Small Vehicle Resource Announces New Market Study on the Small, Task-Oriented Vehicle Market in the US

 New STOV Market Study:  Trends, 2007-2011, Estimates and Forecasts 2012-2116

       New Study Analyzes the Product Base of an $12 Billion STOV Industry


Small Vehicle Resource, LLC (SVR) has published the sixth in a series of market research reports on the small, task-oriented vehicle (STOV) industry. The report covers small vehicle products ranging from golf cars, light transport and portage vehicles built off golf car frames, to heavy duty traditional turf vehicles and off-road utility and recreational vehicles (side-by-sides). The study concentrates on the product side of an estimated $12+ billion industry, including parts and service.


SVR is the successor company to International Market Solutions, LLC with the same principals involved. “SVR,” explains Managing Director, Stephen Metzger, “is an appropriate rebranding of our research efforts, as ‘Small Vehicle Resource’ gives clear view of our focus in the STOV industry.” The Small, Task-Oriented Vehicle Market in the United States, Trends from 2006-2012, Forecasts to 2016 contains analyses and the outlook for:

• The golf car industry–the market for fleet golf cars;

• Privately-owned vehicles–golf cars, upgraded golf cars, low-speed vehicles (LSVs);

• Utility vehicles built on golf car or modified golf car frames;

• Heavy duty utility vehicles, focusing on off-road side-by-side vehicles;

• Non-traditional, or “crossover” competition across industry segments;

• Used vehicles as viable options to new vehicles;

• Technologies that will have an impact on the industry;

• State of the market survey from dealers’ perspective;

• Latest regulations on small vehicles ownership and use.

“Small, task-oriented vehicle or STOV is the generic term we created to describe exactly what these vehicles do,” states Metzger. “They are designed for a relatively narrow range of tasks, such as golf, personal transportation, haulage and other work functions, but for the most part are built off of a few universally applicable body frames and drive trains.” “This sets the stage,” Metzger continues, “for substantial crossover competition, with OEMs moving out of their traditional markets–a trend and development we analyze in detail.”

Major findings in the study are:

  • SVR forecasts new vehicle production for the overall STOV market to grow 18% from estimated 462,000 units in 2012 to approximately 545,000 units in 2016;
  • Excluding the off-road segment which is predominantly ICE, electric power continues to gain significantly in units sold, across all segments of the golf car-type market, that includes golf cars, privately-owned vehicles, and light portage and transport vehicles increasing from 72% in 2007 to a projected 82% in 2016.
  • Recovery from the recession has been spotty with some STOV market sub-segments growing strongly while others continue to struggle.;
  • STOVs continue to be upgraded, adopting automotive features and standards, which are starting to migrate from high-end recreational UTVs into other STOV segments, promoting market growth;
  • Golf cars remain a staple product in both new and used vehicle markets but the fleet market continues to face the challenge of a declining golf course population;
  • The high-end off-road market weathered the recession and slow recovery very well. The promise of profits is increasing segment competition, marked by frequent, feature laden model introductions and new sub-segments like crossover UTVs;
  • Commercial markets are a high growth area for LSVs while the personal transportation market without tax credits offers only low to moderate growth;
  • Schools, municipalities and even some corporate customers are increasingly turning to LSVs to fulfill “green” goals and policies with safety features a strong decision-making factor as well;

*  *  *  *

Further information, including a detailed table of contents, can be obtained by contacting

Stephen Metzger, Managing Director, SVR

(914) 293-7577 or

John Deere Plans Gator Experience Days for UK/Ireland

John Deere dealers in the UK and Ireland will be hosting Gator Experience Days this coming April and in parts of March and May as well. About 50 dealers in total will participate in the events that provide potential customers a chance to test drive a variety of Gator utility vehicles in an off-road setting. Special financing is being offered in conjunction with the promotional events. The new lineup of crossover utility vehicles, the XUV models, will be available for test drives. John Deere has developed a dedicated website for customers to find out more information and register for the events.

Comment:  I just finished conducting some dealer interviews for our new Small, Task-Oriented Vehicle study and these demo days are a pretty effective marketing tool. As a dealer related to me, the best sales pitch can be just getting the customer in the vehicle and have them test it out. This can be particularly effective for first-time purchasers or those who haven’t driven a newer UTV with all the features that are available on today’s models.

Learn more:

Yamaha Powersports Sales Increase in North America in 2012

North American net sales of powersports products were up 3.4 percent to about $555 million in 2012. Sales of golf cars and generators increased in the US, however ATV sales declined. In a recent interview management stated that side-by-side retail sales had increased by 60% for the year. They expect more growth in the future pointing to overall industry recovery from the recession, general consumer enthusiasm for powersports products, improved financing options for consumers and a more stabilized Yamaha dealership network.  Learn more:

Kolpin Powersports Launches New Cab Enclosures for UTVs

Kolpin Powersports Launches New UTV Cabs

The new cab from Kolpin for the Polaris Ranger XP 900. The cabs are offered for a range of popular UTVs.

Kolpin Powersports have launched their new cab enclosure system for UTVs. The new enclosures feature:

  • Doors and windshield with automotive glass
  • 5mm thick polycarbonate door panels, double-hard-coated with a steel understructure
  • Maximum visibility design
  • Components that are computer designed for each UTV model for easy and quick installation, removal or re-installation
  • Windshield of automotive safety glass that tilts outward
  • Sound absorbing, insulated, metal roof
  • Two-stage latch and keyed locking feature on cab doors
  • Optional kit for windshield and wiper kit
  • Optional heater/defroster

Learn more:

Arctic Cat Earnings Call Recap

Here are some of the highlights from Arctic Cat’s most recent earnings call. They focus on the side-by-side part of the business. Their fiscal year ends March 31.

  • ATV sales (includes ATVs and side-by-sides) increased 28% to $69.6 million from $54.4 million for the quarter compared to last year driven by strong Wildcat side-by-side sales. ATV sales increased 40% year to date to $212.2 million from $151.1.
  • North American side-by-side retail sales increased over 35% for the quarter and year-to-date retail sales increased over 50% driven by both our Wildcat Sports side-by-side and Prowler HDX utility vehicle.
  • Recently announced a new 4-seat Wildcat 1000 model and a new high performance 90-plus horsepower Wildcat model. Both of these will begin shipping in the fiscal fourth quarter.
  • Expect the ATV and side-by-side business to grow sales 36% to 41% for the full year driven by shipments of the Wildcat side-by-side models.
  • “Extremely positive” feedback received from dealers on the new Wildcat models. Extra horsepower is good for dune riding.
  • Demo rides for media and customers went “extremely well” for Wildcat X and Wildcat 4
  • Side-by-side market as a whole is up and estimated 10% and 20% for the year.
  • On option and accessory spending:  Maybe spend $300 or $400 on Prowler or but “…you’re seeing customers that will come in and spend over $1000 and $1500 putting on roof, windshield, things of that nature on a Wildcat.
  • The 64.5-inch width of the Wildcat makes it more suitable for out west on dunes and more wide open trails rather than narrower ATV trails in the east.

Learn more:

John Deere Introduces Four Seat Gator XUVs

John Deere's New Four Seat XUV 825i S4

John Deere’s New Four Seat XUV 825i S4

Earlier this month John Deere announced the addition of a four seat model to their XUV line.  The  XUV 825i S4 is a crossover UTV designed to be used for work and recreational riding. There is also a diesel powered version, the XUV 855D S4. An important feature of the vehicle is a convertible rear seat cargo space that offers under seat storage in the four passenger configuration. In the two passenger configuration there is more cargo space and an additional 400 lbs of payload capacity. Other key features include:

  • 50 hp, 812 cc, inline 3-cylinder engine
  • Electronic fuel injection
  • Top-speed of 44 mph
  • Fully locking 4-wheel drive system
  • Fully independent, double wishbone suspension with 8 inches of wheel travel and 11 inches of ground clearance
  • Power steering, with anti-kickback feature
  • 16.4 cubic feet cargo box with a 1,000 pound payload capacity
  • Diesel engine version has a 23 hp, liquid cooled 3-cylinder diesel engine

There are also upgrades for the XUV 825i, 625i and 855D including:

  • New CVT transmission with dynamic downhill engine breaking
  • Seven-gallon fuel tank with digital readout
  • Digital display cluster standard for all the models
  • Optional power steering for the 825i and 855D models.

Comment:  This vehicle introduction continues the trend of four-seat vehicles entering the highly competitive recreational and crossover segment of the market. It started with four seat versions of the Polaris RZR 900 and Arctic Cat’s Wildcat in the pure recreation end of the market. Four seat versions will now be a standard element of product lines moving forward. The ability to carry one or more passengers comfortably is one of the reasons the UTV market is still experiencing customer conversion from the ATV market.

Learn more:

Polaris Introduces Limited Edition RZR S 800 EPS Sunset Red

Polaris Introduces Limited Edition RZR S 800 EPS Sunset Red

Polaris Introduces Limited Edition RZR S 800 EPS Sunset Red

Polaris continues to pump out more limited edition models for their various RZR products. According to their press release Polaris unveiled a new limited edition RZR S 800 EPS Sunset Red which will be available in the following states: AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN, LA, NC, OK and TX. The unit includes the following features and is available for $15,999.
· Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
· Maxxis Bighorn tires on 12″ black Crusher aluminum rims
· Premium FOX Podium X shocks
· Rear Cab Frame Extension
· Sunset Red painted dash, rear panels, and hood
· Color matched front and rear suspension springs
· Custom graphics package
· Under Hood Dry Storage
· Low Profile Bumper and Doors
· Custom cut & sew black, Sunset Red, and white seats with RZR emblem

Honda Launches 4-passenger Pioneer UTV

Honda Pioneer 700-4

Honda’s new Pioneer 700-4 utility vehicle

The 2, 3 and 4 passenger convertible seating configurations of the dump bed in Honda’s Pioneer 700-4 utility vehicle

Honda recently launched their new Pioneer 700-4 utility vehicle which can hold up to four passengers. The most prominent feature of the new model is a convertible rear seating design that allows operators to switch between 2, 3 or 4 passenger configurations. In the two passenger configuration the dump bed can fully tilt. The Pioneer 700-4 provides 1,000 lbs of cargo capacity and 1,500 lbs in towing capacity. Other key features include:

  • 675cc liquid-cooled OHV single-cylinder four-stroke engine
  • Electronic fuel injection
  • Independent double wishbone suspension front and rear with 7.9 inches (front) and 9.1 inches (rear) of travel
  • Automotive transmission with hydraulic torque converter
  • Three drive modes:  2WD, 4WD, and 4WD with front differential lock
  • 10.5 inches of ground clearance
  • New “rugged” styling

The vehicle comes in Red, Olive or Honda’s own Phantom Camo and will be available in the Summer of 2013.

Learn more:

John Deere Recalls 4,700 UTVs

John Deere RSX850i

John Deere recalled some of their RSX850i utility vehicles

John Deere issued another recall for their RSX850i utility vehicle. The recall involves approximately 4,700 vehicles manufactured between May and October of 2012 and includes the RSX850i Base, Sport and Trail model utility vehicles. The reason for the recall is potential leaking from the oil filter which can pose a fire hazard. According to the CPSC, “Pinholes or cracks have been identified in oil filters installed by the engine supplier which were not manufactured to specification.” To date four fires but no injuries have been reported related to the issue.  Vehicles with the following serial numbers are affected:

1M0850TB++M010009 thru 1M0850TB++M010778
1M0850TS++M010001 thru 1M0850TS++M012077
1M0850TT++M010001 thru 1M0850TT++M012867

The vehicles were sold from  August 2012 through January 2013. Owners should stop using the vehicles and schedule a free inspection and repair with their local dealer.  John Deere will be contacting registered owners directly or they can call (800) 537-8233 for more information.

There appears to be some overlap between this recall and a previous one involving a fuel line issue. While the serial number ranges do not match exactly, the manufacturing timeframes are the same and the selling timeframes overlap several months. It is likely there were multiple problems with the same engines.

Learn more:


Polaris Announces More Limited Edition RZR XP 900 Models

In the competitive high-end recreational side-by-side market segment Polaris is introducing two more limited edition RZR XP 900 models. Retailing for $17,799 the models should be available at local dealers in February.


A new Limited Edition RZR XP 900 EPS White-Lightning/Orange Madness-Blue

2013 RZR XP 900 EPS-White Lightning/Orange Madness and Blue

Additional features on the limited edition model include:
• Electronic Power Steering
• White Lightning painted dash and hood
• Custom graphics package
• Custom three-color cut & sew Black, Orange Madness and White seats with RZR emblem
• Color matched painted front and rear suspension springs
• Orange Madness painted control arms, trailing arms and radius rods
• Baja Cross tires on 12-inch Black Crusher aluminum rims


A new Limited Edition RZR XP 900 EPS White-Lightning/Evasive-Green

2013 RZR XP 900 EPS-White Lightning/Evasive Green
Additional features on the limited edition model include:
• Electronic Power Steering
• White Lightning painted dash and hood
• Custom Evasive Green graphics package
• Custom two-color cut & sew Black and Graphite STX seats with RZR emblem
• Maxxis Bighorn tires on 12″ Black Crusher aluminum rims