Eicher Polaris JV Shut Down

Eicher Polaris Multix

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

Eicher Polaris, the joint venture between Eicher Motors of India and Polaris Industries and the manufacturer of the Multix small, task-oriented vehicle, has been shut down due to poor sales. Eicher reported that initial interest in the Multix was good but could not be sustained over the long term, especially in the rural markets. The Multix was marketed as India’s first personal utility vehicle that could be used to carry passengers or cargo. The vehicle was designed with flexibility in mind from the beginning so that it could be used as a work vehicle, a family vehicle and even a power generator for the home in rural communities.

The joint venture formed in 2012 and the vehicle launched in 2015 after a significant amount of money and resources were put into market research and product development. Management initially expected sales of 10,000 to 12,000 units that would grow to 100,000 units annually. However, the joint venture showed signs of difficulty by early 2017 and management adjusted their marketing strategy and put more resources into the effort including adding more dealers. These efforts targeted the original market, the rural customer, but failed to make inroads. Later in the year, the joint venture steered in a new direction and started targeting urban customers. Apparently this strategy did not produce enough results. Eicher and Polaris spent an estimated $60 million to bring the vehicle to market. For the last full year ending March 31, 2017 the Eicher Polaris JV reported a loss of approximately $14 million. Some people attributed the lack of adoption to conservative attitudes of the rural customer base that may have been unwilling try such a new vehicle concept.  Learn more: Autoindia.com

SVR’s Take:  This must be a disappointment for Polaris. A lot of time, effort and resources were put into the joint venture and the vehicle. If successful, the Multix would have been a nice addition to the Polaris international portfolio of small, task-oriented vehicle lineups like Aixam, Goupil, GEM and Taylor-Dunn. The Multix would have given them a foothold in the large and growing Indian commercial/work vehicle market and served as a potential jumping off point to export to other countries in the region. Polaris is intent on growing international sales and it is hard to believe they would abandon the Indian and Southeast Asia STOV markets altogether. One option may be to acquire an existing manufacturer.

Polaris Introduces The RZR XP Turbo S

Polaris RZR SP Turbo S

The new Polaris RZR XP Turbo S features 32″ tires, 16″ of ground clearance and 168 hp turbo engine.

Polaris RZR SP Turbo S

The RZR XP Turbo S has 25″ of usable front and rear suspension travel.

Polaris introduced their new, top-of-the-line RZR, the 72-inch RZR XP Turbo S. The RZR XP Turbo S was completely “redesigned and reengineered” with a reinforced chassis, stronger axels and other strengthened components. Like other high performance RZRs this model is powered by a 168 hp ProStar turbo H.O. engine. Rather than bump up the horsepower, Polaris beefed up almost every other aspect of the vehicle. The XP Turbo S features 32″ ITP Coyote tires 16″ of ground clearance and 25% more assist in power steering. This model also has the Dynamix Active Suspension system, 19″ or 21″ of wheel travel depending on settings and 25″ of what Polaris refers to as useable travel to the skid plate. The drive system is the new Isolated Xtreme Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD with greater front drive impact strength, improved throttle control and a redesigned clutch box “..for better air flow and decreased belt temperatures.”

Other key specs and features of the RZR XP Turbo S include:

  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • EPS
  • 2.5″/3″ FOX Podium Internal Bypass Shocks with Live Valve
  • Premium Sparco Steering Wheel
  • Bolstered Bucket Seats with 4-point Harness
  • Aluminum Roof
  • Bowed 1/4 Doors
  • Front Blacked Out White LED Low/High w/ Accent Lights & Rear Red LED Tail / Brake / Accent Lights
  • Rear Wired Camera
  • RIDE COMMAND™ 7” Glove-Touch Display with DYNAMIX Visualizer
  • Built-In GPS
  • Bluetooth & USB Smartphone Connectivity
  • GoPro® Control
  • In-Vehicle Communications Capable
  • Ride Command App Integration

The RZR XP Turbo S is available in Indy Red or Polaris Blue and has an MSRP of $27,499. The vehicle will be available at dealers in mid-March.  Learn more:  Polaris.com

SVR’s Take:  After years of manufacturers coming to market with new models with more horsepower the RZR XP Turbo S went in a different direction. They really focused on the ride and suspension as well as the ability of the vehicle to take a beating when powered by such a large engine. This introduction may signal that there are diminishing returns for increasing horsepower and/or that the rest of the vehicle features need to catch up with power of the engine. This could signal a market move towards focusing on durability, handling and creature comforts. How will other manufacturers in the market respond?

Polaris Q4 2017 Earnings

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS helped drive sales for the quarter and the year.

Polaris Industries reported quarterly revenue of $1.431 billion and annual revenue of $5.429 billion, representing increases of 18% and 20% respectively compared to last year. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter increased 25% driven by higher volume, lower promotional spend and operating expense leverage. For the year a 39% increase in earnings per share was driven by a combination of increased volume, an improvement in gross margins and a lower tax rate.

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

  • ORV sales increased 14% in Q4 and 9% for the year
  • Average ORV selling price was up 4% for the quarter
  • ORV retail was up for the year but down for the 4th quarter as retail unit sales of Off-Road Vehicles were down just under 1%
  • Ranger sales were up for the quarter with strong demand for the new Ranger XP 1000 lineup
  • RZR sales declined for the quarter driven by “tapped demand and limited product availability”
  • For the quarter the ramp up of Ranger and RZR production was slower than expected in part attributed to the new quality initiative. This manifested as a production issue with a four-wheel drive component on the Ranger XP 1000, which was originally not up to the company’s quality standard.
  • Continued roll out RFM inventory and ordering system for side-by-sides and should be fully optimized by the second quarter
  • North American industry side-by-side growth was strong in Q4 but ATVs down.
  • Utility side of ORV is expected to grow but there is stiff competition on the RZR side which will not grow as much as competition increases
  • Agriculture markets were down in the fourth quarter and oil markets were up slightly, but there was no “substantial shift” in buying patterns.
  • In the side-by-side market decreased pricing is offset somewhat by decreased promotional costs and there is some commodity pricing pressures
  • Australia was a strong market as buyers switch from ATVs to UTVs
  • Global Adjacent Markets sales increased 19% in the fourth quarter, driven by strong growth in Aixam and Goupil, as well as continued strong sales growth in Government and Defense
  • For the year Global Adjacent Markets revenue reached almost $400 million including PG&A
  • Average selling price for Adjacent Markets increasing 14% for the quarter
  • For the full year Global Adjacent Markets sales increased 16% with all business lines growing
  • In Europe there is strong demand for small, inner-city delivery vehicles including electrics and that demand is increasing in the US as well
  • “More autonomous activities with both the military and Taylor-Dunn platforms than anywhere else in the company”

Guidance for 2018

  • Total company sales are expected to be up in the range of 3% to 5% with ORV market expected to be up
  • ORV market share is expected to be stable with continued momentum from Ranger and General product lines
  • ORV/Snowmobile sales are expected to be up low to mid-single digits with Snow about flat and ORV and PG&A sales up
  • Global Adjacent Markets sales are expected to be up mid single-digit percent with growth expected in all businesses.
  • The new long-term strategic targets for the company as a whole are 5% compounded annual growth rate for revenues and 15% for earnings
  • Management will be focusing on cost leadership more while maintaining innovation

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings Call Transcript)

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS Reviews

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS.

The 2018 Polaris XP 1000 EPS seats three and is powered by a 999cc, 82 hp gas engine with EFI. This model features electronic power steering, High Performance On-Demand AWD/2WD/ VersaTrac Turf Mode, 11″ of front and rear suspension travel, 13″ of ground clearance, a 2,500 lb towing capacity and a 1,000 lb. capacity cargo dump bed with gas assist. This base model is priced at $15,299. Some key improvements over the 2017 model include a stiffer chassis, more suspension travel and ground clearance, increased payload, greater towing capacity, tighter steering system and improved cargo bed.

Polaris also offers what might be called a “premium” EPS model for a $1,000 more with several automotive style paint options as well as aluminum Black Xcelerator 2.0 wheels and cut and sew seats. For a further $200 you can have camo graphics. There is also a Northstar Edition for $23,999 which comes with a complete cab with heating and AC.

The following are summaries from a number of reviews of the 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS. These include reviews from trade magazines as well as user generated content. In general the reviews of this model are positive. Polaris made a number of improvements both large and small from the 2017 model and they were well received. Some of the more common features that reviewers liked included:

  • Improved ingress and egress
  • Large amounts of cab storage including a flip-up seat
  • Built-in electrical buses for easily adding accessories
  • Better low power delivery and smoother power delivery overall
  • Improved cargo bed

www.atv.com – Two days of testing at a hunting property in Louisiana

  • Slightly improved seat entry and egress
  • “Massive” amounts of storage in the cab including fold up passenger seat for more cargo area
  • Cargo bed has more molded in dividers
  • Easy access to engine for maintenance
  • Built-in electrical buses for easily adding accessories such as a winch
  • Quiet cab
  • Smooth power and throttle delivery

www.utvplanet.ca – Test drive in work and trail environment.

  • Great suspension on a variety of terrain at slower speeds and improved over 2017 model at higher speeds with less body roll.
  • Better low end power delivery
  • “This is the most fun Ranger we’ve ever driven.”
  • More comfortable seats with additional padding
  • Cup holders have handle cutouts for mugs
  • Lots of cab storage
  • “Love” the new truck-inspired exterior design
  • Improved handling with tighter steering system and better feel
  • Smooth and controllable power delivery
  • More trail capable with “.. improved control, ride quality and stability of the new, stiffer frame.”

Cycle Works Edmonton – Video walk through of various aspects of the vehicle

  • Pre-built busbars for easy accessory connection
  • Easy access to engine for maintenance
  • Reinforced cargo box
  • Easier cab ingress and egress
  • Lots of cab storage – “Really like” the lower storage area in the dash
  • Easy access and more storage with flip up seats
  • Older accessories except doors will fit on new machines
  • Skid plates and biggest standard bumper in the industry
  • Can switch suspension to outside positioning for heavier weight like cab
  • Tailgate can easily handle weight when sitting and latch system is beefier

User Forum – Actually a Honda forum but discussed the Ranger XP 1000.

  • A number of users noted the increased ground clearance and greater towing and cargo bed capacity
  • Several voiced concerns about reliability in light of all the Polaris recalls
  • A couple of posters wanted doors instead of nets
  • Some noted the improved suspension and improved belts which posters noted as a problem in the past
  • Some posters liked the new design which was compared to that of a Toyota Tundra while others did not like it

Polaris Marketing Video – Marketing video that highlights some of the key features of the Ranger XP 1000 EPS

Dirt Trax Television – In-depth look video presentation. Mostly a presentation by a Polaris employee but a thorough explanation of the many changes made compared to the 2017 model.

Polaris Recall Issues with RZR 900 & 1000 Models Persists

2016 Polaris RZR 900 EPS

The 2016 Polaris RZR 900 EPS is one of a number of previously recalled models still experiencing issues despite being repaired.

Polaris continues to have recall issues related to their RZR 900 and 1000 which were previously recalled. According to a joint statement issued by CPSC and Polaris, some vehicles that had been repaired under the recall are still experiencing fires. In addition 2017 RZRs not included in the recall are experiencing fires as well. The original recall was initiated in April 2016  and covered model year 2013 – 2014 RZR XP 900, 2014 – 2016 RZR XP 1000, 2015 – 2016 RZR 900 & S 900, and 2016 RZR S 1000 vehicles. The recall involved approximately 133,000 vehicles.

Polaris can’t seem to shake their recall issues. According to management they have put additional manpower and resources into addressing the issue in a systematic way to improve product development, quality control and issue tracking. What is not known is if these issues are related to previous systemic problems before new processes and people were put into place or if they show that problems still persists after the changes were made, which would be more worrisome. SVR has been tracking recalls from Polaris and other manufacturers.

The following is the joint statement from the CPSC and Polaris.

12/19/2017 10:54:00 AM
Joint Statement of CPSC and Polaris on Polaris RZR 900 and 1000 Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs)
Minneapolis, MN (December 19, 2017) – The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Polaris are informing the public about fires on model year 2013–2017 Polaris RZR 900 and 1000 Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs). These fires have caused death, serious injuries, and property damage.

Most of these vehicles were voluntarily recalled by Polaris in April 2016 to address fire hazards (https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2016/polaris-recalls-rzr-recreational-off-highway-vehicles-due).

However, users of the vehicles that were repaired as part of the April 2016 recall continue to report fires, including total-loss fires. The 2017 RZRs were not included in the April 2016 recall, but these models have also experienced fires.

The CPSC and Polaris continue to work together to ensure fire risks in these vehicles are addressed. However, at this time, the CPSC and Polaris want to make the public aware of the fires involving these vehicles.

The CPSC advises consumers to report any fire or overheating-related incidents at: www.SaferProducts.gov or the CPSC Hotline at 1-800-638-2772.

Polaris Recalls General UTVs

2016 Polaris General 1000

The 2016 Polaris General 1000 is being recalled.

2017 Polaris General 4 1000

This 4-seat 2017 Polaris General 4 1000 is being recalled as well.

Polaris announced the recall of model year 2016 and 2017 General two and four seat side-by-sides. The steering wheel shaft can shift and detach while in use, resulting in a loss of control and crash hazard. Approximately 19,000 units are involved in the recall. Consumers should stop using the vehicles and contact Polaris for a free repair.

This is another large recall for Polaris and a different mechanical issue as well. In addition, the recall pertains to their General crossover line that has been selling well since its introduction. The previous large recalls were for their Ranger and RZR products. Given the model years involved, these vehicles were likely built before the company instituted new processes and added more people to improve vehicle quality and track safety issues faster. Assuming the changes are effective, another year or two may be needed before the company completely works through any legacy quality issues across their extensive product lineup.

The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Name of product:  Polaris General side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)

Hazard:  The steering wheel shaft can shift and detach while in use, resulting in a loss of control and crash hazard.

Recall date:  October 30, 2017

Recall number:  18-018

Consumer Contact:  Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” for more information. In addition, consumers can check vehicle identification numbers (VIN) on the “Product Safety Recalls” page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls.

Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves model year 2016 and 2017 Polaris General 2- and 4-seat side-by-side recreational off-highway vehicles. The vehicles were sold in black, blue, camouflage, orange, red, silver and white and have a cargo box on the back. “Polaris” is printed on the front grill, “GENERAL” is printed on the rear panel and “1000” is printed on the front panel. The VIN is printed on the left rear vehicle frame below the cargo box.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received five reports of the steering shaft separating and one report of a broken hand injury.

Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from December 2015 through September 2015 for between $16,000 and $21,000.

Manufacturer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.

Manufactured In:  U.S. and Mexico

Units:  About 19,000

Polaris Introduces RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition

2018 Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX

The new 2018 RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition from Polaris.

Polaris has introduced their new four passenger RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition, which features the intelligent RZR DYNAMIX Active Suspension that adjusts individual shocks on-the-fly based on near continuous monitoring of key ride inputs. The new model builds out their DYNAMIX lineup introduced earlier this year for model year 2018.

The RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition includes a RIDE COMMAND 7” display with rear camera, and an all-new, 900-watt charging system that improves battery charging and allows for additional accessory electrical loads. The display provides information on the suspension control system including compression dampening, selected mode, g-force, pedal position, steering angle, brake status and diagnostics.

The DYNAMIX system is designed to deliver a high level of ride comfort while still providing a high level of driving performance. The rider chooses from one of three styles of riding and the system makes adjustments within parameters for that riding style. Riders can choose from:

  • Comfort:  Designed for cruising around and eliminating the small chatter.
  • Sport:   Blends performance and comfort for ultimate high-speed handling.
  • Firm:  Cranks all four shocks to max stiffness for the firmest suspension in the industry for the most severe terrain.

Other key features and specs of the RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition include:

  • 168 hp, ProStar Turbocharged 925cc engine with EFI
  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM Live Valve shocks with Bottom-Out Control
  • 16″/18″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • High Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD
  • Electronic power steering with integrated steering angle sensor
  • 13.5″ of ground clearance
  • 64″ wide
  • 29″ Maxxis Bighorn tires on aluminum wheels
  • Bowed 1/4 doors
  • LED headlights and taillights

The RZR XP 4 Turbo DYNAMIX Edition comes in Black Pearl and will be available in dealerships in early December with a $28,499 US MSRP. Learn more:  Polarisindustries.com

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

Polaris Recalls ACE 325 Vehicles

Polaris ACE 325 recall

The 2014 Polaris ACE 325 is part of the recent recall.

Polaris recently announced a recall of approximately 6,300 ACE 325 off-road vehicles. The exhaust header pipe can crack and release hot exhaust gases into the engine compartment, posing fire and burn hazards. The recall involves model year 2014 through 2016 vehicles. Owners should stop using the vehicles and contact Polaris (800-765-2747) to schedule a repair.

This recall continues a string of recall involving Polaris off-road vehicles. Although much smaller than the previous very large recalls from Polaris the past three years it is sizable compared to the more typical recalls in the market. With this recall Polaris has now recalled vehicles across all their side-by-side product lines including RZR, Ranger, General and ACE in the past two to three years.  While management reports implementing stricter quality standards and a more robust system for tracking vehicle issues, there are a large number of older model Polaris vehicles still in use and manufactured under their previous processes. Polaris could be still be facing additional recalls from older models already in the market, and the improved tracking system may also be more likely to bring any issues to light. As difficult as it has been for the company to address the underlying issues, in the long term, the changes should produce safer and better products.

The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Name of product:  Polaris ACE 325 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)
Hazard:  The exhaust header pipe can crack and release hot exhaust gases into the engine compartment, posing fire and burn hazards.
Recall date:  October 17, 2017
Recall number:  18-011

Recall Details

Description:   This recall involves all model year 2014 through 2016 Polaris ACE 325 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). The recalled ROVs have a single seat and were sold in white, green and red. For model year 2014 and 2015 ATVs, “Polaris” is printed on the front grill and “Ace” is printed on the rear panel. For model year 2016 ATVs, “Polaris” is printed on the front grill and “Polaris Ace” is printed on the rear panel. The VIN is printed on the right front frame of the vehicles.


Year Model Description
2014 A14BH33AJ Ace 325 in white
2015 A15DAA32AA Ace 325 in green
2015 A15DAA32AJ Ace 325 in white
2016 A16DAA32A1 Ace 325 in green
2016 A16DAA32A7 Ace 325 in red
Remedy:   Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly.
Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received six reports of cracked exhaust pipes, including two reports of seat damage due to melting. No fires or injuries have been reported.
Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from December 2014 through July 2017 for about $7,500.
Manufacturer(s):  Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.
Manufactured In: U.S.
Units:  About 6,300
Consumer Contact:  Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” for more information. In addition, check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the Product Safety Recalls page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls.

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