Oregon Electric Vehicle Incentives Would Include NEVs

Having established a sizable EV charging infrastructure, Oregon now may provide incentives for purchasing or leasing EVs.

Having established a sizable EV charging infrastructure, Oregon now may provide incentives for purchasing or leasing EVs.

A House bill working its way through the Oregon legislature would provide cash incentives for purchasing a range of alternative vehicles including NEVs. House bill 2092 would provide different levels of incentives for all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles. The incentives would be applied at the time of sale against the down payment or to reduce the amount financed. The incentive levels are as follows:

  • All-electric highway capable vehicle – $3,000
  • Hydrogen powered vehicle – $3,000
  • Plug-in hybrid – $1,500
  • Electric motorcycle – $1,000
  • NEV – $750

This is the first time that Oregon is providing incentives for purchasing electric vehicles. In the past they have encouraged the development of charging infrastructure in the state, which is now one of the best in the country. The incentives are deemed necessary if the state is to meet their zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate that requires 15% of the new-vehicle mix in 2025 to be ZEVs. Learn more: Greencarreports.com

Comment:  Historically incentives have provided a boost to NEVs sales, although they typically have been worth more money. At the $750 level this incentive amounts to about 7.5% of the cost of an NEV. It may be enough of an incentive for someone to already considering purchasing a vehicle to choose an NEV over a new or customized golf car, but may not be enough to encourage a new purchase that wasn’t already being considered.

Golf Cars Finding Success In Thailand

Local media reports that Global Electric Motorcars Asia and others are finding success in Thailand selling electric golf cars (not to be confused with Polaris’ GEM brand). Key market segments are resorts and hotels in the South and universities in the Northeast. The company has three showroom locations with service centers in the country, one in Bangkok and two more in the South with plans to open a third. Used primarily for people transport and golf, the majority of the vehicles in the market are imported. Cost-conscious shoppers tend towards Chinese imports that are exempt from the stiff 40-50% import tax other manufacturers pay. The company is also trying to get NEVs licensed for use on public roads to expand the market. Learn more:  Phuketgazette.net

Columbia ParCar Purchases Tomberlin

The Tomberlin Anvil is one of the more consumer-oriented vehicles Columbia ParCar will be adding to their offerings.

The Anvil is one of the more consumer-oriented vehicles Columbia ParCar will be adding to their portfolio under the Tomberlin brand.

Columbia ParCar Custom Carts, Inc., a Nordic Group company, announced that they are in the process of acquiring the assets of Tomberlin Automotive Group. In a statement to dealers, Scott Breckley , President of Columbia ParCar stated

The combined product portfolios across multiple commercial and consumer based platforms will create the worlds leading privately held EV company and a very compelling message for our Dealers, Distributors and Consumers. The result will blend product innovation with superb branding into our heritage of customer care that dates back to 1946. A winning combination in any strategic initiative .

The deal is expected to take another 45 days to close. The Tomberlin brand will continue to stand alone along side the ParCar brand. The merger will be kicked off with a series of regional launch parties starting in the Villages in Florida. Learn more:  Parcar.com

Comment:  This is a good match of complementary strengths. Tomberlin will add a lineup of vehicles primarily focused on the consumer personal transportation and recreation market but applicable to some commercial applications as well. Tomberlin’s product line includes LSVs and an off-road electric utility vehicle. The deal will allow Columbia ParCar to expand the breadth of their offerings as well as their dealer network. Tomberlin also adds some expertise in sourcing and manufacturing in China and a track record of innovation. When Tomberlin first came to the market they were one of the first companies to design an LSV that looked much more like a car than a golf car or a GEM. With some additional resources available, it will be interesting to see what new products will be launched. The deal also points to the continued effort by companies in all segments of the STOV market to expand their distribution and reach new customers.

NEVs: The Future of Transportation?

An essay in the May issue of Harvard Business Review makes the argument that vehicles like the NEV will be the future of transportation. The premise is that in the future car ownership will decline significantly as ride-sharing services become a more dominant mode of transportation. Given that most driving trips are local, NEVs are positioned well for this changing market, particularly in urban areas. Industry analysts view car-sharing services and autonomous vehicles as the future. An analyst from Morgan Stanley used the following graphic to illustrate the expected shift in car ownership and use.

What one analyst sees as the future for cars.

What one analyst sees as the future for cars.

There are some statistics that indicate the transformation is already under way. “… the average person uses his car for only one hour a day, according to a still-widely cited 1995 statistic from the U.S. Department of Transportation. And driving by U.S. household fell nearly 10 percent between 2004 and 2014, marking the first major shift in car ownership since World War II.”  However, it may be a while before a wholesale shift happens, if it ever  does. Learn more:  Huffingtonpost.com

Comment:  While NEVs are popular in certain areas, like vacation communities and gated communities, they have not quite gained traction as predicted. In fact, SVR’s research shows that their use has largely switched from predominately personal transportation to commercial use, such as on college campuses and resorts. One reason is that more municipalities are allowing golf cars or modified golf cars to be used on public roads. The price differential between these and NEVs make the NEV the less frequent choice in these areas. Where ordinances are more restrictive, NEVs have proven to be a popular choice. The key to expanding the market is allowing the vehicles to travel at a higher speed than the currently regulated 25 mph. A NEV with a top speed in the range of 35 mph to 45 mph, often referred to as a medium speed vehicle (MSV), would open up the market considerably but this would require significant and costly changes in NEV safety equipment and/or design. NHTSA has been adamant about not creating an MSV classification as currently envisioned, and they are not enthusiastic about the mixing of NEVs with highway capable vehicles on public roadways. But in the future autonomous technology and advances in safety technology could improve safety and lower the costs of safety equipment enough to make MSVs viable.

Polaris Reports Record First Quarter 2015 Results

Polaris yet again reported record quarterly results with first quarter 2015 sales reaching $1,033.3 million, up 16% compared to the previous year. Operating income increased 19% to $150.3 million during the 2015 first quarter. Currencies in the 2015 first quarter had a $32 million negative impact on total company sales versus Q1 of last year. Here are some of the highlights related to the STOV market. Comparisons are between first quarter 2015 to first quarter 2014, unless otherwise stated. The highlights have been updated following the earnings conference call with analysts.

  • Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) sales, which includes UTVs and ATVs increased 11% to $645.4 million.
  • ORV inventory increased primarily in the ATV segment.
  • Polaris North American ORV unit retail sales were up mid-single digits percent, with consumer purchases of Rangers and RZRs each increasing from the first quarter last year.
  • RZR sales are stronger than Ranger sales but the latter grew “nicely”.
  • North American ATV retail sales decreased low-single digits percent due to heavy competitive promotional spending during the 2015 first quarter with ACE up significantly.
  • Management reports a “fair amount” of wholesale discounting by competitors but this is not expected to continue. Promotional activity is more pronounced for ATVs but is occurring for side-by-sides as well.
  • Management sees the Hammerhead brand acquisition as a good way to attack the value end of the UTV market.
  • North American industry ORV retail sales in the first quarter 2015 increased an estimated mid-single digits percent according to management.
  • Sales of Polaris ORVs outside of North America decreased 10%  primarily due to weak economic conditions in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, as well as the currency impact of a strengthening U.S. dollar.
  • ORV industry in EMEA region grew mid-single digits in terms of volume but was driven by smaller value products and discounting.
  • Average sales per ORV unit increased 7% in the quarter.
  • The Eicher-Polaris JV will begin shipping the new utility vehicle in Q3.
  • Global Adjacent Markets, which includes GEM, Aixam, Goupil as well as government and military sales, increased 7% to $65.4 million.
  • Government/military group experienced double digit percent sales growth during the 2015 first quarter.
  • Work and Transportation (W&T) group sales (part of Global Adjacent Markets) increased mid-single digits percent with North American W&T sales increasing double digits percent while W&T outside North America declined partly resulting from lower Aixam sales in EMEA due to the impact of negative currencies.
  • North American W&T was up over 30% on strong partnership shipments, national account growth and 40% GEM retail increase.
  • Brutus retail increased low double digits in volume but revenue was hurt by promotions and the loss of some dealers. The PTO and high end models are performing well but base models are underperforming.
  • Goupil and Aixam increased shipments and future orders are up 20% but currency headwinds remain a drag.
  • Aixam made market share gains in a flat industry performance.
  • Defense revenue grew double digits on strength of M RZR in international markets and DAGOR shipments to special forces.

Guidance for the Year

  • Global adjacent market sales are now expected to grow 5% to 10% and total international sales are now expected to decline low single digits percent.
  • ORV’s are expected to increase mid-single digits percent after growing 11% in the first quarter benefiting from a 7% increase in the average sales per ORV unit.
  • Currency changes are expected reduce full year 2015 revenue by $140-160 million.

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

Mahindra USA Partners with Intimidator to Offer UTV

The Mahindra mPact XTV 1000 L utility vehicle is one of six models developed by the company in partnership with Intimidator, Inc.

The Mahindra mPact XTV 1000 L utility vehicle is one of six models developed by the company in partnership with Intimidator, Inc.

From Mahindra USA:

Mahindra USA announced Monday it is teaming up with Intimidator Inc. to manufacturer an all-new line of utility vehicles, the Mahindra mPACT™ XTV. The mPACT™ XTV rollout will begin with six models available through Mahindra’s dealer network beginning in early 2015. Mahindra dealers were given a sneak preview of the new utility vehicles at Mahindra’s Regional Dealer Meetings in October.

“Our partnership with Intimidator brings together two companies with shared vision, an innovative approach to product design and a passionate commitment to quality. Mahindra is dedicated to investing in the future through new product development to provide our dealers and customers with products that continue our tradition of delivering the unmatched value they have come to expect from Mahindra,” said Mani Iyer, President, Mahindra USA.

The Mahindra mPACT™ XTV are all designed to provide superior performance and deliver impressive work and transport capabilities. This XTV lineup offers category-leading cargo box and towing capacity. Each model offers spacious, comfortable seating for driver and passengers and is loaded with standard features such as true 4WD, 12-inch ground clearance, power cargo box lift, front and rear receiver hitches – all backed by an industry-leading three-year powertrain and one- year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

The gas and diesel versions will be available in three styles in early 2015:

• Standard: three-passenger with cargo

• Crew: six-passenger with cargo

• Longbed: three-passenger with extra cargo that folds to a flatbed

“We are looking forward to a long-term and productive relationship with Mahindra to bring the mPACT™ XTV’s, that are built with pride from the ground up in Batesville, AR, to its strong and growing North American dealer distribution network. We will boost UTV production significantly in the coming years as we expand the rollout to all markets to meet demand,” said Robert Foster, Owner, Intimidator, Inc.

Intimidator has immediate plans to add 7,600 sq. ft. to its 122,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Batesville, AR, and is working closely with the Independence County Economic Development Board on plans for a major facility expansion in the area’s new industrial park within three years. In addition, the expected demand for the Mahindra mPACT™ XTV’s will add 150 new jobs at the Intimidator manufacturing facility, which currently employs more than 50 people, as production is ramped up to meet this demand.

“The Mahindra mPACT™ XTV stole the show at our North American Regional Dealer meetings in October as our dealers responded with overwhelming support for this new product line. Pre-orders at the Regional Dealer Meetings exceeded our expectations and we are looking forward to getting these top-of-the-line utility vehicles in the hands of our customers in 2015,” said Cleo Franklin, Mahindra USA’s Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning. “The utility vehicle segment is a natural extension to our growing line of tractors and will add fuel to Mahindra’s rapid growth in North America.”

The new Mahindra XTV’s will begin to roll out in early 2015 to select markets and expand through the United States and Canada through the remainder of the year. For more details and weekly updates on the Mahindra mPACT™ XTV series, visit mahindraxtv.com.

Intimidator, Inc. is owned by Robert and Becky Foster, former co-owners of Bad Boy Mowers. Intimidator offers world-class American-made, side-by-side 4×4 Utility Vehicles with unparalleled strength, power and performance at an affordable price. The company’s expanding line of products includes the Intimidator Classic, Intimidator Crew Cab, and Intimidator Truck series utility vehicles built to suit a variety of needs—from hauling feed to hunting and more. Three engines choices are currently offered: 1,000cc Diesel, 750cc Gasoline, and a 48volt Electric.

Headquartered in Batesville, Arkansas, the family owned company has more than 50 employees. Intimidator products are sold through a growing network of more than 65 dealers in the United States. Intimidator and its sister companies, Bad Dawg Accessories and Ground Hog Maxx, provide the best aftermarket selection of accessory items the side-by-side market has to offer. Bad Dawg products are distributed through Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Tractor Supply stores nationwide. For UTV accessory information, visit Bad Dawg Accessories.com or call (877) 522-3364. For more information on Intimidator, visit IntimidatorUTV.com or call (877) 522-3364.

Learn more:  Mahindrausa.com

Comment:  The Mahindra and Intimidator partnership is another sign of the robustness and competitiveness of the UTV market. While some companies have exited the market, new companies continue to enter the market. Farm equipment and other manufacturers such as Mahindra are partnering with UTV manufacturers to enter the market. These partnerships allow them to participate in a growing and complementary market without devoting as many resources as they would if they developed the vehicles themselves. In addition, they gain access to the expertise of manufacturers that focus on UTVs as compared to farm equipment in Mahindra’s case.

Yamaha Recalls 2015 Viking VI UTVs

The 2015 Viking VI EPS Hunter from Yamaha is one of the models being recalled.

The 2015 Viking VI EPS Hunter from Yamaha is one of the models being recalled.

Yamaha has recalled approximately 3,500 Viking VI utility vehicles because the rear wheels can loosen and cause the rear end of the vehicle to wobble or the rear wheels to come off and cause the vehicle to crash. The recall involves the 2015 Viking VI, Viking VI Hunter, Viking VI EPS and Viking VI EPS Hunter.

The following information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Name of product:  Yamaha Viking VI

Hazard:  The rear wheels can loosen and cause the rear end of the vehicle to wobble or the rear wheels to come off and cause the vehicle to crash, resulting an injury or death hazard.

Recall Details

Units:  About 3,500

Description:  This recall involves 2015 model YXC700DF (Viking VI), YXC700DHFH (Viking VI Hunter), YXC700PF (Viking VI EPS) and YXC700PHFH (Viking VI EPS Hunter) side x side vehicles. Model numbers can be found on the owner’s manual. The letter F in the 10th position of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) indicates that the vehicle is 2015 model. The VIN is stamped on the frame behind the left rear wheel. The “Viking VI” model name is printed on the left side of the front hood. The vehicles come in Realtree (multicolor), hunter green, red and steel blue.

Incidents/Injuries:  No reported injuries

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact their local Yamaha dealer to schedule a free repair. Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly.

Sold exclusively at:  Yamaha side x side dealerships nationwide from June 2014 through March 2015 for $12,800 to $14,600.

Manufacturer(s):  Yamaha Motor Corporation, of Cypress, Calif.

Manufactured in:  USA

Consumer Contact:  Yamaha at (800) 962-7926 anytime or go to www.yamaha-motor.com, click on “Outdoors” tab, and then click on “Recalls” in the Corporate Links menus.

Learn more:  CPSC.gov

Comment:  This is a fairly large sized UTV recall and appears to be a significant issue with the vehicle. The recall is a setback for Yamaha given that the Viking VI has not been on the market that long and is an important part of the company’s renewed push in the UTV market after several years of minimal product development.

Eicher-Polaris Joint Venture To Launch Flexituff Utility Vehicle For The Indian Market


The new Flexituff utility vehicle from an Eicher and Polaris collaboration was spied on the road recently while undergoing tests. Photo Credit:  www.indianautoblog.com

A collaboration between Eicher and Polaris is set to release their first vehicle, something akin to a mini-truck, later this year for the Indian market. The Flexituff UV will be available in two configurations, a multi-passenger van (MPV) and a twin-cab pickup for hauling cargo. The vehicle will feature a Greaves Cotton 600cc diesel engine with claimed mileage of 25km/L. Based on pictures of the vehicle in testing, the vehicle will be slightly larger than competitive offerings, the Mahindra Maxximo and Tata Magic. Initial production is expected to be 10-12,000 vehicles per year with expectations that it will reach 100,000 units in the future. Learn more:  Motoroids.com

Update:  Some more information on the vehicle. It uses composite body panels to save weight and “…features a bare dashboard with a four-spoke steering wheel, a simple instrument cluster and a centre console-mounted gear level.” The double cab pickup with cargo area can fit five occupants. The price of the vehicle is expected to be about 1 lakh or about $1,500-1,600 US. The vehicle development project is reported to have cost $40 million US. Learn more:  Inidancarsbikes.in

Comment:  This type of vehicle is not as prevalent in the US but in India and parts of Asia the vehicles are common. Smaller sized delivery vehicles are an important part of a hub and spoke delivery system where they are used to deliver goods the last kilometer or so through small and crowded streets. Price points and cost of operation are important purchasing factors for owner/operators of these local shipping businesses.

Yamaha’s Wolverine R-Spec UTV Shipping To Dealers

The new Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec UTV hitting dealer showrooms this month.

The new Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec UTV hitting dealer showrooms this month.

Yamaha’s new UTV, the Wolverine R-Spec, is coming off the production line in Georgia and will be available at dealers this month. The Wolverine R-Spec is targeting hunters and off-road recreation users. Key features of the vehicle include:

  • 708cc EFI engine
  • 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD Drive Train
  • Yamaha Ultramatic V-Belt transmission with all-wheel engine braking
  • 26″ tires and steel wheels
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Independent double wishbone suspension front and rear with 9.7″ and 10.6″ of travel respectively
  • Ultra-long-stroke KYB nitrogen gas charged piggyback shocks
  • 11.4″ of ground clearance
  • 300 lb. cargo bed capacity
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Sun hard top
  • Electronic power steering (EPS) versions

The models are currently available in Hunter Green and Steel Blue with a RealTree Xtra Camo version available in May/June. MSRP for non-EPS models starts at $12,199 and for EPS models starts at $13,199. Learn more:  Powersportsbusiness.com

Comment:  After several years of minimal UTV product development Yamaha has come back in a big way the last few years. First with their Viking lineup of UTVs targeting work and crossover recreation use in the 2014 model year and further expanded for model year 2015, and now with the new Wolverine series targeting purely recreational use. I would expect Yamaha to expand the Wolverine lineup with a 4-person version and more sportier models. Although the latter might be handled by another product line launch specifically targeting high performance/sport recreational use.

Cub Cadet Expands UTV Lineup With Challenger Series

A new UTV from Cub Cadet's new Challenger series.

A new UTV from Cub Cadet’s new Challenger series.

Cub Cadet is expanding their utility vehicle lineup with a pair of new models, the Challenger 500 and Challenger 700, which launch their new Challenger series of UTVs. The 500 is powered by a 471cc EFI engine and the 700 by a 686cc EFI engine. Other key features for both models include:

  • 350 lb. cargo box capacity
  • 1,200 lb. towing capacity
  • Four-wheel drive with a front locking differential
  • Four-wheel independent, adjustable suspension
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Large-capacity, mid-mount air intake
  • Hard-top roof
  • Quick-release windshield
  • Alloy wheels
  • Front-mount winch
  • 26-inch off-road tires
  • Digital display
  • 2 person capacity

The specs for the Challenger 700 show a top speed of 45 mph and 11″ of ground clearance. Similar specs are not available on the Cub Cadet website for the 500. The MSRPs for the Challenger 500 and 7000 are $8,499.99 and $9,499.99 respectively. Both models will be at Cub Cadet dealers in May and are available in yellow or camo. A four person version will be available later in the summer. Learn more:  agriculture.com

Comment:  This launch is another sign of the intense competition in the UTV market. Not only are more well known powersports brands launching new vehicles and new product lines but smaller volume brands as well. If they want to stay relevant in the market they must, given the fast pace of product development and innovation for UTVs. With the nice set of desirable features and price points, these vehicles are clearly targeting the value segment of the market. Kymco and CFMoto have found some success in this price range, which is several thousand dollars less than many offerings from more well known UTV brands. Being an American brand with some history may give Cub Cadet an edge against the foreign competitors in this space.