Textron Off Road Struggles with Arctic Cat

Textron Off Road Wildcat XX

Textron Off Road’s Wildcat XX. Wildcat models were previously sold under the Arctic Cat brand.

Textron 2018 Q3 Earnings Results

Textron, Inc recently reported fiscal year 2018 third quarter earnings. They point to a struggling Arctic Cat brand which was acquired in early 2017. The company embedded the Arctic Cat brand under their new Textron Off Road brand in their Specialized Vehicle business, which is part of their Industrial segment. Specialized Vehicles also includes E-Z-GO golf cars, Cushman utility vehicles, towing tugs among other small, task-oriented vehicles. Management reported that poor Specialized Vehicle results hurt the Industrial segment that in turn reduced overall quarterly performance for the company.

Weak Performance but Faith in the Product

The Q&A part of the earnings call pointed to problems with products formerly sold under the Arctic Cat brand. CEO Scott Donnelly remarked that  “…the most fundamental challenge in the business is around particularly the dirt side, the consumer side of that business and that’s the area that where we need the most work”. Furthermore he noted that,

” Industrial, segment profit was breakeven primarily due to unfavorable operating performance in specialized vehicles. Specialized vehicles has undergone significant change over the past two years, as we have expanded the product portfolio. While we’ve seen increasing revenue in the segment, we haven’t seen the planned level of growth or do the operating levers necessary to support the expected returns.”

Nevertheless, management remained positive about future performance and confident of the products they are putting on the market. Donnelly further stated,

“We’ve got great feedback from customers, the performance side we don’t have a product problem I mean we have still gaps which again as I said we’re working on it as we go forward but I think the progress on what the product is and how the product is performing we’re very pleased with.”

The management expects better performance in the fourth quarter.

 

Sales Channel Issues

Additional management comments indicated other issues in the sales channel may be limiting performance. Management noted the need to manage the channel but that some dealers are doing very well. Overall the retail sell through did not meet expectations. Furthermore, management allocated more funds to product discount programs to reduce inventory. In addition, management expressed a desire to improve the sales tools that help customers get to the product.

Pricing Changes Reflect Sales Issues

The pricing changes across the Textron Off-Road vehicle lineup from 2018 to 2019 reflects the poorer than expected retail performance. Management reduced prices for nearly every model, slashing prices for the Wildcat side-by-sides the most. Wildcat price cuts ranged from $500 to $2,500 with most at least $1,000. In contrast, many other manufacturers maintained pricing or slightly increased pricing by around $200 in most cases.

Textron Earnings Call (Seekingalpha.com)

SVR’s Take:

If management likes the product and some dealers are doing well, it sounds like it may possibly be a dealer issue. Either dealers are in the wrong location or they are not performing well. The management’s comments about getting customers to the product raise additional potential issues.

“I think in general how we manage that channel is something that frankly we just haven’t done as well as we should have. And our sales tools and how easy we make it for perspective customers to figure our product, have access to the dealers, have a natural way to help customers move to our product is just something we didn’t do well.”

This could cover a lot of ground from advertising to website performance to in-store marketing material to how dealership personnel interact with customers from first contact to sale.

Marc Cesare, SVR

ODES Industries Launches 2019 UTV Lineup

ODES Industries 2019 Dominator X2 LT Zeus

The ODES Industries 2019 Dominator X2 LT Zeus features a touchscreen and LED lighting.

ODES Industries, self-described as a value UTV brand, recently announced their 2019 UTV lineup as they push for even more growth. According to company statements ODEs Industries has been growing for the last several years including a doubling of sales from 2016 to 2017. The 2019 lineup includes 10 models including the new XForce 2 and XForce 4 models which feature an enclosed cab. Probably, these models are aimed at heavy duty work applications in challenging weather environments. Prices range across the lineup from $9,795 up to $23,495.

ODES Industries Dominator Models

The Dominator line includes the following models:

  • The entry level Dominator X2 ST Model V1 – MSRP $9,795
  • The Dominator X2 ST Model V2 – MSRP $9,995 (Adds Doors, OTR Tires and Matte Black Wheels)
  • The premium level Dominator X2 LT Model V1 – MSRP $13,095
  • The top level Dominator X2 LT Zeus Model V1 – MSRP $14,795 (Adds 7″ Full Touchscreen LCD, Heated Seats)
ODES Industries 2019 Dominator X2 ST

The 2019 Dominator X2 ST

The Dominator X2 ST versions have the following features:

  • 800cc Engine
  • Digital Dash Display
  • Full Roof
  • Heavy Duty Front Bumper
  • Full LED Lighting
  • Electronic Dump Bed
  • Rearview Mirrors
  • Door Nets
  • Front 3,500 lbs Winch
  • Towing Hitch
  • 14″ Wheels
  • 26″ Tires
  • Lockable Storage Boxes

The Dominator X2 LT models have the following features:

  • 800cc Engine with 1000cc option for Zeus model
  • Long Travel – Vi-LOCK Suspension
  •  Digital Dash Display
  •  Full Windshield
  •  Full Roof
  •  32″ LED Light Bar
  •  Heavy Duty Front Bumper
  •  Heavy Duty Rear Bumper
  •  Full LED Lighting
  •  Electronic Dump Bed
  •  Rearview Mirrors
  •  Metal Frame Doors
  •  Front 3,500 lbs Winch
  •  Rear 3,500 lbs Winch
  •  Towing Hitch
  •  15″ Wheels
  •  29″ Tires
  •  Lockable Storage Boxes
  •  Radiator Guards
  •  A-Arm Guards
  •  Electronic Power Steering
Also, there are three Dominator X4 models which seat six as a result of stadium style seating. These versions are similar to the two-passenger lineup with a Dominator X4 ST V1($11,295), Dominator X4 LT Zeus V1 ($16,495) and Dominator X4 LT V1 ($14,795).

Sport Model

ODES Industries Ravager LT Zeus

A 1000cc engine powers the sporty Ravager LT Zeus from ODES Industries.

The two-passenger Ravager LT Zeus gives ODES Industries a pure sport model in the lineup. A 1000cc engine powers the Ravager which features a Two Brothers Racing Exhaust, 3M graphics kit, Two Brothers/Dyna Jet Juicebox kit, front winch, 29″ OTR Dirt Master tires and 15″ OTR Matte Black wheels. The company revamped the model for 2019. Ravager LT Zeus features include:

  • 7″ Touchscreen LCD Display
  •  Long Travel – Vi-LOCK Suspension
  •  Full Windshield / Roof
  •  32″ LED Light Bar
  •  Two Brothers Racing Exhaus
  •  Passenger Grab Bar
  •  Cargo Bed
  •  Rearview Mirrors
  •  Metal Frame Doors
  •  Front 3500lbs Winch
  •  Rear Towing Hitch
  •  15″ OTR Matte Black Wheels
  •  OTR Dirt Master 29″ Tires
  •  Radiator Guards
  •  A-Arm Guards
  •  Electronic Power Steering
  •  Heavy Duty Front Bumper
  •  3M Graphics Kit
  •  Powder Coated Bars – Yellow or Blue
  •  Two Brothers / Dyna Jet Juicebox Kit

New XForce Models Feature Cabs

ODEs Industries XForce 4

ODES Industries added a cab to their latest offering, the Force 4, which seats six.

Finally, rounding out the lineup are the two newest models from ODES Industries, the XForce 2 priced at $20,995  and the XForce 4 priced at $23,495. The X2 can seat up to three and the X4 up to six. Both feature AC/Heating systems, heated front seats, 10.6″ LCD touch screen and a 1000cc engine. Standard features include new mapping, GoPro integration, front and rear camera options, temperature controls, digital displays, Bluetooth connection for phone and text display and direct screen audio control. The latter feature makes it easier to just ride rather than play with electronics.

  • Integrated Media w/ Bluetooth and USB
  • Onboard GPS Nav with Trail Tracking
  • Front and Rear 640×480 Cameras
  • In Screen Go Pro Integration
  • ODES Ultra LCD Integrated Software
  • Aluminum RollcageAC and Heat System w/ Fan Control
  • Onboard Generator for Power Support
  • Front Glass Window w/ Wiper System
  • Front Window Adjustment, 3 Settings
  • Glass Door Windows w/ Electric up/down
  • Single Row LED Directional Light Bar
  • Full Enclosure System
  • Interior Lighting
  • 3 Captains Chair Seating
  • Heated Driver and Passenger Seats
  • Fold Down Center Seat for Console Storage
  • Folding Aluminum Dump Bed
  • 800LBS Capacity Electric Dump Bed
  • Exterior Rear Working Light
  • Oversized Side Mirrors
  • Aluminum A-Arm Guards
  • 16 Gallon Gas Tank
  • 4500LBS Wireless Winch w/ Nylon Rope
  • Reversible Front to Rear Winch Hitch w/ 2″ Ball
  • Winch wire quick disconnects
  • Snorkeled CVT Air Intake System
  • Exterior Panel Light and Bed Controls
  • LED Front and Rear Lights
  • OTR Dirt Master Tires 28×10-14
  • OTR Steel Wheels
  • Interstate Battery
  • Royal Purple Ice Coolant
  • Stage 4 Made in USA Kevlar CVT Belt
  • Double Wishbone Independent Suspension
  • Ground Clearance of 327mm
  • Aluminum Box 1076x1561x260

Learn more:  Odesindustries.com

SVR’s Take:

ODES Industries is another value brand that appears to be having success offering solid features at a reasonable price. These brands typically have a starting price point in the $9,000 to $10,000 range for their entry level UTV, although some start even lower with fewer features. According to ODES Industries website, they source parts from around the world and partially assemble vehicles in Asia. The remaining assembly appears to be in the US. The company moved assembly from California to Dallas, TX in 2016.

Can-Am Market Share Increases

2019 Can-Am Defender HD8

New models like the 2019 Can-Am Defender HD8 help increase Can-Am market share.

Can Am Defender Max

Can Am Defender Max

BRP Reports Strong Fiscal Q2 Earnings  

BRP Inc., manufacturer of Can-Am vehicles announced strong earnings for their fiscal second quarter (ending July 31, 2018) and improved Can-Am market share for their side-by-side business. Management reported an increase in revenue of 18% to $1,207 million from $1,023 million (In Canadian $) as well as increased profit margins.

Ahead of Strategic Plan 

Since implementing their strategic plan in 2015 Can-Am has steadily made inroads in the side-by-side market. Management set the goal of doubling Can-Am market share for the North American side-by-side market from approximately 10% to 20% by 2020. They are on track to reach that goal in 2019 instead of the original 2020 target year.

Recent Can-Am UTV Launches Source: Can-Am Presentation 9/10/2018

Product Development Drives Can-Am Market Share Success

The company drove this rapid growth by launching a host of new models to maintain competitiveness in existing market segments or to enter new segments. They typically launch new models every six months. The Defender lineup of UTVs is an example of entering new segments. The Defender not only attacked the work/utility segment where Can-Am needed a presence, but opened up under represented geographic markets. The company reports US side-by-side dealer network coverage increased over 50% over four years. They also added trail and sport models for the recreational segment while continuing to produce competitive high-end performance side-by-sides as well.

Can-Am Emerges as Main Polaris Competitor

While still far from the market share of market leader Polaris, Can-Am has established itself as the main competitor to Polaris, outpacing the likes of Yamaha, Honda, John Deere and others. This applies to not only to the side-by-side market but in other product segments as well including ATVs, 3-wheelers and snowmobiles. Both companies have also entered the boating market with recent acquisitions. (BRP; Polaris) Can-Am is one of the few side-by-side manufacturers that comes close to the breadth of models that Polaris offers across all the market sub-segments. Management’s intentions are to continue to build out their product lineup.

Earnings Call Highlights

The following are highlights from the earnings call and presentation. Unless noted comparisons are to the same quarter of the previous year.

  • Revenues were up in North America (NA) and all intl markets
  • NA retail sales for Seasonal and Year-round business segments increased 16%
  • All product segments are outgrowing respective industries
  • Year Round business which includes SxS, ATV and Spyder products increased by 26% from $440.4 to $554.0
  • NA side-by-side retail jumped low 30% vs. low teen % for industry for the quarter
  • NA 2018 SSV industry up high single digits percent for recently ended model year while Can-Am jumped mid 30%
  • Management reports gaining over 2.5% in market share in NA side-by-side market for the 2018 season
  • Can-Am SxS up 25% in all  international markets:  Europe/Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
  • Management states:  “We are seeing solid growth across the lineup, and the popularity of our specialized models such as the Defender LONE STAR, the Maverick X3 rock crawler and our mud-ready Maverick X3 and Defender is helping us deliver superior profitability for us and our dealers.
  • Management increased guidance for Year Round business to up 18-21% from previously guided 12-15%
  • Can-Am has more than doubled their side-by-side retail volume since 2015 with 6 new platform introduced over the past 3 years and on target to reach 2020 goals one year in advance
  • Room to grow in the Defender side-by-side segment
  • Some cost pressures from commodity prices and freight costs

Learn more:  Earnings Call Transcript

Polaris Reveals 2019 Model Year Side-by-Sides

Polaris Industries revealed their 2019 model year side-by-side lineup last week with improvements across a host models. In the Ranger product line Ride Command technology will now be available for select Ranger XP 1000 models as a factory-installed package. The Range XP 1000 and Ranger Crew XP 1000 models now include a 20th anniversary edition and the new High Lifter Edition.

2019 model year RZRs feature aggressive styling and performance upgrades across the product lineup. Ride Command will be available in all RZR XP 1000 colors and the RZR XP 1000 Dynamix vehicles. The trail-ready RZR S4 1000 is now powered by a 100 hp engine.

The General lineup has been updated with performance and technology upgrades, as well as new colors and graphics. The following are more specific features for select models.

2019 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition

The 2019 model year Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition with redesigned half doors and improved driveline strength.

2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition – $19,999 MSRP                                    2019 RANGER CREW XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition – 21,499 MSRP

  • Redesigned factory-installed half doors with new one-inch water drains
  • 82 hp engine
  • 11″ of suspension travel
  • 20% increase in overall driveline strength
  • New geared reverse transmission
  • 28″ Outlaw tires
  • 13.5″ of ground clearance
  • Crew version has 6-passenger capacity

2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS RIDE COMMAND – $17,999 MSRP                                    2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS NorthStar Edition RIDE COMMAND – $25,999 MSRP

  • Ride Command technology is now available as a factory-installed package
  • Seven-inch glove-touch display features built-in navigation and front and rear cameras.
  • System provides vehicle diagnostics, allows smartphone connectivity and factory-installed in-dash speakers.
  • Topographical map allows consumers to better navigate trail overlays and drop waypoints to remember key locations
  • Interactive interface gives every type of rider the freedom to stay connected while hunting, working on their ranch, or trail riding.

2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS and Ranger XP 1000 EPS NorthStar Edition models

  • Available in four new color options including Steel Blue, Pearl White, Magnetic Gray and Polaris Pursuit® Camo.
Polaris 2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS 20th anniversary

The 2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS 20th Anniversary edition with two-tone maroon and tan colors and embroidered seats.

2019 Ranger XP1000 EPS 20th Anniversary Limited Edition – $16,799 MSRP            2019 Ranger CREW XP 1000 EPS 20th Anniversary Limited Edition – $17,799

  • Two-tone maroon and tan color option
  • Custom embroidered seats
  • Limited production quantities
Polaris 2019 RZR S4 1000 EPS

The 2019 model year RZR S4 1000 EPS now features 100 hp.

Polaris 2019 RZR XP 1000

The 2019 RZR XP 1000 has new styling and LED lighting.

2019 RZR Xtreme Performance Lineup – Starting at $17,999 MSRP

  • Styling features a more aggressive cut with a chiseled muscular stance
  • LED accent lights
  • Brand-new LED headlights
  • Premium digital instrumentation
  • More storage
  • DYNAMIX active suspension and Ride Command technology now available on RZR XP 1000 models
  • Horsepower boost to 100 hp for the 2019 RZR S4 1000

2019 General – Starting at $16,299 MSRP

  • New colors and graphics
  • Factory-installed bronze wheels on the Ride Command edition

Learn more:  Polaris.com

Polaris Industries Reports Q2 2018 Results

2019 Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000 EPS

New models like the 2019 Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000 EPS helped drive side-by-side revenue for the quarter.

Polaris Industries reported their financial results for the second quarter of 2018. Second quarter 2018 revenue increased 10% year over year to $1.503 billion with the ORV/Snowmobile segment jumping 17% to $993 million and off-road vehicles, excluding PG&A, increased 19%. Some of the gains in ORV were because of the need to boost dealer inventory levels to match retail demand.

Earnings Call Highlights

The following are highlights from the earnings call related to the small, task-oriented vehicle market.

  • The powersports market in North America is essentially flat to up slightly with Polaris ORV flat
  • ORV retail is growing in every region of the US
  • Ag markets have not slowed down at all at this point
  • ORV/Snowmobile segment sales were up 17% in Q2
  • Improved ORV demand for side-by-sides worldwide, and availability and sale of new models accelerated during the quarter helped drive sales
  • Polaris side-by-side North American retail sales up mid-single digits driven by new products and improved oil/gas and agriculture markets
  • Average selling prices for ORV increased 3% and promotional spending per unit decreased
  • Polaris gained market share in side-by-sides and ATV for the quarter
  • Production costs are increasing due to higher logistical and commodity costs
  • ORV helped drive international growth, particularly in Europe
  • Global Adjacent Markets sales increased 17% in the second quarter to $113 million, due to growth in Commercial, Government, and Defense businesses

Guidance for Full Year 2018

  • Management increased guidance for the Global Adjacents and ORV businesses with Global Adjacents expected to be up low-double digits % for the year and ORV/Snowmobiles up high-single digits %
  • ORV sales are expected to be up high single-digits percent from international results and pricing actions and slightly higher volumes

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

Does Future Mobility Include LSVs?

GEM has been the market leader in LSVs for many years.

The falling cost of batteries and rise of autonomous driving technology has launched a new stage in the development of mobility technologies. These advances may be bad news for LSVs. For decades small-task oriented vehicles, and in particular by golf cars, have dominated the EV market in terms of production volume. Long before Tesla, golf car manufacturers produced hundreds of thousands of electric golf cars annually. Primarily for these vehicles were for golf courses, but for personal transportation as well. In addition, the large volume of used electric golf cars coming off of golf courses each year were finding their way into the personal transportation and utility markets. In smaller volumes they produced electric powered burden carriers and general utility vehicles for use in enclosed spaces such as factories and warehouses.

Speed and pricing hurt LSV adoption

Federal regulations in the late nineties lead to the development of Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs), originally referred to as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). The LSV classification created the opportunity to move small EVs out of gated and golf communities and relatively confined driving environments and onto public roads in large numbers. Unfortunately, for LSV manufacturers, the widespread adoption of LSVs for personal transportation has never occurred. In theory, LSVs would be a good choice as a second vehicle. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase and operate and suitable for the short trips typical of many drivers. In practice, they are relatively expensive for their limited functionality, and to many they look like a glorified golf car.

With a 25 mph top speed, LSVs are too slow for real life driving where speeds are often 30-45 mph. Federal authorities, already concerned about LSV safety, are unwilling to compromise on safety requirements for higher speed Medium Speed Vehicles. The additional safety requirements for MSVs would make these vehicles relatively expensive compared to fully highway capable vehicles.

Pricing has always been an issue with LSVs, which typically cost around $10,000 on the low end. They find themselves competing against new, used and refurbished golf cars that can cost thousands of dollars less or comparably priced, but heavily customized golf cars. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest priced highway capable vehicles available do not cost that much more and offer far greater functionality. As a result, the LSV market has never “taken off”. SVR’s research has shown that LSVs for personal use have only gained traction where local laws restrict the use of golf cars on public roads. The trend has been for local governments to allow more golf cars, modified golf cars and even UTVs on local roads.

Where LSV have found some success is on college and corporate campuses. In these environments the LSV safety features are worth the additional expense in the context of insurance and liability. The slower speed is another plus where administrators do not want employees speeding across pedestrian filled campus grounds. The utility LSV has proven to provide plenty of functionality and mobility in these confined environments at a reduced cost compared to pick-up trucks which they often replace. In addition, electric LSVs fit well into sustainability and green initiatives on these campuses.

Electric bikes and scooters offer an alternative

New battery and autonomous driving technologies are unlikely to change the fate of LSVs, and likely will make it worse. Batteries are becoming small enough, powerful enough and cheap enough to create new competitors to LSVs. Namely, a rash of electric bicycles and electric scooters have been entering the market. While costing thousands of dollars, electric bicycles have the potential to chip away at some of the LSV market. Have a short commute on local roads and don’t need to carry much with you. Why not use an electric bike? Need a quick way around urban areas and don’t want to worry about parking? How about an electric scooter.

There are electric bike and scooter sharing programs either already operating or in pilot programs in major cities. These options aren’t ideal in bad weather or for multiple passengers, but they can potentially reduce LSV usage. In fact, they may even provide competition to golf cars and Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) within gated communities.

Autonomous vehicles take a new direction

May Mobility self-driving GEM

GEM configured by May Mobility for self-driving.

Similarly autonomous driving technology may very well reduce the potential footprint for LSVs. Google has used some LSVs for the testing of their autonomous driving technology.  You could argue from a standpoint of safety that the more controlled environment of gated communities could be a good entry point for the technology. But it appears the major players are starting with highway capable vehicles. There have been some instances of LSVs with the technology being tested for limited use scenarios such as shuttle runs. Currently, the relative expense of the autonomous driving technology compared to the cost of an LSV is likely too high. The economics favor installation on premium vehicles or rental/sharing fleets with the flexibility for high volume usage.

Nuro autonomous vehicle

This Fall Kroger will be using passengerless autonomous vehicles from startup Nuro to deliver groceries to customers.

Starship Technologies Delivery Robot

Starship Technologies is rolling out a robotic delivery service on college and corporate campuses this year.

Even in the commercial use of LSVs or their slightly faster cousins in Europe for tasks like urban delivery, autonomous driving technology may undercut the application of these vehicles. There are a number of startups developing autonomous delivery vehicles for operation on streets. However, they are passenger less or even smaller and slower for use on sidewalks. The last vestige for the LSV may remain the college or corporate campus, but even the autonomous shuttle could cut into some of that usage. We may be witnessing the highpoint for the use of LSVs right now.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

 

 

Road Use Regulation Roundup: June 2018

golf cart signThe following is a summary of some of the road use regulations for golf cars, LSVs, ATVs and UTVs that have been passed or are being considered at the state, county and city levels since January, 2018.

Some trends in this latest regulation roundup:

  • This roundup saw more legislation related to allowing LSVs on roads as opposed to golf cars and ATVs/UTVs but it is too early to tell if this represents a long term trend and reversal of previous legislative trends favoring golf cars and UTVs.
  • Of special note is legislation in California that is focusing on the development of a regional multi-city plan for LSV transportation. I believe this is the first time a regional approach has been covered in the roundup.
  • Most of the legislative activity occurred in the Midwest and Southeast.

Highland Village, TX – The City Council approved an ordinance allowing the use of NEVs, LSVs and golf cars in the city with certain restrictions.

Myrtle Beach, SC – The City Council passed an ordinance requiring businesses that rent golf cars to get $10 tags on each vehicle.

Glendale, MO – City officials passed an ordinance allowing golf cars to be used on city streets provided they have certain safety features.

Bay St. Louis & Waveland, MS – The state passed legislation that allows the use of LSVs on certain city streets.

Oxford, MS – The owner of a local LSV taxi service requested that the city lower the minimum driving age of such vehicles from 21 years old to address a driver shortage. They lowered it to 20 years old.

Audubon, IA – City Supervisors will likely pass an ordinance allowing the use of ATVs/UTVs on county roads if they have certain safety features.

Newport, RI – The City Council passed an ordinance allowing the use of electric LSVs on local roads.

SanDiego, CA – State legislation is being considered that would allow the use of LSVs on a county wide basis. The legislation, backed by North County cities, would allow for the implementation of regional LSV transportation plans.

Cincinnati, OH – The City Council passed an ordinance creating a three year pilot program for the use of LSVs in the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods.

Augusta, GA – The City Commission is considering an ordinance that will allow the use of personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) in the central business district. They would initially be used to provide prearranged tours as opposed to taxi service, and could eventually lead to PTV permits for individual owners.

Sanibel Island, FL – The City Council denied the application for the opening of a seven vehicle LSV rental business citing concerns about traffic, safety and the concept being inconsistent with city planning aimed at reducing auto ridership.

Kawasaki Launches Mule PRO-MX UTV Line

2019 Kawasaki Mule PRO-MX EPS

The Mule PRO-MX EPS is part of the new PRO-MX product line from Kawasaki.

Kawasaki Mule PRO-MX EPS LE

The Mule PRO-MX EPS LE adds a roof and aluminum wheels.

Kawasaki Mule PRO-MX EPS Camo

The Mule PRO-MX EPS Camo rounds out the new product line from Kawasaki.

Kawasaki has expanded their Mule PRO series of utility vehicles with the launch of the all new Mule PRO-MX product line for 2019. Positioned as a mid-size compact crossover vehicle for work or play, the MX  product line is smaller in size and price, and features less horsepower, less cargo capacity and less towing capacity than the Mule PRO-FX or Mule PRO-FXR models (SVR recently posted some reviews of the 2018 Mule Pro-FXR). The PRO-MX models seat two rather than three passengers or six in the case of the PRO-FXT models.

The PRO-MX UTVs are powered by a 695cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder DOHC liquid cooled engine mated to a CVT, and has selectable 2WD/4WD/4WD  with rear differential lock along with engine braking. Additional features include:

  • Seating for 2-passengers
  • Speed-sensitive EPS
  • Doors
  • Steel front bumper
  • Steel cargo screen
  • 10.6″ of ground clearance
  • 25″ tires
  • Multi-function digital display
  • Halogen headlights
  • Two LED auxiliary headlamps
  • Tilt adjustable steering wheel

Models in the PRO-MX lineup are 60″ wide compared to 64″ for FX and FXT models and have a 700 lb. rather 999 lb. capacity cargo box as well as the ability to tow up to 1,500 lb. compared to 2,000 lb.

The Mule PRO-MX EPS has an MSRP of $11,999 and is available in Timberline Green or Bright White. The Mule PRO-MX EPS LE is priced at $12,499 and comes in Firecracker Red. LE features include a hard plastic roof and aluminum wheels. The Mule PRO-MX EPS Camo is priced at $12,649 and adds Camouflage Truetimber HTC Green bodywork and a plastic roof.  Learn more:  Kawasaki.com

SVR’s Take:  Over the last several years Kawasaki has transitioned to making their PRO series of utility vehicles the dominant part of their UTV offerings. There are now 18 different models across the Mule PRO FX, FXT, FXR, DX and now MX product lines. The MX models fill in a price point between the smaller more consumer oriented Mule SX line and the rest of the Mule PRO product lines designed for heavier duty utility use.  The price point is similar to their Mule 4000 and 4010 models but the MX models offer more in the way of crossover capabilities.  Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

2019 Can-Am UTV Models Unveiled

Can-Am just unveiled their 2019 side-by-side lineup. Rather than introduce completely new models, this round of vehicles includes a host of upgrades across the 2019 Can-Am side-by-side offerings.

2019 Can-Am Defender HD8

The 2019 Can-Am Defender HD8 features upgrades such as more towing capacity and a longer warranty.

Numerous advances to the Defender utility-recreation side-by-side family delivers resourceful solutions for various off-road undertakings. The addition of a class-leading tow rating — now rated at an industry-leading 2,500-lb. (1,134 kg) for units with the HD8 and HD10 engines and a 1-year limited warranty on all Defender 2019 (USA and Canada) models brings more value and a tougher design to owners.

Defender HD8 now has a standard lockable rear differential system, 27 in. (68.6 cm) Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tire. Defender XT CAB and MAX XT CAB vehicles get a revised 12-in. (30.5) ground clearance supply ample traction and additional space for overcoming demanding obstacles.

2019 Can-Am Defender X mr

The 2019 Defender X mr comes with lower gear ranges and large shocks.

The specialized, mud-ready Defender X mr is fortified with the industry’s top ground clearance at 15-in. (38.1 cm), suspension travel and shock size, with a new larger shock bore. Engineering revisions reduced the lower ranges for both the HIGH and LOW range, while a new lockable rear differential system, with eight total selective modes, makes the specialty X mr even more capable in and out of the mud. The system is even calibrated to prevent turf tearing. The Defender XT-P package now features Smart-Lok traction system with TRAIL mode for maximum footing in every condition, but especially in slow-speed maneuvering. The Defender Lone Star edition receives its own unique and prominent badging, improved cast-aluminum wheels and, like the Defender Mossy Oak Hunting Edition package tougher protective equipment for more resilience in challenging terrain.

2019 Maverick X3 X ds Turbo

Like the rest Maverick X3 lineup, the Maverick X3 Max X ds now features a Smart-Lok front differential and new Dynamic Power Steering system.

2019 Maverick X3 Max X ds

The 2019 MAX versions receive similar upgrades as well.

The invigorating Maverick X3 and Maverick X3 MAX X-package super-sport side-by-sides all receive Smart-Lok, a fully lockable on-the-fly front differential with electronically controlled automatic modes for maximum traction and precision cornering. All X3 side-by-side vehicles get a new high-torque, tri-mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) system to improve low-speed riding and enhance input feedback to the driver for a more complete driving experience. Significant engineering adjustments were also made to enhance overall comfort and dependability. The Can-Am engineering team redesigned the front sway bar link to be more durable, which also enhances cornering. A new electrical cover better protects the engine control unit (ECU).

Many new components and the expansion of the existing co-branded partnership agreements with Lonestar Racing, S3 Power Sports and others, have once again grown the Can-Am genuine accessory lineup for 2019. All-new accessories include convenient roof racks, MTX speakers, window nets, ATV Windshields, batteries accessories and much more, providing consumers with more adaptable customization options to meet their needs.

2019 Can-Am Side-By-Side Vehicle Lineup Colorations
• Phoenix Orange — Maverick X3 X ds / Maverick X3 MAX X ds
• Gold, Can-Am Red & Hyper Silver — Maverick X3 X rs / Maverick X3 MAX X rs
• Hyper Silver: Defender DPS HD10 / Defender MAX DPS HD10 / Defender XT HD8 / HD10 / Defender XT CAB HD8 / HD10 / Defender MAX XT HD8 / HD10
• Boreal Green — Commander XT 800R / 1000R / Commander MAX XT 1000
• Carbon Black & Octane Blue — Commander XT 800R / XT 1000R
• New graphics on Carbon Black & Sunburst Yellow X mr packages – Maverick X3 X mr Turbo / X mr Turbo R / Defender X mr

Learn more:  Can-am.brp.com

Textron Launches Prowler Pro UTVs

2019 Textron Off road Prowler Pro

The new 2019 Prowler Pro from Textron Off Road with a 50 hp gas engine.

Textron Off Road recently announced the addition of the Prowler Pro and Prowler Pro XT to their UTV lineup. Targeted at farmers and hunters the Prowler Pro is powered by a 50 hp, 812cc EFI gas engine. Designed to be a “whisper-quiet”, the engine is paired with vibration reducing mounts and a muffler with rubber isolator. The vehicle features a drive-by-wire throttle and CVT drive system that is programmed to compensate for unintended “foot bounce” on rough terrain. Additional key features include:

  • 3 passenger capacity
  • 2/4WD with selectable locking rear differential
  • Double A-arm suspension with gas charged twin tube shocks
  • 10″/9.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.75″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ Pro terrain tires
  • Dual piston front calipers and single piston rear calipers
  • 1,000 lb. cargo dump box
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Tilt steering
  • Customizable speed control
  • Removable passenger seats
  • Behind-seat storage
  • Dual high/low beam halogen headlights and LED taillights
  • Digital gauge
  • ROPS

The Prowler Pro comes standard rack-and-pinion steering and 12-inch steel wheels in Marsh Green for $11,399. The Prowler Pro XT comes in Dynamic Charcoal or Fire Red and includes electronic power steering and 14-inch machined aluminum wheels for $12,999. All vehicles are sold with a 12-month warranty and will be available in dealerships in May.

Learn more:  Textronoffroad.com

SVR’s Take:  After purchasing Arctic Cat Textron first consolidated and pared down their lineup of vehicles across a number of brands and product lineups and put them under the Textron Off Road macro brand. Since then they have launched a number of new models and are building out their vehicle offerings across a number of segments including performance, sport, crossover and work utility. Textron looks like it could become a major competitor to the traditional powersports companies in the market. The company has significant financial and manufacturing resources as well as engineering expertise to draw upon from its other high tech businesses. One of the keys to success will be building out a dealer network to have the geographical reach and proper distribution channels to reach all the customer segments they are targeting.  Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com