Tata Motors To Launch New Mini-Truck

The Tata Ace mini-truck

The current Tata Ace mini-truck

Tata Motors announced plans to launch a new mini-truck for the Small Commercial Vehicle  (SCV) segment within the next month. The new vehicle will be targeting the segment between Tata’s Ace mini-truck and their Super Ace pickup truck. The SCV segment, which comprises sub-1 tonne payload mini trucks and above 1-tonne payload pick- ups is below the 3.5 tonne (gross vehicle weight) Light Commercial Vehicle segment. The segment has become a competitive segment as more companies have launched vehicles for the market. Tata holds an estimated 48% share of the market.

In India and other countries in the region SCVs are used for the delivery of goods in the last mile of the distribution network. This service need often offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to start their own business as a local shipper. They typically will get financing to purchase a vehicle. Despite a sluggish economy of late the, market segment is expected to grow as penetration in rural areas is low and when compared to other developing countries, India’s use of SCVs is low as well. Learn more:  Thehindu.com

Comment:  The SCV market in India is dominated by Tata and other local or regional manufacturers. It should be noted though that Polaris has started to enter other vehicle segments in India. In the future there could be potential for their GEM line or some of their vehicles from European acquisitions for use in this market. For electric vehicles, the ability of the local electrical grid to provide reliable charging opportunities, could be a significant hurdle though.

Arctic Cat Recalls Prowler 500 HDX UTVs

The 2014 Arctic Cat Prowler 500 HDX is being recalled due to a fuel leak issue.

The 2014 Arctic Cat Prowler 500 HDX is being recalled due to a fuel leak issue.

Arctic Cat has recalled approximately 2,300 model year 2014 Prowler 500 HDX utility vehicles because of a potential fuel leak issue and related fire hazard. No injuries have been reported related to this recall. The vehicles were sold from August 2013 to January 2014. The following information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice.

Recall Details

Product:  Arctic Cat Prowler 500 HDX

Hazard:  Fuel can leak from the fuel fitting at the throttle body of the vehicle, posing a fire hazard.

Units:  About 2,300

Description:  This recall includes Model Year 2014 Arctic Cat Prowler 500 HDX Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV). The two-seat vehicles come in four colors: green, red, vibrant red metallic or emerald green metallic. The vehicles have “Arctic Cat” printed on each side of the hood and on the cargo box tail gate, “500” printed on each side of the front fenders and “HDX” printed on each side of the rear cargo box.

Sold at:  Arctic Cat dealers nationwide from August 2013 to January 2014 for between about $11,000 and $12,400.

Incidents/Injuries:  None reported.

Remedy:  Consumers should stop using the recalled Prowlers immediately and contact an Arctic Cat dealer to schedule a free repair. Arctic Cat is contacting all known owners of the Prowlers directly.

Consumer Contact:  Arctic Cat at (800) 279-6851 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.arcticcat.com and click on Customer Care, then Product Recall and then List of Safety Bulletins for more information.

Learn more:  CPSC.gov

Comment:  This is not a particularly large recall as many UTV recalls typically involve two to three thousand vehicles or less. A search of the CPSC database shows that Arctic Cat hasn’t recalled any other UTVs in at least the last five years.

Polaris Adds Two Diesel Work UTVs To Lineup

The new Polaris Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe with climate controlled cab.

The new Polaris Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe with climate controlled cab.

The new Polaris Ranger Diesel HST with a Yanmar diesel engine and hydrostatic transmission.

The new Polaris Ranger Diesel HST with a Yanmar diesel engine and hydrostatic transmission.

Polaris Industries recently introduced two new diesel powered Ranger work utility vehicles to their product lineup, the Ranger Diesel HST and the Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe. Both vehicles are powered by a 24hp Yanmar diesel engine with engine braking which is paired with a hydrostatic transmission featuring Polaris’ exclusive On-Demand True All-Wheel Drive. The vehicles also include a  treadle pedal and multi-link coil over De Dion rear suspension. The treadle pedal allows for travel in forward to reverse without shifting gears. The Deluxe model comes with a factory-installed cab with climate controls and an electric assist for the dump bed. Both models have a 1,250 lb cargo capacity and 2,000 lb towing capacity along with a 90 amp alternator for better cold weather starting and operating accessories. The models are targeted for the agricultural and rural customer. The vehicles will be available in April with the Ranger Diesel HST starting at $15,199 and the Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe at $20,999.  Learn more:  Polaris.com

 Comment:  Polaris continues to build out their work utility vehicle lineup, targeting different customer segments of the consumer work and commercial portions of the market. While these new Ranger models are primarily aimed at the agricultural and work customer, they could also be used in the construction market or other segments that might use diesel vehicles. The company has been making a particularly strong push into the commercial area over the last several years with their Brutus vehicle partnership with Bobcat, the GEM lineup which is primarily for commercial and institutional use and now these models provide a slightly different flavor. The question in the STOV market often returns to how well the distribution channel matches to the target customer. Since the agricultural segment has historically been served by the powersports dealer to a certain degree this should not be an issue with these models. For other more purely commercial segments where these vehicles could find traction, a more efficient distribution channel may be needed to fully exploit their potential.

John Deere Updates 2014 Gator Utility Vehicles

The 2014 John Deere Gator XUV Line-Up

The 2014 John Deere Gator XUV Line-Up

John Deere has announced updates to their 2014 Gator Utility vehicles which include safety as well as work performance improvements to their XUV line. These updates include:

  • Operator Side Retention (OSR) is now standard on all Operator Protective Structure (OPS) equipped Gator utility vehicles. A net OSR is part of the base configuration for the HPX, XUV heavy-duty (625i, 825i, 855D), and mid-duty (550, 550 S4) models. Stylized poly doors can be ordered in lieu of nets for certain models. The nets allow for easy one-handed operation, provide great visibility and allow for accessible ingress and egress from the utility vehicle. The stylized poly doors feature automotive style handles, color-matched panels, and a 90 degree opening for easy entry and exit.
  • Warn® ProVantage 3,500 or 4,500 lb. winch
  • The heavy-duty line of XUVs features a new digital display with a glow plug indicator light (diesel), a flashing water temperature icon, and a power steering indicator (if equipped). New illuminated dash switches provide better nighttime visibility.
  • An ag management solutions system (AMS) integration kit is available for the heavy-duty models. This kit allows a customer to mount a StarFire receiver and GS display (both sold separately) to the Gator to assist with boundary mapping, flagging field obstacles, and soil sampling.
  • The mid-duty line of XUVs is an improved braking system that delivers 26 percent reduction in brake pedal effort and improved operator feedback.

Learn More:  JohnDeere.com

Comment:  While the high-end recreational vehicle segment gets a lot of attention with a seemingly continuous stream of vehicles with more horsepower and off-road capabilities, manufacturers such as John Deere, Kubota, Club Car, Toro and others are making the work vehicle segment highly competitive as well. A number of new vehicle introductions as well as product line updates have hit the market in the last year, improving vehicle performance and adding capabilities.

Polaris Recalls Approximately 16,000 2013 Ranger 500 UTVs

2013 Polaris Ranger 500 EFI

The 2013 Polaris Ranger 500 EFI being recalled.

The 2013 Polaris Ranger Crew 500 EFI being recalled.

The 2013 Polaris Ranger Crew 500 EFI being recalled.

Polaris Industries has issued a recall for their 2013 Ranger® 500 EFI and Ranger Crew® 500 EFI. The vehicles’ throttle cable can melt on the exhaust pipe and fail to operate properly. This can cause the rider to lose control, posing a crash hazard. There has been one reported incident leading to a minor injury. Owners should not use the vehicle and contact a Polaris dealer to schedule a free inspection and repair. The recall involves approximately 16,550 vehicles sold betweenJune 2012 through February 2014.

The following information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice can be used to identify if your vehicle is being recalled.

This recall involves 2013 Polaris Ranger® 500 EFI and Ranger Crew® 500 EFI recreational off-highway vehicles. Model names are on the right and left side of the hood. “Polaris” is stamped on the front of the vehicles above the front grill and “Polaris Ranger 4x4” is printed on the side of the rear bed box.

The Ranger has a bench seat and a rear cargo box. Ranger model colors are black, camouflage, green, and red. Model numbers for the Ranger are R13RH50AG, R13RH50AH, R13RH50AM and R13RH50AR.

The Ranger Crew has a front and a rear bench seat and a rear cargo box. Model numbers for the Ranger Crew are R13WH50AG, R13WH50AH, R13WH50AR and R13WH50AX. Ranger Crew model colors are camouflage, green, red and tan.

Recalled vehicles have a VIN between 4XA******DE210149 and 4XA******DE791730 stamped on the front lower frame rail of the vehicle on the driver’s side. Not all VINs in the range are included in this recall.

Alternatively you can contact Polaris directly toll-free at (888) 704-5290 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online to check your vehicle’s VIN. To check your VIN go to www.polarisindustries.com and select the Services and Support tab, then click on Help Center, then Common Rider Questions, then Service bulletins/recalls to check your vehicle identification number (VIN). Learn more:  CPSC.gov

Comment:  As UTV recalls go this is a fairly large recall. Using a rough estimate, based on the 21 month time-frame for the sales of the vehicles involved, the recall represents about 3% of the total UTV market for 2013. It could be more or less depending on how sales were distributed across the time period. Many recent UTV recalls have involved fewer than 5,000 vehicles.

Iowa Bill Addresses Changing UTV Market

The House Natural Resources committee passed a bill that changes the definition of “off road utility vehicles” in the Iowa Code. With input from a range of stakeholders, the bill addresses changes in the UTV market as new models with different characteristics and capabilities have out grown the existing UTV definitions in the code. The bill creates three different off-road utility vehicle definitions based on vehicle dry weight and width.

1. Off-road utility vehicle type 1 – an off-road utility vehicle with a dry weight of 1,200 pounds or less and a width of 50 inches or less.

2. Off-road utility vehicle type 2 – an off-road utility vehicle with a dry weight of 2,000 pounds or less and a width of 60 inches or less. This will include the Polaris RANGER, John Deere Gator and Arctic Cat Prowler.

3. Off-road utility vehicle type 3 – an off-road utility vehicle with a dry weight of more than 2,000 pounds or a width of more than 65 inches, or both. This will include the Polaris BRUTUS, Kubota RTV and Bobcat 3600.

The new definitions will allow newer vehicles to be sold and used legally in Iowa.

I followed up with Joel Fry, the Representative who sponsored the bill, about what was the likelihood that the bill would pass and when but I have not heard back from him. Learn more:  OsceoliaIowa.com