A recent article highlighted the efficiencies of UTVs in a landscaping environment. Valley Crest Landscape Company owns a fleet of seven UTVs from John Deere, Club Car and Kubota. While they expected savings from initial lower capital costs when switching from pick-ups to UTVs ($6 – 7,000 vs $20,000 for a pickup), they found significant savings in work efficiencies as well. These efficiencies are similar to what we have heard from other users and in other market segments. Some examples provided by the company’s VP of Operations include:
Access to tighter spaces to bring tools and accessories e.g. sprayers right to the location to avoid running hoses
Being able to travel more directly and quickly around a work site.
Faster time to get in and out of vehicles which adds up in a large operation
Versatility so the UTV is used for more tasks and more hours rather than a speciality vehicle that would only get occasional use
The company calculated the time savings of using two UTVs in place of one pickup truck at a large commercial site and found they were saving 25% in time from reduced walking and other efficiencies. This has allowed them to significantly lower cost projections and bids. Learn more: Lawnandlandscape.com
Financial reports for the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. for the first nine months of fiscal year 2012 indicate an increase in golf car sales in the US market. While Yamaha overall reported decreases in revenue and income the US market represented an area of strength across a number of their segments including motorcycles, marine and power products. In the latter, stronger golf car sales offset a decrease in ATV sales. Learn more: Powersportsbusiness.com
Greentech Automotive, maker of the MyCar LSV, had their request for incentives to build a factory rejected by the state of Virginia before receiving help from Mississippi where they opened a plant in Tunica last summer. The rejection, based on the lack of viability of their business plan, is currently of interest because the company chairmanTerry McAuliffe, formerly Chair of the Democratic National Committee, is now a gubernatorial candidate for Virginia. Virginia officials questioned whether the goal of selling 100,000 MyCars was realistic given that the company “… lacked brand recognition, had not demonstrated anything about the vehicle, did not have emissions approval from the EPA, had no distribution network, and had nobody in executive management with experience in automobile manufacturing.” Greentech Automotive is positioning the $10,000 MyCar as an affordable electric vehicle alternative to much higher priced highway speed EVs. Learn more: Torquenews.com
Comment: While LSVs have developed their niche and can be used in a variety of commercial and consumer applications, their sales have never approached the level that MyCar is predicting. Their target of 100,000 would surpass what has cumulatively been sold in the US to date.
Highlighting some of the many applications for small, task-oriented vehicles: Park Maintenance & Emergency Response – Barkcamp State Park in Ohio recently acquired a Polaris UTV for use in the park. The vehicle will primarily be used for park maintenance, trail upkeep and emergency response. The park features hiking, equestrian and snowmobile trails for public use. Funds for the vehicle were provided by the organizers of the Barkcamp Race, a running race and challenge walk event. Learn more: Timesleader.
Comment: This continues to be a strong market segment for UTVs and STOVs in general. Vehicle purchases are often funded by grants or donations from local organizations. However, even if funded by the organizations themselves, STOVs also represent an opportunity for parks to cut costs by replacing pickup trucks with STOVs which are less costly to purchase, cheaper to maintain and have features and functionality that better suit the jobs to be done.
Polaris Industries announced that they have acquired Teton Outfitters, LLC, a privately owned, Rigby, Idaho-based company which designs, develops and distributes KLIM Technical Riding Gear. The company’s 2012 sales are expected to reach 30 million, primarily in North America and from the snowmobile market. KLIM has a presence in the snowmobile, off-road and adventure touring motorcycle markets and a network of 850 dealers. Polaris management expects to leverage KLIM’s design capabilities and strong brand with the global resources, infrastructure and dealer networks of the various Polaris Industries brands to further boost their growing and highly profitable PG&A business. The KLIM CEO will remain with the company which will operate as a stand alone business. Learn more: Seekingalpha.com
Arctic Cat will launch the four seat Wildcat 4 1000 early next year.
Arctic Cat will be launching a 4-seat Wildcat 4 1000 in February 2013. The new model will include a new clutching system from Team Industries and have a MSRP of $19,599. Other changes include a new sway bar paired with PODIUM FOX SHOX and a 29 inch longer frame to accomodate the additional passengers. Additional key features include a 951cc engine, EPS and three metallic paint options: Sunset Orange, Black and Arctic Green. Learn more: Arcticcat.com