John Deere Recalls Large Number of Gator Crossover UTVs

Gator XUV utility vehicle

One of the Gator crossover utility vehicles part of a large recall by John Deere.

John Deere announced a large recall of their XUV crossover utility vehicle because of a steering shaft issue. The recall involves approximately 68,300 Gator XUV825, XUV825 S4, XUV855, and XUV855 S4 crossover utility vehicles sold between March 2012 and November 2017. The steering shaft can separate from the steering rack assembly and result in a loss of steering control. Consumers should immediately stop using the vehicle and contact their John Deere dealer for a free repair.

This is one of the largest recalls in the market in the last few years outside of the well publicized Polaris recalls in 2016. Any recall over 10,000 vehicles would be considered large compared to what typically occurs in the market. SVR tracks recent recalls of UTVs, LSVs and golf cars.  Luckily, there have been no reports of injuries and only nine reports of steering control loss.

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

John Deere Recalls Crossover Gator Utility Vehicles Due to Crash Hazard (Recall Alert)

Name of product:  John Deere Crossover Gator™ utility vehicles
Hazard:  The steering shaft can separate from the steering rack assembly and result in a loss of vehicle steering control, posing a crash hazard.
Recall date:  December 21, 2017
Units:  About 68,300
Description:  This recall involves John Deere models XUV825, XUV825 S4, XUV855, and XUV855 S4 Crossover Gator utility vehicles equipped with power steering. The model number and “John Deere” are printed on the side of the vehicle. The serial number begins with 1M0825 or 1M0855 and is located on the passenger side of the frame under the cargo box. The vehicles have seating for two or four passengers.

Remedy:  Consumers should stop using the recalled utility vehicles and contact an authorized John Deere dealer for a free repair. John Deere is contacting purchasers of the recalled utility vehicles directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  John Deere has received nine reports of steering loss. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:  John Deere dealers nationwide from March 2012 through November 2017 for between $13,400 and $16,100.

Manufacturer(s):  Deere & Company, of Moline, Ill.

Manufactured In:  U.S.

Recall number:  18-709
Consumer Contact:  Deere & Company at 800-537-8233 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET or online at www.deere.com and select Product Recall Information on the drop-down menu under Services & Support for more information.

Tata Ace Mini-truck Reaches 2 Million Vehicle Milestone

Tata Motors Tata Ace Mega

The Tata Ace Mega is one variant of the popular mini-truck from Tata Motors.

Tata Motors of India recently announced that the 2 millionth Tata Ace mini-truck had been sold. The company reached the milestone in 12 years. The Tata Ace is popular in India and other Southeast Asia countries where mini-trucks and a host of other small vehicles are used for “last mile” transportation in a spoke and hub system. According to Tata management the company controls 65% of the mini-truck market. Other players in the market include Mahindra with their Jeeto vehicle and Piaggio with their Porter 700.

The Tata Ace platform has grown into over a dozen offerings since being launched in 2005. The Tata Ace family includes brands like Ace, Zip, Mega and Mint for cargo transport and Magic, Mantra and Iris for passenger transport. The vehicles come in a range of engine power, engine type and body configurations to fit a wide spectrum of end-use applications in urban to rural settings. For example they offer the Super Ace Mint with a suction machine for sewage and manhole cleaning and other models are specifically designed for use as food trucks. Small scale transporters and entrepreneurs are the main target customers for these vehicles.

Mini-trucks are not as popular in the United States, in part, because the do not meet safety and emissions regulations for on road use. There are about a dozen states that allow them limited access to roads with a speed restriction typically in the 25 mph to 35 mph range. They are more popular in some farming communities where they have served as a utility vehicle for use off-road or on road moving between fields. To a large degree the UTV has functionally become the US version of the mini-truck.   Learn more: Tatamotors.com

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

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 Recalls Arctic Cat Wildcat UTVs

2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail SE

The 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail SE is being recalled due to a winch issue.

2017 Arctic Cat wildcat Sport SE

The 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport SE is being recalled as well.

Textron Specialized Vehicles recently announced the recall of approximately 300 model year 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail SE and Wildcat Sport SE utility vehicles as well as approximately 3,000 winch accessory kits sold for 2014 to 2017 Wildcat Trail and Wildcat Sport UTVs. The winch solenoid can overheat and pose a fire hazard. Owners should stop using the vehicles and contact Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair. Arctic Cat can be contacted at 800-279-6851 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.arcticcat.com and then click on Product Recall for more information.

This is a small recall but unique in that it is more a recall of the winch accessory than the vehicle themselves as the recalled winches outnumber the recalled vehicles 10 to 1.

The following are the recall details from the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Name of product:  Arctic Cat ROVs with winches

Hazard:  The winch solenoid located under the operator seat can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy:  Repair

Recall date: November 16, 2017

Recall number:  18-037
Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves all 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail SE (Special Edition) and Wildcat Sport SE  ROVs with winch solenoids installed as original equipment and winch accessory kits sold separately for use on 2014 through 2017Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport and Wildcat Trail ROVs.  The ROVs have four wheels, side-by-side seating for two people, and have a black chassis. “Wildcat Trail” or “Wildcat Sport” is printed on each side of the vehicle. In addition, Special Edition ROVs have “SE” printed on each side.

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

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 49 reports of winch solenoid failure, with five resulting in fires. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:  Arctic Cat dealers nationwide from February 2017 through August 2017 for about $17,000 for the ROVs with the winch accessory kits installed. The winch accessory kits were also sold separately from December 2013 through August 2017 for between $200 and $600.

Manufacturer(s):  Arctic Cat Inc., of Thief River Falls, Minn., a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga.

Manufactured In:  United States

Units:  About 300 ROVs and 3,000 winch accessory kits (In addition, 124 were sold in Canada)

Learn more:  CPSC.gov

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

Textron Recalls Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail & Sport UTVs

2014 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail

This 2014 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail is part of the recall.

Textron Specialized Vehicles, which acquired Arctic Cat earlier this year, has announced the recall of model year 2014 to 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail side-by-sides and model year 2015 to 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport side-by-sides. Heat from the vehicle’s exhaust can melt the plastic panels behind the operator and passenger seats and pose a fire hazard. The recall involves approximately 14,100 units in the US, 5,300 in Canada and 100 in Mexico of the two seat side-by-sides. Consumers should stop using the vehicles and contact Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair.

This is a large recall compared to what we usually see in the market, which is typically several thousand and less frequently more than 10,000 vehicles. Textron only recently acquired Arctic Cat and is still integrating the business into their Textron Specialized Vehicles division. They are keeping the Arctic Cat name for the Wildcat products under their newly formed Textron Off Road brand. Management is probably not thrilled with this unanticipated and added expense related to the acquisition.

The following are the recall details from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Name of product:  Arctic Cat recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs)
Hazard:  Heat from the exhaust can melt the plastic panels behind the operator and passenger seat, posing a fire hazard.
Recall date:  October 27, 2017
Recall number:  18-017
Consumer Contact:  Arctic Cat at 800-279-6851 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.arcticcat.com and click on Product Recall for more information.

 

Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves all model year 2014 through 2017 Wildcat Trail and 2015 through 2017 Wildcat Sport models of Arctic Cat ROVs. The recalled vehicles were sold in multiple colors, have four wheels and side-by-side seating for two people. “Wildcat Trail” or “Wildcat Sport” is printed on each side of the vehicle.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair. Arctic Cat is contacting all known purchasers directly. If you need assistance locating an authorized dealer to conduct this repair, contact Arctic Cat.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 444 reports of the plastic panels melting, with five resulting in fires. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:  Arctic Cat dealers nationwide from December 2013 through August 2017 for between $10,500 and $19,500.

Manufacturer(s):  Arctic Cat Inc., of Thief River Falls, Minn., a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga.

Manufactured In:  U.S.

Units:  About 14,100 (In addition, 5,300 were sold in Canada and 100 in Mexico)

Learn more:  CPSC.gov

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

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.

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.