Road Use Regulations Roundup – September 2013

Some trends in this latest regulation roundup:

  • Municipalities are passing ordinances that not only allow LSVs but a range of utility vehicles including UTVs, ATVs and mini-trucks on public roads. The ordinances for mini trucks, which operate at higher speeds, may be the beginning of a backdoor approach to more medium speed vehicle ordinances at the local level.
  • There appears to be less concerns being raised about safety issues of the vehicles in mixed traffic.
  • Ordinances governing LSV parking were common this roundup.
  • There appeared to be less road use regulatory activity at both the state and municipal level so far in 2013.

State Level Regulations

Florida – A new golf car law went into effect that allows for the conversion of faster golf cars – or similar low-speed vehicles – to even lower-speed cars, saving golf car owners registration and insurance fees. A one-time $40 fee is charged.

Minnesota – A bill that would allow operation of mini trucks on local roads as passenger automobiles has been introduced in the House and Senate.

Municipal Level Regulations

Garden City, KS – The Garden City Commission drafted an ordinance which would allow micro utility vehicles (UTVs) to be operated within the city limits. The vehicles will be subject to state safety requirements such as roll cages, head and tail lights, turn signals and seat belts and will only be allowed to be operated by legally licensed drivers.

Britt, IA – The City Council is considering an ordinance to allow low speed vehicles on Main Avenue where they currently are not allowed. Some council members are concerned about safety and creating an opening for golf car use on the street.

Nederland, CO – An ordinance allowing electric golf carts was discussed.

San Antonio, TX – City Council has approved an ordinance that allows owners of NEVs to operate their vehicles on city streets with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less. Several accidents in 2006 resulted in the vehicles being banned.

Powell River, British Columbia – The Council considered a low speed vehicle ordinance. A number of cities in the province have passed similar ordinances.

Baton Rouge, LA – The city is discussing the regulation of LSV taxis. The Taxi Control Board wants them to be regulated similar to other taxis.

Medford, MN – The Medford City Council is considering an ordinance to allow residents to use golf cars, all-terrain vehicles and mini trucks on city roads. The vehicles will need to be permitted, meet certain equipment requirements and operate on the streets only during specified hours.

North Wildwood, NJ – The City Council approved up to  20 designated parking spaces for LSVs. These spaces will be clearly marked and only low-speed vehicles may park in these spots.

Jascksonville Beach, FL – Council takes comments from the public on low speed vehicle parking in the city.

Santa Monica, CA – The city is trying to clarify free parking rules for electric vehicles that are tied to state issued zero emission stickers. The state rules governing the stickers narrowed the definition of eligible vehicles in such a way as to exclude LSVs, which previously had been included.

Yamaha Offers Prepaid Maintenance Program

Yamaha’s prepaid maintenance program is available for a range of vehicles including the Viking utility vehicle

Yamaha recently announced a prepaid maintenance program for motorcycles, scooters, UTVs and ATVs. The Y.E.S. Maintenance product will be available on new purchases and the cost can be folded into the financing for the vehicle. Yamaha claims that customers can save up to 30% compared to pay as you go maintenance. The program uses the maintenance schedule as laid out in the vehicle manual and can be purchased as a 4 year or 6 year plan. Owners will be sent maintenance reminders by Yamaha. While the program is designed to be a profit source for dealers, Yamaha corporate states that the long term win is a better relationship between dealers and customers as dealers have more frequent contact with the customer. Learn more:

Comment:  While I believe the larger target market is for motorcycles, non-powersports dealers in the STOV market might be able to learn from a program such as this. You frequently hear complaints from golf car and LSV dealers that customers don’t know how to take care of their batteries and could get more life out of their batteries if they did. This can also lead to a negative impression of electric powered vehicles if the battery packs have to be replaced sooner than the customer expects. A prepaid maintenance program for these vehicles could lead to more profit, more customer contact and better vehicle performance.

Consumers Switching From ATVs To UTVs In Australia

Similar to the US market, a story out of Australia indicates that UTVs are displacing ATVs. The switch started occurring over the last four years or to five years and is expected to continue. The main reasons for the switch are safety and the ease in which users, especially older users, can get into and out of utility vehicles compared to getting onto and off an ATV. Safety is important for larger corporations and government entities supplying vehicles to workers. One dealer noted that in more rural areas and for smaller private operations ATVs are still holding their own. Learn more:

Comment:  This is not surprising to hear since the end user applications for STOVs have many similarities across the world, and market forces can be the same as well. UTVs can be more versatile with their cargo and seating capacity. UTVs also offer more safety features. ATVs offer a significantly lower cost and are better for narrow trails and work environments with limited space for maneuvering.  UTVs are likely to continue to take market share from ATVs but there will always be a demand for these vehicles that are more affordable and can perform very well in specific applications that don’t require all the functionality of a UTV.

A story out of Texas talks about the versatility of UTVs and their growing use over the last ten years. The ability to hunt, work and trail ride with a UTV makes them a year round multi-use vehicle. The safety features of the UTVs and the additional skill to use an ATV is also noted.  Learn more:

IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay Is Now A Garia Ambassador

IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay with his high-end race car and high-end golf car from Garia

While at first glance the juxtaposition of a high speed IndyCar champion with a Garia street-legal low speed vehicle might seem funny, the pairing of a race car driver and a high-end golf car is more common then you think. A golf car dealer I know has in fact built a number of customized golf cars for some of the top NASCAR drivers and owners. These are highly customized vehicles that are often made to match the driver’s traveling coach and are taken along as they travel from race to race. They are quite handy for traveling around the racetrack grounds. They also involve quite a bit of engineering since they are a little faster than your typical golf car. Add in the bling and custom paint jobs and you are talking about a $20,000 to $30,000 vehicle or more.

The press release from Garia follows:


Garia, the manufacturer of the ultimate luxury golf and leisure car is pleased to announce a new exciting partnership with IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Ryan Hunter-Reay is the reigning IndyCar Champion and the most successful American currently competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series with more than three times as many wins as all the other current American drivers combined. Ryan is the recipient of the 2013 ESPY for best driver.  Ryan is also the only driver to have earned wins in IndyCar, CART, ChampCar, ALMS and GrandAm.

With Garia’s unique combination of craftsmanship, passion and performance the Ambassadorship is a perfect match. Ryan Hunter-Reay is dedicated to his sport and has a unique winning mentality. He is an expert in car performance and knows the importance of excellent craftsmanship and functionality, however he is also a family man.

Garia has built a four-seater street legal LSV for Ryan Hunter-Reay, with customized Garia Mansory accessories such as super-car inspired steering wheel, dashboard and side mirrors handcrafted in carbon fiber.

“This street legal Garia is the ideal leisure car for me and my family’s active lifestyle. The quality, driving performance and braking system gives me and my family a feeling of safety, especially when we have our baby boy on board. We love the design of the Garia and its amazing carbon fiber accessories!” said Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Ryan will be bringing his Garia with him on the racing tour enabling it to function as his primary transportation when not in the race car. The street legal ability of the Garia allows it to not only be driven inside the race circuit, but also taken outside and driven on public roads. Ryan has added a custom Hydra-Lift to his motorcoach which will transport the Garia to the various race events from Florida to California and points in-between.

“Garia’s marketing strategy has focus on golf and leisure. Last year we introduced the world-famous golfer Paula Creamer as our brand ambassador. Today we are very proud to introduce IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay to our brand ambassador family. We feel the four-seater street legal LSV truly complements Ryan’s active lifestyle. We have many shared values such as dedication to craftsmanship, performance and the passion for the joy of driving a high quality car. We are confident the Garia will suit his needs” said Anders Lynge, designer of the Garia.

The Garia is created in collaboration with golf professionals and is designed, engineered and built in Europe. The Garia design team has been uncompromising in its efforts to create the best golf car in the world. Luxury features on the Garia include a built-in refrigerator, extra comfortable sport seat and 12” alloy wheels. With the Garia Mansory Accessory Program, it is possible to customize the luxury golf and leisure car into the vehicle you always only dreamt of. The Garia is available in various models, including street legal, two- and four-seater versions as well as a roadster.

Explore more

Press images of Ryan Hunter-Reay and his Garia, please contact

More information about this new partnership

More information about Garia

More information about our recent model

Follow Ryan Hunter-Reay on Twitter: @ryanhunterreay

Follow Garia on Twitter: @gariagolfcar

BRP Earnings Call Highlights – FY 2014 Q2

The Can Am Maverick Side-by-Side helped drive quarterly sales growth for BRP

BRP, manufacturer of Can Am side-by-sides and other products recently reported its financial results for the three and six-month periods ended July 31, 2013. What follows are some of the highlights with a focus on utility vehicles.

  • Revenues excluding sport boat figures increased to $620.9 CAN compared to $583.1 for the same quarter last year
  • Revenue for the quarter are up 6.5% in year over year comparison excluding sport boat sales.
  • Growth, in part, was driven by sales of the Maverick side-by-side
  • International sales up 14% with the off road vehicle segment which includes ATVs and side-by-sides up 35%
  • Solid performance for side-by-sides in Europe, Australia and Latin America.
  • 35 to 40 new dealers in North America this year
  • North America side-by-side industry grew mid double digit with BRP growing more than 30% in the 2013 season ending june 30 with a particularly strong 2nd quarter
  • 50% growth in ORV parts and accessories with good growth in Maverick parts and accessories sales
  • White Mavericks proved more popular than yellow Mavericks resulting in a change in production
  • Just started shipping the Maverick 4 seater which has received good comments and strong orders from dealers
  • Of all their products which includes the Spyder, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, ATVs and side-by-sides the side-by-sides stand out as a strong driver with an overall market that is outpacing the other product categories
  • Management remarked that although there have been a number of new product introductions in the UTV market, nothing is a game-changer and they believe their products are very competitive



Trojan Battery Expands Distribution in South Korea for the Golf Car Market

The Trojan T105 battery is popular in the golf car market.

Trojan Battery Company, the world’s leading manufacturer of deep-cycle batteries, today announced TAIJIN Instrument & Electric Co., Ltd. will distribute Trojan’s deep-cycle batteries in South Korea. TAIJIN will sell and service Trojan products for the golf car market in the region. Trojan estimates that there are 400 golf courses in the country.

TAIJIN is a leading supplier for the region’s golf industry and will offer Trojan’s broad line of deep-cycle flooded, AGM and gel batteries. The company will maintain an extensive stock of Trojan battery models to ensure product availability to meet immediate customer needs.

Learn more:

Kawasaki Introduces Three New Teryx Models for 2014

New 2014 Teryx base model from Kawasaki

New 2014 Teryx LE from Kawasaki

New 2014 Teryx Camo from Kawasaki

Kawasaki recently introduced three new Teryx models for 2014. The new models feature more power, more room, a larger chassis, upgraded suspension and a new CVT clutch. Some of the key features for the two seater models include:

  • 783cc V-twin engine with 26% more horsepower over the previous version
  • CVT with changes to reduce belt wear and increase reliability
  • New Double X chassis to reduce flex and improve handling
  • 8 inches of travel in the front and 8.3 inches in the back
  • Electronic power steering
The base Teryx starts at $12,999.  The Teryx Camo and Teryx LE are two special models with some additional features. The Camo has upgraded LED headlights, a roof and premium Real Tree APG HD camouflaged bodywork. The LE gets the same LED lighting and roof, but adds some bling with Premium Candy Lime Green automotive quality paint on the bodywork, suspension arms and shock springs as well as matching three-tone bucket seat covers. In addition, the LE gets a tubular steel brush guard and lightweight aluminum wheels.  The Camo starts at $14,299 and the LE at $14,999.  Learn more:


How to Buy Used UTVs

UK dealer Murray Boss gives some pointers on buying a used UTV
Credit: Farmers Guardian

I came across an article out of the UK about how to approach buying a used UTV.  Not only is the article informative but it gives me a chance to make a few comments about the used UTV market.

In talks with dealers for our various research projects, most have told us that they do not sell a lot of used UTVs. One reason is that trade-ins are not that common. There is a good chance that the buyer has really worked their current UTV very hard and there is not much value left in it, if at all. In addition a lot of used UTVs are sold directly between private owners, bypassing the dealer channel. The UTV market has also seen a large number of first-time buyers in the last few years as ATV owners switch to UTVs and entirely new customers discover the advantages of UTVs, so they have no UTVs to trade-in.

It is likely in the coming years that the used UTV market will grow. The strong growth in the market over the last few years has built a large existing population of UTVs in the market. As that population grows the number of used UTVs available is likely to grow which brings us back to the article.

The heavy workload that many UTVs experience means buyer beware and knowledgeable about what to look for when buying a second hand vehicle. The article is worth a read if you are in the market for a used UTV and offers quite a few pointers on how to evaluate a vehicle and identify any potential problems. Some of these include:

  • Looking at tire wear for clues about the suspension
  • Using vehicle hours and miles to gauge how the vehicle was used
  • Considering the simplicity of the vehicle design in the context carrying out repairs

Learn more:

Polaris Starts Construction on First European Factory

In August Polaris started construction on it’s first European factory located in Opole, Poland within the Wałbrzych Economic Zone Invest-Park. The factory will produce ATVs and UTVs for the European market and is expected to be completed in February, 2014. The facility will include approximately 200,000 square feet of production space, 37,000 square feet of warehouse space and another 42,000 square feet for administrative offices. Learn more:

ARPA-E Funding More EV Battery Research

ARPA-E RANGE program $36 million into more EV battery technology projects.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) will award approximately $36 million to 22 projects to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs. While the research is predominantly targeting highway capable vehicles, any significant advancements in battery performance and/or cost reduction will work its way down to the STOV market eventually. There are already lithium battery pack options available for some STOVs with more expected to hit the market in the next one to two years. Any trickle down technology will likely impact niche markets or particular applications that require better battery performance first. For example, an organization with “green” or sustainability mandates may be willing to pay the price premium for new better performing battery packs.

The projects being funded cover a range of battery technologies including lithium, lead acid, zinc-air, metal hydride and flow batteries. Some of the projects focus on integrating the batteries into the structure of the vehicle itself and/or changing the placement of batteries to increase battery safety in the event of a collision. Others focus on developing solid state lithium battery technology that is non-flammable and safer.  Learn more: