crawling-specific models, the 172hp Can-Am Maverick X3 X rc TURBO R and the 120hp Maverick X3 X rc TURBO.

New for the Defender line for 2018 are the mud ready Defender X mr HD10, the performance oriented Defender XT-P, and the Defender MAX LONE STAR HD10 targeting the rancher segment with a mixture of heavy-duty components and flair.

Can-Am’s 2018 model year is an extension of the company’s aggressive product development pace in the side-by-side market for the last several years. They have been updating their existing product lines while targeting market segments in which they have not had a presence. First was their introduction of the Defender line aimed more for work oriented applications, and particularly for farms and multi-acre home owners. Now they are attacking the trail segment that has largely been left to Polaris and Arctic Cat, now known as Textron Off Road. They are also continuing to differentiate within market segments with their existing product lines by adding application specific vehicles.

These are all trends that are occurring in the market in general as competition in the side-by-side market in both recreational and utility segments has revved up. For customers this has translated into better promotions and pricing, increasing vehicle functionality and performance and a better value proposition. In Can-Am’s case, their new product development strategy has led to increased revenue and market share from the success of their Defender line and annual improvements to the Maverick family.

In the last few years many manufacturers, both large and small, have revitalized product lines, added product lines and newly entered the market, particularly in the utility segment. The challenge is to remain committed to the market with the resources needed to regularly develop competitive vehicles and build out distribution channels. There is likely to be a shakeout in the market in the next few years as some companies will have difficulty remaining competitive product offerings in the face of aggressive product introductions by Can-Am and other manufacturers.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

The following is the press release from Can-Am

Dallas, Texas, Sept. 20, 2017 – BRP (TSX: DOO) unveils four new 50”-wide Can-Am Maverick Trail side-by-side vehicles at its annual dealer meeting in Dallas, TX. People can now enjoy the Maverick experience while accessing many public trails and tucked-away destinations with ease. With their innovative design and extreme agility, Maverick Trail vehicles enhance the consumer experience and allow people to explore the wild with confidence.

The Maverick Trail vehicle is conceived to bring one of the best trail experiences to people with its bold Can-Am Maverick X3 heritage and its ingenious convenience features. Every feature is purpose-built to maximize consumer comfort, vehicle stability, and handling – a must for people who are looking for a full day of adventures.

“The Can-Am Maverick Trail lineup introduces our incredible X3 pedigree to trail exploration,” said Bernard Guy, Senior Vice President, Global Product Strategy at BRP. “People love riding trails because it’s an adventurous escape into nature to discover new destinations with friends, and these ingenious machines are built to maximize the user experience in every way.”

The fun doesn’t stop on the trail, though, as BRP also introduced two new technical crawling-specific models for 2018 – the 172hp Can-Am Maverick X3 X rc TURBO R and the 120hp Maverick X3 X rc TURBO. Rugged crawling is extremely popular (and growing), and BRP went to the rocks to gain real-world insight from owners before finalizing the design.
One critical takeaway for the best possible user experience was the need for a fully-lockable front differential. In response, the Can-Am team created a technology called SMART-Lok™*, which is an ingenious fully-lockable on-the-fly front differential with electronically-controlled automatic modes. That smart technology enhances the riding experience and amounts to traction in extreme conditions.

Maverick X3 X rc models are specifically designed for maximum maneuverability even at low speeds with a high ground clearance and large, specialized tires. They also come loaded with features for maximum protection including rock sliders, front and rear suspension protectors, and a front differential guard for enhanced defense against harsh terrain and rocks.

On the utility side of the lineup, BRP introduced three new specialty packages to its Can-Am Defender model family, each purpose-built for a specific, enhanced ride experience:

  • The Defender X mr HD10 is a mud-ready vehicle that’s built to tackle grimy conditions with ease. It also has a SMART-Lok front differential, and along with other tough and clever elements, is built from the ground up so people can conquer harsh environments.
  • The Defender XT-P brings performance to the workhorse-oriented Defender XT lineup, with upgraded shocks, multiple driving modes, and more. It’s an ideal balance between performance, comfort and convenience, and is packed with a sportier look.
  • The Defender MAX LONE STAR HD10 complements the swagger and grit of the Texas rancher and outdoorsman. It’s the perfect tool for day-to-day ranching tasks while making sure people stand out from the crowd. It features painted deep metallic black coloration, Lone Star trim, and heavy-duty components such as a steel front bumper and full hard roof.

For additional information and technical specs on these new models, as well as two all-new youth ATV models, visit www.CanAmOffRoad.com.

* Smart-Lok was developed in conjunction with TEAM Industries, a market leader in the drive train industry.

About BRP
BRP (TSX:DOO) is a global leader in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of powersports vehicles and propulsion systems. Its portfolio includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft, Can-Am off-road and Spyder vehicles, Evinrude and Rotax marine propulsion systems as well as Rotax engines for karts, motorcycles and recreational aircraft. BRP supports its line of products with a dedicated parts, accessories and clothing business. With annual sales of CA$4.2 billion from over 100 countries, the Company employs approximately 8,700 people worldwide.