BRP Reports Quarterly Earnings – FY2018 Q3

Can Am Defender Max

The Can Am Defender Max and the Defender line as a whole helped drive sales.

Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R

The Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R and other X# models have helped drive sales as well.

BRP reported third quarter earnings for fiscal year 2018 of $1,241million ($C), a 15% increase from last year. Sales were driven by their Year-Round Products division which includes side-by-sides and Seasonal Products division which includes snowmobiles. For the quarter, Year-Round Products revenue increased $77 million or 20.1% to $460.9 million mainly on higher volume of Maverick X3 and the newly launched Maverick Trail.

The following are highlights of the earnings call related to the side-by-side market.

  • Side-by-side retail increased low 30% compared to an industry up high single digits
  • Launched the new 50″ wide Maverick Trail marking entry into the trail segment
  • Announced investment to increase their manufacturing capabilities in Mexico in response to ongoing strong demand for Defender and X3 models
  • North America side-by-side industry up low teen percent for the first third of the model year
  • Can-Am’s international side-by-side retail sales were up 80% for the quarter and the Defender and Maverick MAX models grew over 100% in markets like Mexico, China and Europe
  • The management stated that they did not follow some of their competitors who were aggressive with promotions in the quarter
  • The Defender line continues to make inroads into the farm and rural markets
  • Commander sales are flat to low single digit growth and the company has lost market share in that segment but gained share in the overall market
  • The management believes that better and more feature rich products across the industry are helping to drive replacement of older vehicles

Learn more:  Finance.yahoo.com (Earnings call transcript)

This marks another strong quarter for BRP as they continue to gain market share in the side-by-side market. Management expects to continue to follow their plan of adding new models every six months until 2020. The overall market appears to remain steady and strong with solid growth.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Q3 2017 Earnings Report

Textron Off Road Wildcat X LTD

The 2018 Wildcat X LTD now under the Textron Off Road brand rather than Arctic Cat.

Textron reported third quarter revenues of $3.5 billion, up 7.2% from the third quarter 2016, while profit decreased $15 million for the quarter to $295 million. “Growth in the third quarter was the result of strong commercial demand at Bell, increased deliveries at Textron Systems and higher revenues at Industrial due to the acquisition of Arctic Cat,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott C. Donnelly.

Textron has folded Arctic Cat into their Specialized Vehicles division which also includes E-Z-GO, Cushman and other brands. They recently merged their Stampede, Bad Boy Off Road and Arctic Cat lines under the Textron Off Road brand. This includes a pared down lineup of previous Arctic Cat models and the introduction of Bad Boy electric vehicles under the Prowler model name. The following are highlights from the earnings call that relate to STOV vehicles.

  • Management reports putting a lot of resources into the integration of Arctic Cat and the process is proceeding on plan
  • The plan involved moving dirt manufacturing to Thief River and centralizing engine manufacturing in St. Cloud, as well as, clearing dealer inventory and educating them about the new lineup of vehicles under the Textron Off Road brand
  • The launch of the lithium ion battery powered golf products has gone “extremely well”
  • Side-by-side sales year over year did well, in part from clearing out inventory
  • Management reports good uptake by dealers of non-Arctic Cat products such as the Stampede and the recently announced Prowler EVs

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

Polaris Q3 2017 Earnings Report

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The new 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS helped drive sales in the third quarter for Polaris.

Polaris Industries reported third quarter 2017 sales of $1,478.7 million, up 25 percent from $1,185.1 million for the third quarter of 2016. Off-Road/Snowmobile segment reported sales of $1.01 billion up 12% and Global Adjacent Markets, which includes GEM, Taylor-Dunn and Aixam among other brands, increased 17% to $91.5 million.

It was a strong quarter for Polaris, in part, because it is being compared to a weak third quarter in 2016 and aided by higher promotional spending. On the other hand, management reports that the quarter also compared favorably to their 2015 third quarter, which was the last quarter before recall issues hit them hard. Looking behind the numbers a more accurate description may be a solid quarter that shows Polaris has stemmed the tide and gaining momentum again in the side-by-side and ATV markets. The following are highlights from the earnings call related to side-by-sides and other small, task-oriented vehicles.

  • Side-by-side wholesale sales were strong worldwide
  • ORV retail sales in North America were up mid-teens percent with both side-by-sides and ATVs up mid-teens
  • Management reports gaining market share in RZR, Ranger and ATV segments
  • ORV industry sales in North America increased high single digits percent for the quarter
  • The oil & gas and farm markets improved but are neither a drag or driving industry growth
  • ORV retail was up double digits in September as momentum carried through the quarter
  • RZR retail sales were very strong in the quarter as well as ATV sales
  • The Ranger XP 1000 was launched during the quarter
  • Strong promotional spending helped drive sales during the quarter but Polaris performed well relative to other manufacturers with similar spending.
  • Promotional spending was also used to help clear out inventory before new model year arrivals.
  • Management reports strong dealer orders for the Ranger XP 1000 and the RZR Dynamics products
  • In Europe Aixam quadricycles and Goupil light utility vehicles grew 17% for the quarter at the wholesale level
  • Guidance:
    • Total company sales are expected to be up in the range of 18% to 19% with increased guidance for ORV/Snowmobile sales, which are now expected to increase in the mid-single digit range year-over-year
    • Global Adjacent Markets guidance is increased to low double digits due to strong sales across the portfolio
    • Lower promotional spending is expected in the 4th quarter compared to previous year and quarter

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

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

BRP Announces FY18 Q2 Quarterly Results

Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R

The Maverick X3 X RS Turbo R helped drive strong sales in the second quarter.

BRP, manufacturer of Can-Am products, recently announced their financial results for the second quarter of their 2018 fiscal year which ended July 31, 2017. (All dollar amounts are in Canadian dollars.) Revenues increased 20% for the quarter to $1,027 million driven by strong demand in side-by-side and personal watercraft. Net income increased $168.9 million to $100.1 million.

It was a strong quarter for BRP and they continue to make solid gains in the UTV market and continue to take market share. The Defender line continues to meet with success on a quarter to quarter basis. The company has built out their dealer network and are looking to improve dealer performance. Look for them to introduce additional models on a regular basis.

The following are additional highlights from the earnings call and presentation that relate to the utility vehicle market.

  • Company introduced the 172hp Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo R model during the quarter
  • North American retail sales for side-by-sides increased 50% for the quarter in an industry that grew low teens %.
  • North American ATV retail sales grew high teen % in an industry that grew low single digit %.
  • For side-by-side model year ending June 30, Can-Am retail sales grew mid-thirties % in an industry up mid-single digit %.
  • The X3 and the Defender line are particularly strong performers.
  • Side-by-side sales are driving parts, accessories and clothing revenue hire
  • Management is seeing results from improving dealer performance and is concentrating on that area rather than looking to add new dealers. Nearly 300 dealers were added in the last four years.
  • Side-by-side sales outside of North America are very strong as well.
  • Management reports that promotional activity in the ATV and side-by-side market is high with many new models being introduced and OEMs looking to reduce inventory.

Eicher Polaris Changes Multix Marketing Strategy

Eicher Polaris Multix

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

Eicher Polaris has made a significant change in the marketing strategy for their Multix multi-purpose utility vehicle. Launched in 2015, the Multix was designed to be versatile and transformable from moving goods to carrying the family to generating electricity with the X-Port feature.

Based on extensive market research the original marketing plan targeted entrepreneurs in rural areas and small towns. The entrepreneur could use the vehicle for business during the week, for family outings on the weekend and even provide electricity in areas where the electrical grid can be unreliable. However, the product has not taken off as management expected, although the potential market is deemed quite large. The company points to more conservative rural people not being as quick to adopt such an innovative product.

Therefore, Eicher Polaris is changing course and now focusing on more urban areas. To that end the company is expanding from 77 to 100 dealerships with most of the new openings in metro areas. The hope is that metro locations will provide more exposure for the Multix to a wider range of end users in the urban environment. Management provides examples of end users that can conduct “business on wheels” with the Multix like laundry operators who can use the X-Port for ironing and carpenters to power tools.

Learn more: thehindubusinessline.com

Comment: The versatility of the vehicle may make it a success in the end. In the metro areas, rather than fitting the vehicle to a particular type of user, many different type of users can adapt the Multix to their needs. In the end the Multix may be used for a number of different end use applications that the company never even considered when developing the vehicle. The key will be exposing the vehicle to as many different end users as possible, and helping them adapt the vehicle to their needs. The next step may be to develop a broader range of accessories to cater to specific applciations.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Polaris Industries Q2 2017 Earnings Results

RZR XP 4 Turbo EPS

RZR sales showed improvement in the quarter compared to the prior year results hurt by recall issues.

Polaris Industries recently announced their quarterly earnings results for the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year. The quarter ended June 30, 2017. Management reported second quarter sales of $1,364.9 million, up 21% from second quarter 2016. Net income for the quarter was $62.0 million compared to $71.2 the prior year, and included some one-time expenses.

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

  • ORV sales increased 6% for the quarter
  • North American ORV unit retail sales for the second quarter of 2017 were down low-single digits percent from the 2016 second quarter as UTV sales increased low single digits but ATVs sale declined high single digits in a weak ATV market
  • Polaris ATVs lost market share in a heavy promotional environment
  • RZR retail turned positive while Ranger retail was flat for the quarter in a highly competitive segment with significant promotional activity
  • The General UTV product line has been good and the segment offers good opportunities according to management
  • Agriculture markets remain weak while oil markets are improving
  • Global Adjacent Markets segment sales increased 7% driven by the Work & Transportation group with good performances from Aixam quadricycles and Goupil light utility vehicles
  • Management expects Global Adjacent Market segment to increase mid-single digits percent for the year
  • Side-by-sides are expected to drive the improved guidance for the ORV/Snowmobile segment, which is now expected to see flat sales year-over-year

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

American LandMaster Announces New HQ & Manufacturing Facility

 American LandMaster LandStar LS670 utility vehicle

The LandStar LS670 from American LandMaster.

Utility vehicle manufacturer American LandMaster announced a new facility in Columbia City, IN that will become the company’s headquarters and consolidate manufacturing operations. The new facility will cost $4 million to lease and equip. Manufacturing operations from Roseland, LA and nearby Fort Wayne, IN will be moved to the new location. Nearly 70 jobs are expected to be created and production at the facility is scheduled to begin in September. The company can qualify for up to $420,00 in tax credits and another $70,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, based upon reaching certain employment targets. County officials are considering additional incentives.

The investment is another sign of the increasingly competitive utility vehicle market. A number of manufacturers across varied market segments have increased their investments in the market, while at the same time growth in the UTV market has moderated. Companies have introduced new product lines and, similar to American LandMaster expanded or developed new manufacturing facilities. Last April American Sportsworks announced the rebranding of the company as American LandMaster, as well as, a newly re-engineered vehicle lineup. According to management, the new facility will allow for greater efficiency, better customer service and product line expansion, while continuing to manufacture American made products.  Learn more:  Businessfacilities.com

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

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)

 

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