Another Large Ranger Recall From Polaris

2015 Polaris Ranger Crew 900 Sage Green

The 2015 Ranger Crew 900 Sage Green is part of another large Polaris recall.

Polaris 2015 Ranger XP 900 EPS Hunter Deluxe Edition

The Ranger XP 900 EPS Hunter Deluxe Edition is included as well.

Polaris 2015 Ranger 900 XP Solar Red

The wide-ranging recall includes all model year 2015 Polaris Ranger XP 900, XP 900 EPS, and CREW 900 like the Ranger 900 XP Solar Red.

Despite extensive efforts to address recall problems, Polaris announced another large recall of Ranger vehicles. Approximately 51,000 model year 2015 Ranger XP 900 and Ranger Crew utility vehicles are being recalled because “…the heat shield can fall off the vehicle, posing fire and burn hazards…”. The recall also includes about 1,500 2017 Sportsman ATVs that have been sold. Vehicle owners should stop using the vehicles and contact their local dealer for a free repair. (Full recall details follow at the end of the post.)

One question with all these recall is what impact are they having on the company’s sales. Management has reported losing market share in recent quarterly earnings calls, and a chunk of that is likely to Can-Am, which has had successful introductions of their Maverick X3 models in the sport segment and their Defender models targeting the more utility/work oriented segment. The recalls have been so large and persistent and stretching over such a long period of time that one would have to assume some damage to the Polaris brand, even though Polaris management appears to be reacting relatively quickly to the overall recall issue. Management reports making high level personnel hires, bringing in other personnel with specific engineering expertise, developing new processes and spending significant financial resources to address the issue. This latest recall came as a result of their new process to more quickly track post-sales issues.

Besides affecting the brand and sales directly, these recalls may indicate a more deep-seated problem with the company’s product development process. Some of these recalls are the result of underlying engineering and design issues. How did these issues survive their product development process? Addressing this issue is arguably the most critical.

One of Polaris’ advantages on their way to a dominant position in the off-road vehicle market has been their ability to quickly and regularly produce new vehicle models. What CEO Scott Wine likes to refer to as their “armada” of vehicles provides Polaris with an extensive lineup of vehicles to cover a wide range of market sub-segments, end-use applications and price points. This has enabled Polaris to better meet specific customer needs with more tailored vehicles than their competitors.

The ability to innovate and quickly bring new vehicles to market is even more important now as competition in the side-by-side market has elevated in the past 2-3 years. A host of OEMs are now producing more vehicles, more quickly and attacking a wider range of market sub-segments. This translates into greater head-to-head feature and pricing competition between individual vehicle models. If a weakness is revealed in a product lineup then it needs to be quickly remedied with a new model or variation of an existing model or that OEM risks losing sales on an ongoing basis. Therefore, the vehicle product development process is critical to success and Polaris will need to fix any underlying problems in their process.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

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

Recall Details

Units:  About 51,000

Description: This recall involves all model year 2015 Polaris Ranger XP 900, XP 900 EPS, and CREW 900 recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs). The recalled ROVs were sold in a variety of colors and have either three or six seats and a rear box. “Ranger” is printed on the rear box, and “900” is printed on the hood of the ROVs. All 2015 Ranger 900 models and vehicle identification numbers (VINs) are included in this recall. The VIN is printed on the frame on the driver’s side towards the rear of the vehicle. To check for recalled vehicles by VIN, visit www.polaris.com.

Model Year Model Number Model
2015 R15RTA87AA RANGER 900 XP SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RTA87AR RANGER 900 XP SOLAR RED
2015 R15RTA87AC RANGER XP 900 POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
2015 R15RTE87AA RANGER XP 900 EPS SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RTE87AR RANGER XP 900 EPS SOLAR RED
2015 R15RUA87AA RANGER CREW 900 SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RUA87AR RANGER CREW 900 SOLAR RED
2015 R15RUY87AA RANGER CREW 900-6 SAGE GREEN
2015 R15RTE87AK RANGER XP 900 EPS BLACK PEARL
2015

2015

R15RTE87AM RANGER XP 900 EPS SUPER STEEL GRAY
2015 R15RTE87AS RANGER XP 900 EPS SUNSET RED
2015 R15RTE87AW RANGER XP 900 EPS WHITE LIGHTNING
2015 R15RTE87AX RANGER XP 900 EPS SANDSTONE METALLIC
2015 R15RTE87AZ RANGER XP 900 EPS SUNSET RED SILVER
2015 R15RTE87AB RANGER XP 900 EPS HUNTER EDITION
2015 R15RUE87AC RANGER CREW 900 EPS POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
2015 R15RUE87AM RANGER CREW 900 EPS SUPER STEEL GRAY
2015 R15RUE87AS RANGER CREW 900 EPS SUNSET RED
2015 R15RUE87AW RANGER CREW 900 EPS WHITE LIGHTNING
2015 R15RUZ87AC RANGER CREW 900-6 EPS POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO
2015 R15RUZ87AS RANGER CREW 900-6 EPS SUNSET RED
2015 R15RUZ87AW RANGER CREW 900-6 EPS WHITE LIGHTNING
2015 R15RTE87AV RANGER XP 900 EPS VOGUE SILVER DELUXE
2015 R15RTE87A5 RANGER XP 900 EPS HUNTER DELUXE EDITION
2015 R15RTE87A2 RANGER XP 900 EPS NORTHSTAR DELUXE EDITION

Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received 13 incident reports involving the recalled ROVs, including five reports of fires. No injuries have been reported.

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

Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from April 2014 through March 2017 for between $13,400 and $21,300.

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

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

Manufactured In:  U.S. and Mexico

Learn more:  CPSC.gov

John Deere Recalls Gator XUV590i Models

John deere XUV590i

The John Deere Gator XUV590i S4 is being recalled because of an issue with the throttle cable.

The four-passenger Gator XUV590i S4 is being recalled as well.

John Deere has announced a recall of approximately 8,500 Gator XUV590i and XUV590i S4 models sold between January 2016 and March 2017. The recall is being initiated because “…the dust boot on the throttle cable can come loose, resulting in the vehicle not slowing down or stopping, posing a crash hazard.” To date there have been no reports of injuries related to the issue.

This is a fairly large recall compared to many of the UTV recalls, which typically number a few thousand or less. It also represents a significant amount of the UTVs that John Deere sells annually as the XUV or crossover Gators have been an important part of their product line in recent years. According to the recall information, there were only two reports, so John Deere appears to have tracked this issue down and initiated a recall fairly quickly. The following is information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recall Details

Hazard: The dust boot on the throttle cable can come loose, resulting in the vehicle not slowing down or stopping, posing a crash hazard.

Units:  About 8,500
                                                                                                                        Description: This recall involves John Deere Gator™ Utility Vehicles with model number XUV590i or XUV590i S4 printed on the hood and the “John Deere” and “Gator” brand names printed on the cargo box. The serial number, located on the frame on the rear of the machine above the hitch, begins with 1M0590 and fall within the ranges on the chart below. The recalled utility vehicles come in several colors and have four-wheel suspension with side-by-side seating for two or four people depending on model.
                                                                                                                                           Model                                      Serial Number Range
XUV590i                                   1M0590T+++M010001 – 20742
XUV590i S4                              1M0590F+++M010001 – 20277
                                                                                                                    Incidents/Injuries:  John Deere has received two reports of the dust boot on the throttle cable coming loose. No reports of injuries.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled utility vehicles and contact a John Deere dealer for a free repair. John Deere is contacting all registered owners of the recalled vehicles directly.

Sold At:  John Deere dealers nationwide from January 2016 through March 2017 for between $10,000 and $12,900.
                                                                                                                        Manufacturer(s):  Deere & Company of Moline, Ill.
                                                                                                                          Manufactured In:  United States
Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Bad Boy Off Road Rebranded Textron Off Road

Vehicles like the gas powered Stampede 900 will now be sold under the Textron Off Road brand instead of Bad Boy Off Road.

Textron Specialized Vehicles recently announced the rebranding of their Bad Boy Off Road brand of vehicles to Textron Off Road. The rebranding is designed to take advantage of Textron’s association with strong engineering and manufacturing through their long established brands in aerospace, defense and automotive such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Lycoming and Cushman.

The Textron Off Road brand of side-by-sides currently features the gas powered Stampede and Stampede XTR, the all-electric Recoil, Recoil iS and Recoil iS Crew and the hybrid Ambush iS.

“We are changing our brand from Bad Boy Off Road to Textron Off Road to better reflect the detailed design, precision engineering, manufacturing expertise and high performance for which Textron is known, across a number of major industries,” said John Collins, vice president, consumer for Textron Specialized Vehicles. “Our new name is more indicative of the level of performance, quality and innovation that we build into our side-by-sides, and demonstrates how serious Textron is about its future in the powersports market.”

The rebranding makes sense for Textron for a number of reasons. The Bad Boy name is fairly well known in the hunting segment of the utility vehicle market, but this is more of a niche market, and before being acquired in 2010 by Textron there were some quality issues associated with the brand. In 2016 Textron rebranded Bad Boy Buggies to Bad Boy Off Road so there has not been a lot of time to build brand value, and thus not as much to lose in rebranding at this time. While the Textron brand may not be as well known in the utility vehicle market, the company’s collection of more well known manufacturing brands generates higher brand awareness in general. In addition, utility vehicles from Cushman and E-Z-GO fall under the Textron umbrella and certainly are known in commercial UTV segments and, by association, Textron has some awareness there as well.

A bigger question than whether rebranding is good for business, is how the Textron Off Road product lines integrate with recently acquired Arctic Cat products. While their distribution networks are more likely complimentary than duplicative, the question is how their individual vehicles fit together. Textron Off Road’s electric UTVs are a nice compliment to Arctic Cat’s gas powered vehicles, but how does their Stampede line of UTVs fit with Arctic Cat’s Prowler, HDX and Wild Cat vehicles.

If you look at a comparison between the Stampede 900 EPS, Arctic Cat HDX 700 XT EPS and the Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XT EPS, they have similar price points and features and specifications. One could imagine the Stampede line could be turned into more of a value-oriented brand with lower price points. Value UTVs have become a competitive segment of the market as better quality imported brands and lower priced offerings from established brands target value consumers. However, Stampede’s initial marketing campaigns have been aiming higher than value-oriented customers. Another option might be to target specific market sub-segments, perhaps, in conjunction with geographic targeting based on the Stampede’s distribution network. The greater the differentiation between the various Textron brands, the better chance Textron has of convincing dealers to carry several Textron UTV brands, and of leveraging the distribution channels of their different brands.

Vehicles under the Textron Off Road brand will be available in April, 2017.  Learn more:  Textron.com

Another Polaris Recall: RZR, RZR Turbo & GENERAL Vehicles

The model year 2017 is the General 1000 EPS Hunter Edition in Polaris Pursuit Camo is one of the vehicles involved in the recall.

Polaris announced a recall of model year 2016 and 2017 RZR 900, 1000, Turbo and GENERAL 1000 utility vehicles. The recall involves approximately 13,500 vehicles. According to the notice, “The vehicle engine can misfire and the temperatures of the exhaust and nearby components can get too hot and cause the components to melt, and/or a contaminated brake master cylinder may cause unintended brake drag, posing burn and fire hazards.”

Relative to more recent Polaris recalls this one is not that large, but compared to more typical recalls in the industry that involve a few thousand vehicles, this is a large recall. The recall does include RZR 900, 1000 and RZR Turbo models that have previously been recalled. The GENERAL 1000 being involved in a recall is a new development.

Based on recent quarterly earnings calls with Wall Street analysts, the management has put a lot of money and manpower into fixing the underlying product development issues that lead to their recent massive RZR and Ranger recalls. The origin of the issues for this latest recall probably pre-date these efforts, but management is likely disappointed with this development as they have been trying to put these recalls behind them and repair damage to the Polaris brand. A recent report from BMO Capital Markets states that the recall is considered a ‘non-event’ by dealers who are having strong start to the year and think the recall will only have a ‘minimal impact’.

The following information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recall Details

Units:  About 13,500 (The RZR Turbo and RZR 900 and 1000 have previously been recalled.)

Description:  This recall involves model year 2016 and 2017 RZR 900, 1000, Turbo and GENERAL 1000 recreational off-road vehicles (ROVs). “Polaris” is printed on the front grill and “RZR” or “GENERAL” is printed on the side of the rear cargo area. The ROVs were sold in various colors. Visit the CPSC website see a complete list of the models involve.

Incidents/Injuries:  Polaris has received 14 reports of vehicles catching fire related to the brake master cylinder and one report of fire and two reports of melting vehicle components related to an engine misfire. No injuries have been reported.

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris for a free repair. Polaris is contacting all known purchasers directly, and consumers can check their VIN on the Polaris website.

Sold At:  Polaris dealers nationwide from August 2015 through February 2017 for between $12,800 and $24,000.

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

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

Manufactured In:  Mexico and U.S.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Cub Cadet Expands Challenger UTV Line

The new Cub Cadet Challenger 750 utility vehicle

The new Cub Cadet Challenger 750 utility vehicle

Cub Cadet Challenger 550

The new Cub Cadet Challenger 550 utility vehicle

Cub Cadet has launched the Challenger 550 and Challenger 750 utility vehicles as they continue to expand the Challenger product line, which already includes the 400, 400 LX, 500, 700 and 750 Crew. The new models continue Cub Cadet’s theme of providing a value oriented offering with a solid set of standard features.

The Challenger 550/750 comes standard with what is essentially a partially enclosed cab with high-sided sealed doors, standard roof and sealed ROPS. Optional upper doors and a rear window are available to create a completely weather-sealed cab. The interior cab design features interior and exterior door handles, a tilting steering wheel, open storage, closed glove box and premium sculpted seats.

The new models are designed for customization with a front accessory mounting panel above the windshield and a rear mounting rack. The cargo bed has integrated attachment points or “T” slots for purpose built accessories. The vertical slots accept standard ¾-inch plywood for partitions and slots on top of the side rails to accommodate standard 1 x 3-inch furring strips.

“Customization of utility vehicles is extremely important according to the customers we continually talk with,” said Tom Mielke, UV Product Marketing Manager, Cub Cadet. “We’ve designed the Challenger Series with exclusive features that give owners the power to customize their utility vehicle for the challenges they face – at the farm, ranch, off-road or in the woods. These new additions continue to raise the bar on standard features, designed around what people want to do with their UV while also improving style, comfort and convenience.”

A growing list of accessories will be available in 2017 to customize the vehicle including:

  • Upper Doors (Pair)
  • Scratch-Resistant Vented or Folding Polycarbonate Windshields
  • Rear Window
  • Spare Tire Mount
  • Dual 11.5-Inch LED Light Bar Kit
  • Four Cube LED Light Kit
  • Rock Sliders
  • Rear Bumper
  • Front and Rear Turf Tires
  • 72-Inch Snow Blade

Key specs and features for the the Challenger 550 and 750 are as follows:

  • 546cc, 27.5 hp EFI engine (550); 735cc, 35.8 hp EFI engine (750)
  • Top speed 45 mph
  • On-demand 2WD/4WD and automatic CVT
  • Selectable locking front/rear differential
  • 3-way adjustable shocks
  • 12″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ tires
  • 500 lb. capacity dump bed
  • 1,200 lb. towing capacity
  • 3,500 lb. winch
  • Sealed windshield
  • High-sided doors
  • Roof
  • LED headlights
  • Available colors:  Cub Yellow, Blue, Red, Black and Camo
  • MSRP:  Challenger 550 – $9,999; Challenger 750 – $10,999

A quick comparison between the Challenger 750 and 700 shows that the 750 has a more powerful engine, larger capacity cargo box by 150 lbs., improved doors and windshield, LED rather than halogen headlights, slightly more ground clearance and a better drivetrain. The differences between the Challenger 550 and 500 are similar.

The new UTVs are available at local Cub Cadet dealers. Learn more:  Cub Cadet

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Can-Am Adds 2017 Maverick X3 Max Models

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3

Can-Am Maverick X3 X ds

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X ds

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs

2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs

Can-Am recently announced their new four-passenger Maverick X3 Max family of vehicles for model year 2017. The lineup includes the Maverick X3 Max, X3 Max X ds and the X3 Max X rs and continues the company’s plan to launch new side-by-side vehicles every six months. Key specs for the Maverick X3 Max include:

  • 154 hp, Rotax ACE 900cc turbocharged engine with electronic fuel injection and Donaldson high-performance air filter
  • Quick Response System X (QRS-X) CVT
  • Selectable 2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok X auto-locking front differential
  • Dynamic Power Steering
  • 20″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • 4-link Torsional Trailing-arm X rear suspension
  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM Piggyback with QS3 compression adjustment and bottom-out control
  • 13″ of ground clearance
  • Hydraulic brakes with twin-piston calipers
  • 28″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires and 14″ aluminum wheels
  • 64″ width
  • Integrated front bumper
  • HMW skid plate
  • Quarter doors
  • LED headlights and tail lights with unique Can-Am LED signature
  • MSRP:  $24,999
  • Available in White

The Maverick X3 Max X ds has many of the same features with the following differences:

  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM RC2 Piggyback with dual speed compression and rebound adjustments
  • 29″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires
  • 14″ Aluminum beadlock wheels
  • Slightly longer at 164.4″ vs. 162″
  • MSRP:  $27,399
  • Available in Triple Black and Circuit Yellow

The Maverick X3 Max X rs has many of the same features with the following differences:

  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM RC2 Piggyback with bypass, dual speed compression and rebound adjustments in the front
  • FOX 3.0 PODIUM RC2 remote reservoir with bypass, dual speed compression and rebound adjustments in the rear
  • 22″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 14″ of ground clearance
  • 30″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires
  • 14″ Aluminum beadlock wheels
  • 72″ width compared to 64″
  • Slightly more than 100 lbs heavier
  • Full roof
  • MSRP:  $29,099
  • Available in Triple Black and Gold & Can-Am Red

Learn more:  Can-am.brp.com

Arctic Cat Announces 2017 Special Edition Wildcats

Arctic Cat Wildcat Sport SE EPS

Arctic Cat’s new Wildcat Sport SE EPS

Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail SE EPS

Arctic Cat’s new Wildcat Trail SE EPS

Arctic Cat has announced two new special edition Wildcats for the 2017 model year, the Wildcat Sport SE EPS and the Wildcat Trail SE EPS. Special edition features on these models include:

  • Warn 3,000 lb. synthetic rope winch
  • Polycarbonate half windshield
  • Electronic power steering
  • Aluminum rims polished with black inlays
  • Infinitely adjustable tilt steering
  • TEAM Rapid Response clutch
  • Electronic 2WD/4WD front differential lock
  • 2″ receiver
  • Shocks
    • Trail SE EPS:  FOX premium gas-charged shocks
    • Sport SESEPs: King aluminum gas shocks with single-speed adjustment

The Wildcat Sport SE EPS retails for $16,499 and the Wildcat Trail SE EPS for $14,699.

Other key specs for the Wildcat Sport SE EPS include:

  • 700cc, 4-stroke, twin cylinder engine
  • 36 amp alternator
  • Double-A-arm front and rear suspension
  • 12.2″/12.6″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 13″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ Carlisle Trail Pro tires
  • Halogen headlights and LED brake/tail lights
  • Digital instrumentation
  • 300 lb. cargo box
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full doors
  • Matte Black automotive-style paint

Key specs for the Wildcat Trail SE EPS include:

  • 700cc, 4-stroke, twin cylinder engine
  • 36 amp alternator
  • Double-A-arm front and rear suspension
  • 10″/10.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10″ of ground clearance
  • 25″ Carlisle Trail Pro tires
  • Halogen headlights and LED brake/tail lights
  • Digital instrumentation
  • 300 lb. cargo box
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full doors
  • Matte Black automotive-style paint

 

Textron Partners with New Holland on Rustler UTV

New Holland Rustler 850

A partnership between Textron and New Holland bares fruit with the launch of the New Holland Rustler 850.

Textron Specialized Vehicles continues to expand their footprint in the small, task-oriented vehicle market partnering with New Holland to produce the Rustler 850 utility vehicle. New Holland, a leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery, turned to Textron 18 months ago to help them update their Rustler brand of utility vehicles with a new vehicle. The partnership makes sense for both companies. For Textron Specialized Vehicles, the partnership gives them access to New Holland’s well-established distribution channel in the ag market. For New Holland, they can more efficiently use their product development resources by taking advantage of Textron Specialized Vehicle’s expertise in utility vehicles. One challenge for the new vehicle will be the relatively depressed demand in the ag market that has been ongoing for a number of quarters.

The Rustler 850 is based on a Textron chassis but has a number of features and characteristics based on New Holland’s market knowledge and feedback from their dealers. These include:

  • 1,000 lb. capacity cargo bed that can fit a full pallet
  • 1,500 lb. payload capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • 45 mph top speed for more speed than some other farm focused UTVs
  • Front end design that recalls their T6/T7 tractors
  • Trademark New Holland blue color

Other key features include:

  • 62 hp, OHC, EFI engine
  • All-Wheel Drive with automatic locking front differential and selectable locking rear differential
  • Dual A-arm front and rear suspension with performance shocks
  • 9.3″/10.4″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 11.25″ of ground clearance
  • Electronic power steering
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • 26″ Kenda All-Terrain tires
  • ROPS and 3-point seat-belts
  • Front steel brush guard

Current available attachments include a LED light package and winch with a cab with heater, electric dump bed and camo graphics in development. A four-person version is also in the product line plan. The Rustler 850 will be available this spring.

Learn more:  Farmindustrynews.com

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

John Deere Streamlines Gator Production

Marc Cesare,, Smallvehicleresource.com

John Deere's New Four Seat XUV 825i S4

A four seat Gator utilty vehicle from John Deere, the XUV 825i S4

John Deere is close to finishing an expansion of their Horicon Works facility in Wisconsin to consolidate Gator utility operations under one roof. The 388,000 square foot expansion allows the company to add assembly and shipping to production operations at the location. Management expects the move to be completed by March 2017. As part of the expansion, 70 new assembly jobs and 10 salary positions will be added to the existing work force of about 1,000. According to management, “We’ll be able to serve our dealers and customers better, improve the overall quality of the vehicles, and make our operations more efficient.”

While the growth in the UTV market has slowed, investments like this and others from the major players indicate that they continue to expect some market growth. John Deere spent an estimated $35 million on the expansion. The work and commercial utility segment, where the Gator is popular, has been targeted by a number of companies in search of sales growth. Coupled with the lower overall UTV market growth and other factors, this has increased the competition in the UTV market.

Learn more:  Stackyard.com

Textron Acquires Arctic Cat

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Specialized Vehicles will now compete in the recreational side-by-side market with vehicles like the 2017 Wildcat X from Arctic Cat with RG Pro suspension.

Textron is buying Arctic Cat for $247 million. Arctic Cat will become part of Textron’s Specialized Vehicle business and Textron’s management stated that the current manufacturing, distribution and operational facilities will be maintained. Arctic Cat employs about 1,600 people in production and management facilities mostly in Minnesota. Textron management remarked that the acquisition will allow for “…more aggressive investment in product development, dealer networks, marketing and customer service.” For the full fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, Arctic Cat reported a net loss of $9.2 million on net sales of $632.9 million. Sales are roughly split between ATVs/UTVs and snowmobiles. For fiscal year 2017 they were expecting similar sales.

This acquisition by Textron makes them much more of a direct competitor with Polaris. While Polaris has been expanding into more work and transportation related products with acquisitions of GEM, Aixam, Goupil and Taylor-Dunn, which puts it in direct competition with Textron’s Cushman, TUG and E-Z-GO vehicles, Textron has been expanding with their roll-out of the Bad Boy Off-Road brand of UTVs and ATVs. This acquisition significantly adds to the products and markets where they will be competing head to head.

This deal should provide the Arctic Cat brand with a lot more financial muscle to expand their dealer network and develop new products. For Textron there are a number of benefits:

  • In Arctic Cat they acquire a well established brand.
  • They acquire a power sports dealer network which is distinctly different then what they currently have.
  • They expand their reach in the UTV market, not only in terms of sales volume and distribution, but in the pure recreational market segment
  • They add a completely new type of vehicle to their portfolio with snowmobiles
  • They add geographic diversity to their manufacturing facility portfolio

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Bad Boy Off-Road brand. There is some overlap of product lines with Arctic Cat. A quick perusal of the Bad BoyOff-Road dealer network reveals that many or even most of the dealers are golf car related dealers with some power sports dealers. They could continue to develop the brand or fold some of the products into the Arctic Cat brand. Perhaps, lower than expected success of the Bad Boy Off-Road launch was one reason for acquiring Arctic Cat. Why spend a large amount of resources building a new brand in a very crowded market with no guarantee of success when they can acquire a well established brand such as Arctic Cat.

Learn more:  Arctic Cat