John Deere has plans to add new models to their Gator RSX line that targets the recreation/sport side-by-side segment. The current line features three models: the Base, Trail and Sport. The RSX line was specifically developed to appeal to recreational riders and expand John Deere’s presence in the UTV market beyond their traditional work segments. John Deere started the UTV market with their early Gators focusing on work applications and expanded their reach in 2007 with the Gator XUV line which appeals to crossover users that want vehicles for a combination of work and play. The Gator RSX line is a natural progression towards the pure play applications. It is also a higher priced, highly profitable and becoming a highly competitive segment. Management reports that the RSX models have brought in new customers to the brand and is particularly strong in the West Coast market, a major recreational side-by-side market. Learn more: Powersportsbusiness.com
Comment: It’s not surprising to see John Deere expanding the RSX line. This segment of the market is performance and feature driven and highly competitive. Polaris, Arctic Cat and Can-Am are considered the leaders and continuously trying to one-up each other so product development must be relatively fast and ongoing. On the other hand, vehicles in this fast growing segment sell for upwards of $15,000 to $20,000 or more and buyers frequently spend thousands more on accessories and options so there is a lot of profit to be made. I see two challenges for John Deere in this segment. First their brand is associated more with work applications than sport, especially in light of their main competitors that come from a powersports heritage. Second, their distribution network is, not surprisingly, designed to reach customers buying work related vehicles. However, their original RSX line had solid reviews, and with customers using so many online resources to research vehicle purchases, distribution alignment issues can be mitigated to a certain extent.