Garia Recall: Golf & Courtesy EVs

Garia Golf 2+2 golf car
The Garia Golf 2+2 is part of a recall due to a bad fuse.

Garia recently announced a recall of approximately 1,000 Garia Golf and Courtesy electric vehicles. A fuse can overheat while the vehicle is charging and can cause a fire. The recall involves model year 2010 to 2019 Golf, Golf 2+2, Courtesy 4 and Courtesy 4+2 vehicles. Owners should immediately stop charging the vehicles and contact Garia or a Garia dealer to schedule a free repair. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Garia Recall Details

Name of product: Garia Golf & Courtesy battery-powered electric vehicles

Hazard: A fuse can overheat and melt while the electric vehicle is charging, posing a fire hazard.

Recall date: May 14, 2020

Units: About 1,000

Consumer Contact: Garia collect (281) 923-0291 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at support-us@garia.com, or online at www.garia.com and click on “Safety Recall” for more information.

Description: This recall involves Garia model year 2010-2019 golf and courtesy battery-powered electric vehicles (BEV’s). The models involved are as follows; Golf, Golf 2+2, Courtesy 4 and Courtesy 4+2. Garia VIN numbers are printed / etched on the chassis under the front seat cushion (see illustration below). The model year of your Garia can be identified by the 10th digit in the VIN number. The chart below can be used as a quick reference. The Serial numbers and date code range are: VIN numbers UJGDHSX1XAVXXXXXX – UJGDHSX1XKVXXXXXX are located under the vehicle’s front seat. (A to K) (2010-2019) 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop charging these recalled golf and courtesy vehicles and contact Garia or a Garia dealer to schedule a free repair. Garia is contacting all known customers by direct mail and e-mail.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm is aware of five incidents of overheating and fire damage to the vehicles.  No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Garia dealers nationwide from January 2010 through September 2019 for between $15,000 and $75,000.Manufacturer(s): Garia A/S, of Denmark

Importer(s): Garia Inc., of Houston, Texas

Manufactured In: Denmark

Recall number: 20-122

SVR’s Take

We’ve tracked recalls since early 2015 and this is the first recall from Garia. This is not surprising since they are a lower volume manufacturer focusing on building higher quality vehicles. According to their website, the fix is relatively simple so this shouldn’t be much of a problem for Garia.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

2020 PGA Show Insights

Club Car Onward with lithium batteries
Club Car Onward is now available with lithium batteries.

My colleague, Stephen Metzger, attended the 2020 PGA Show in Florida. His observations of the latest products on display “…suggests a new generation of diverse vehicles going well beyond the golf market.  In general terms the emerging market that trends will play into is that of urban/suburban mobility. “ He lays out his observations and what they say about the strategies of the three major manufacturers in a new article.

PGA Show: Big Three Strategies

Club Car is looking towards connectivity and telematics technologies for new market opportunities. The company is monitoring developments in the urban/suburban mobility market. According to management, Club Car’s lithium battery powertrain and Onward PTV platform positions the company well to take advantage of new opportunities .

E-Z-GO lithium models, ELiTe and Express from E-Z-GO.
E-Z-GO lithium models, ELiTe and Express from E-Z-GO.

E-Z-GO is leaning on their latest technology advancements like their first to market (of the big three) lithium powertrain for fleet and PTVs, their IntelliBrake technology, AC drive, 72-volt powertrain and new quieter and more efficient EX1 gas engine. In addition, they continue to monitor the urban and suburban mobility markets.

Yamaha emphasized their new, fully independent suspension which is likely a precursor to a lithium powered vehicle. The absence of much heavier lead acid batteries has significant implications for the suspension setup and vehicle ride quality.

Other PGA Show Insights

Automotive features such as touchscreen LED displays and rearview cameras are continuing evidence that more automotive features are becoming standard in PTVs. The trend fits nicely with the ongoing development of the urban/suburban mobility market. A slice of this market includes low-speed vehicles and PTV like vehicles. Manufacturers also displayed scotters and golf specific, electric powered vehicles. The technology of the latter category could likely be adapted to the urban/suburban mobility markets.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Specialized Vehicles Recalls 20,000 Vehicles

Gas-powered Cushman Shuttle models from Textron Specialized Vehicles
Gas-powered Cushman Shuttle models that seat 2, 4, 6 or 8 passengers are part of the recall.

Textron Specialized Vehicles recently recalled over 20,000 gas-powered E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker brand off-road vehicles. An improperly secured generator wire can potentially lead to a fire. Recalled models include the E-Z-GO Express S4-Gas, Express L6-Gas, Tracker LX4-Gas, Tracker LX6-Gas and gas powered Cushman Shuttle models 2, 4, 6 and 8 sold between November 2018 and October 2019. Vehicle owners should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact Textron Specialized Vehicles for a free repair. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. SVR maintains an ongoing list of small, task-oriented vehicle recalls.

Textron Specialized Vehicle Recall Information

Name of product: Gas-powered E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker brand off-road vehicles

Hazard: The starter generator wire can be improperly secured, allowing it to come into contact with the vehicle’s exhaust, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: February 13, 2020

Units: About 20,573

Consumer Contact: Textron Specialized Vehicles toll-free at 888-525-6040 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at jcook03@textron.com or online (for E-Z-Go) at https://ezgo.txtsv.com, click on Owners, then Recall Information, (for Cushman) at https://cushman.txtsv.com, click on Owners, then Recall Information, and (for Tracker) at www.trackeroffroad.com and click on Recalls at the bottom of the page.

Textron Specialized Vehicle Recall Details

Description: This recall involves gas-powered E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker brand off-road vehicles manufactured from November 2018 through June 2019 with certain non-sequential serial numbers ranging from 3377720 to 3440924.  The serial number is located on the kick panel below the driver side seat. 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled off-road vehicles and contact Textron Specialized Vehicles for a free repair.  Textron Specialized Vehicles is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries: Textron Specialized Vehicles has received 13 reports of melted and/or burned wires and electrical components and loss of vehicle function in some cases, including one report of fire.  No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker off road dealerships nationwide from November 2018 through October 2019 for between $6,300 and $13,400.

Manufacturer(s): Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga

Manufactured In: United States

Recall number: 20-073

SVR’s Take

This is a large recall representing basically a year’s worth of vehicle sales for these models. Luckily nobody reported being injured. The STOV market in general continues to experience a significant amount of recalls relative to total market sales. SVR’s latest market study showed that recalls accounted for anywhere from 11% to 47% of vehicles sold in North America. Even excluding the very large Polaris recalls during those years, the percentages remained high for the rest of the market. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Yamaha Drive2 Golf Car Recall

Yamaha Golf Car Drive2 model
The Yamaha Golf Car Drive2 being recalled because of a front hub issue.

Yamaha Golf Car issued a recall of approximately 1,350 Drive2 golf cars because of an issue with the front wheel hubs. The hubs can crack and cause the front wheels to detach. No injuries have been reported due to the issue. The recall covers AC, DC and EFI models. The following recall information is from the CPSC. SVR maintains an ongoing list of STOV industry recalls.

Drive2 Golf Car Recall Summary

Name of product: Yamaha Golf Cars

Hazard: The front wheel hubs on the golf cars can crack causing the front wheels to detach, posing a crash hazard that could result in injury or death to the user or bystander.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: February 13, 2020

Units: About 1,350

Consumer Contact: Yamaha toll-free at 866-747-4027 anytime or online at https://www.yamahagolfcar.com/ and click on the CPSC Recall Alerts tab for more information.

Drive2 Golf Car Recall Details

Description: This recall involves for model-year 2020 golf cars, including “Drive2 QuieTech,” “Drive2 AC,” “Drive2 EFI,” and “Drive2 DC.”  The vehicles were sold in various colors, including blue, green, red, gray, tan, silver, and white.  The model and serial number can be found on a label under the seat on the left side.

Model YearModel NameModel PrefixSerial Number Range
2020Drive2 QuieTechJ0B305606 – 306597
2020Drive2 ACJ0J301002 – 301100
2020Drive2 EFIJ0K103401 – 104680
2020Drive2 DCJ0C303701 – 304600

 Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Yamaha Golf Cars and contact a Yamaha Golf car dealer to schedule a free repair.  Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Sold Exclusively At: Yamaha golf car dealers nationwide from June 2019 through December 2019 for between $6,100 and $6,300.

Distributor(s): Yamaha Golf-Car Company, of Kennesaw, Ga.

Manufactured In: Assembled in the United States

Recall number: 20-718

Road Use Regulation Roundup – October 2019

golf cart sign

Road Use Regulation Summary

Road use regulations for golf cars, LSVs, ATVs and UTVs that have been passed or are being considered at the state, county and city levels since June, 2019 are summarized below.

  • The majority of the ordinances expand the use of golf cars, LSVs, or UTVs on city streets.
  • Most of the legislative activity is occurring in the Midwest

Road Use Regulation By Location

Wisconsin – Title fees for low speed vehicles will increase from $62 to $157, similar to other vehicles.

Barnegat Light, NJ – The Council, after earlier tabling an ordinance that would allow the use of golf cars on certain city streets, have decided to not pursue the issue further. A critical issue was that the vehicles would have to cross a higher speed road, which would require an exception to state law.

Brazil, IN – Residents registered nearly 100 golf carts and off-road UTVs since an ordinance passed in February, 2019.

Wakefield, IN – The City Council is considering an ordinance to allow golf cars on certain city streets. The police chief and a councilman are looking at similar ordinances and potentially expanding the ordinance to other types of vehicles.

Paola, KS – Starting in January, 2020 residents will be able to drive UTVs on city streets with posted speed limits that are 45 mph or less. Regulations require that vehicles have lights, turn signals and reflectors, drivers have a valid license and vehicles be registered.

St. Joseph, MI – The city commissioners are considering allowing residents to drive golf cars on city streets in the Harbor Shores, Edgewater and Ridgeway neighborhoods.

Newport, RI – The Newport Jitney provides free, advertiser supported rides around town on two low-speed vehicles that seat six and eight passengers.

Glynn County, GA – A new county ordinance goes into effect in October that will allow golf cars on certain streets. The ordinance has different regulations for LSVs vs. PTVs. A key difference is that LSVs can travel on streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less while PTVs can travel only on 25 mph or less streets.

Perry Village, OH – The Village Council passed an ordinance to allow LSVs, golf cars, UTVs and mini-trucks to be driven on local low speed streets. The vehicles must be inspected, licensed and have certain safety equipment.

Yamaha Golf Car Recalls Vehicles

Yamaha UMAX TWO
The 2019 UMAX TWO is one of the vehicle Yamaha Golf Car is recalling.

Yamaha Golf Car Recall Overview

Yamaha Golf Car is recalling approximately 16,000 vehicles because of an issue with the USB port creates a fire hazard. The recall involves model year 2017 through 2019 vehicles including Drive2 fleet, Adventurer Two and some UMAX models. The recall affects both electric and gas powered models. The following recall details are from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Yamaha Golf Car Recall Details

Name of product: Yamaha golf cars, personal transportation and specialty vehicles

Hazard: The module that regulates power to the vehicle’s USB ports can overheat and melt, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: August 28, 2019

Units: 16,000

Consumer contact: Yamaha toll-free at 866-747-4027 anytime or online at www.yamahagolfcar.com and click on “CPSC Recall Alerts” for more information.

Description: This recall involves the following model year 2016 through 2018 gas and electric-powered golf cars, personal transportation and specialty vehicles. The vehicles were sold in various colors including blue, green, red, white, tan and silver. The model and serial number can be found on a label under the seat on the left or right side.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the USB charging device in the recalled vehicles and contact a Yamaha golf car dealer to schedule a free repair. Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly..

Incidents/Injuries: Yamaha has received five reports of associated fire incidents and 100 reports of a melted USB voltage-reducer module. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:Exclusively at Yamaha golf car dealers nationwide from June 2016 through June 2019 for between $6,000 and $11,000.

Manufacturer(s): Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, of Newnan, Ga.

Distributor(s): Yamaha Golf-Car Company, of Kennesaw, Ga.

Assembled in: U.S.

Recall number: 19-774

SVR’s Take

Yamaha recalled some of these vehicles previously because of an issue with the accelerator pedal. While this recall is large, given Yamaha Golf Cars’ total sales, it is small in comparison to that previous recall which involved 145,000 vehicles. Smallvehicleresource.com maintains a list of small, task-oriented vehicle recalls.

Club Car Fuel Leak Recalls

Club Car Recall Summary

Club Car Onward 2 Passenger
One of the models Club Car is recall is the gas powered Onward.

Club Car recently announced a pair of recalls involving potential fuel leaks. The recalls apply to a range of models and includes approximately 12,000 vehicles in the US and Canada. The first recall includes Precedent, Tempo, Onward and Villager gas powered vehicles. Fuel can potentially leak from an improperly routed fuel line. In the second recall, gas powered Carryall 300, Transporter, Villager, Streetrod Lux and Streetrod Vintage vehicles may experience fuel leaks during low speed idling with a full gas tank. In both cases, owners should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact Club Car for a free repair.

The following are recall details from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

First Recall Details

Name of product: Club Car Precedent, Tempo, Onward and Villager model gas golf and transport vehicles

Hazard: Fuel can leak from an improperly-routed fuel line, posing fire and burn hazards.R

Recall date: August 19, 2019

Units: About 9,000 (In addition, about 2,000 were sold in Canada)

Description: This recall involves model year 2019 gas-powered Precedent, Tempo, Onward and Villager golf and transport vehicles, which are used for short-distance transportation. Vehicles with the following model and serial numbers are included in the recall. Serial numbers are located above and to the right of the accelerator pedal. The model number is the first two letters of the serial number.

Model NameModel# Serial Number
Tempo GasBXBX1905-944274 to BX2003-039920
Tempo Gas 2 + 2BYBY1910-953754 to BY2002-039481
Onward 2 Pass Non-Lifted GasBQBQ1924-981193 to BQ2003-041072
Onward 4 Pass Non-LiftedBSBS1910-953760 to BS2003-041012
Onward 4 Pass Lifted GasBWBW1910-953767 to BW2003-041068
Precedent Villager 2 GasBJBJ1910-953915 to BJ2002-039525
Precedent Gas EFI 2PDFDF1929-987941 to DF2002-039479
Precedent Villager 4 GasDJDJ1929-987934 to DJ1950-034968
Onward 6 Pass Non-Lifted GasAYAY1945-024474 to AY1949-033252
Onward 6 Pass Lifted GasAWAW1945-024474 to AW2003-041004

 Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Club Car to schedule a free repair. Club Car is contacting owners directly.

Incidents/Injuries: Club Car has received three reports of fuel leaks. No fires or injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Authorized Club Car dealers nationwide from August 2018 through July 2019 for between $7,000 and $11,000.

Manufacturer(s): Club Car, of Augusta, Georgia

Manufactured In: United States

Recall number: 19-770

Second Recall Details

Club Car Gas Carryall 300 utility vehicle
The Club Car Carryall 300 gas powered utility vehicle is part of the second recall.

Name of product: Club Car Gas Carryall 300, Transporter, Villager Vehicles, Streetrod Lux and Streetrod Vintage Vehicles

Hazard: Under continuous operations with low speed idling periods and a full gas tank, the fuel vent can allow fuel to leak, posing a fire hazard.

Recall date: August 19, 2019

Units: About 1,300 (In addition, about 13 were sold in Canada)

Description: This recall involves 2019 utility and transport vehicles, which vary in size, models and colors and are used for short-distance transportation. The recalled vehicles can be identified by the model and serial numbers. Serial numbers are above and to the right of the accelerator pedal. The model number is the first two letters of the serial number. Recalled models and serial numbers include:

Model NameSerial Number Range
CA300, GasMC1902- 939803 – MC1936-003158
Transporter, GasMK1901-938752 – MK1936-001620
Villager 6 GasSE1903-941645 – SE1936-003004
Villager 8 GasSF1902-941407 – SF1936-003040
Transporter XL GasSK1907-948159 – SK1932-994341
Transporter XLC GasZV1908-949040 – ZV1928987110
Streetrod LuxSO1908-948943 – SO1908-948929
Streetrod VintageSO1902-939821 – SO1937-004374

 Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact Club Car to schedule a free repair. Club Car is contacting owners of the recalled gas utility and transport vehicles directly.

Incidents/Injuries: Club Car has received two reports of fuel leaks. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Authorized Club Car dealers and Streetrod nationwide from July 2018 through March 2019 for between $8,000 and $16,000. Streetrod branded vehicles were sold by Streetrod dealers from July 2018 through March 2019 for between $18,000 and $20,000.

Manufacturer(s):  Club Car, of Augusta, Ga.Manufactured In:U.S.

Recall number: 19-769

SVR’s Take

This is a large recall for Club Car and represents a significant percentage of their unit sales. Not too surprisingly for the STOV market, the recall involves some variation of a fuel leak hazard. Smallvehicleresource.com maintains a list of small, task-oriented vehicle recalls. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Urban Mobility Market for STOV OEMs

fuel cell powered urban mobility vehicle
Yamaha’s fuel cell powered urban mobility vehicle for a new ride sharing service.

Recent vehicle news from Asia spurred some thoughts on the opportunity urban mobility presents to small, task-oriented vehicle (STOV) manufacturers.

Urban Mobility Changing

Battery Swapping Autorickshaws

The first article reports on the use of battery swapping to power electric autorickshaws in India. Battery swapping removes the very expensive battery component from the upfront purchase price and reduces long term operating costs. In addition, the electric part moves toward a more climate friendly and less polluting transportation system.

The current thinking by some is that smaller two and three-wheeled vehicles provide the best economic case for battery swapping. In contrast, larger vehicles require larger batteries. This means more expensive and complicated swapping stations, and higher up front investment costs for the battery supplier. While this an India based example, the advent of e-scooters, e-bikes and startups offering three wheelers indicate market potential in the US.

Fuel Cell Powered Small Vehicle

This week Yamaha Motor announced the public testing of a prototype fuel cell vehicle for a vehicle sharing service. The vehicle looks like less than a typical automobile but more than a golf car. The technology advances new concepts in urban mobility as well as initiatives in Japan to promote hydrogen based fueling. Though the fuel cell provides greater range and less refueling needs, the more important part of this test for STOV OEMs is the vehicle form. The vehicle size and level of complexity should be a good fit for their capabilities.

Is Urban Mobility Too Small for Traditional Auto OEMs?

These transportation technologies represent a new opportunity for STOV manufacturers to leverage their existing manufacturing and technology expertise into new vehicle markets. The traditional automobile manufacturers are less likely to view these markets as an opportunity. Although, in the long term they could represent a threat to their dominance or at least reduce their addressable market. They are already pouring billions of dollars to enter the highway capable EV market. However, they must balance investment between highly profitable and traditionally popular ICE vehicles and lower margin and riskier EVs. Smaller, alternative energy vehicles are even farther down the list. In addition, their work force arguably did not join their companies to produce small, urban vehicles.

Urban Mobility Attracts Diverse Providers

Entrants in the urban mobility space include startups like Arcimoto and traditional small vehicle manufacturers serving Asian and to a lesser degree European markets. Startups have the advantage of creating purpose-built vehicles specifically for new mobility markets. However, they lack the manufacturing expertise, financial resources and distribution networks. Traditional foreign small vehicle manufacturers know their home markets, and have the distribution, financing and manufacturing assets. However, they do not have a strong presence in the US market.

Other potential entrants include the likes of bike sharing companies as well as Lyft and Uber that have moved into ride sharing with e-scooters and e-bikes. However, these company’s expertise is not in manufacturing. They provide the platform for people to access mobility. One can argue that the platform itself does not provide as a wide moat as the manufacturing and technology assets. The strengths and weaknesses of these potential providers and the dynamics of the urban mobility market suggest an opening for existing US STOV manufacturers.

Best Positioned US STOV Market Leaders

Among the current leading UTV, golf car and LSV manufacturers companies Polaris, Textron and Yamaha appear to be best positioned to pursue this new opportunity. Polaris owns Aixam, the leading European quadricycle brand as well as the GEM, Goupil and Taylor-Dunn electric vehicle brands. These brands provide them with electric vehicle technology as well as a range of distribution networks. On the other hand, the DNA and profit driver of Polaris is off-road motorsports. They may see relatively greater returns on investment in their traditional markets.

After the acquisition of Arctic Cat, Textron is similar to Polaris and now has an expansive small vehicle portfolio. Their DNA is more golf car and PTV, and therefore likely better suited towards urban mobility. However, the integration of Arctic Cat has been bumpy and they were slow to recognize the original UTV opportunity. As a piece of a larger conglomerate, their Textron Specialized Vehicle division may not be entrepreneurial enough or have the freedom to pursue this opportunity.

Yamaha has both off-road and golf car type offerings as well as e-bikes, but are not well coordinated. These businesses are in separate business units. In addition, their golf car portfolio has been emphasizing gas powered technology rather than electric technology. Yamaha’s existing mobility concept testing along with having one foot in the Asian market and another in the US should be an advantage. However, their slow re-entry into the UTV market after problems with the Rhino side-by-side speaks to a more cautious corporate approach.

The STOV OEMs appear to have many of the necessary requirements to pursue the urban mobility opportunity. The question remains whether they believe in the opportunity and if they are willing to take the risk.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Should Polaris Acquire Club Car?

Club Car Tempo
The Tempo, Club Car’s fleet golf car introduced in 2018.

A recent article speculated that Ingersoll-Rand’s acquisition of Precision Flow Systems could pave the way breaking up the conglomerate. Club Car is one of the pieces that seems a poor fit with the rest of Ingersoll-Rand. If this is the case, then Polaris Industries might be a good suitor.

The Pros for Acquiring Club Car

A strong international brand

Club Car has a number of characteristics that match previous Polaris acquisitions. First, Club Car is a leading brand, if not, the leading brand of the three major golf car manufacturers. Second, it is an international brand. Third, Club Car participates, in part, in a fragmented industry. Therefore, Polaris would have an opportunity to use their resources to establish a more dominate market position. While the golf car fleet market is primarily a three company affair, Club Car, E-Z-GO and Yamaha, the non-fleet personal transportation vehicle (PTV) and light utility vehicle markets are more fragmented markets. Fourth, a large installed base of vehicles forms the basis for a substantial parts and accessories business. This was a key reason for the Polaris purchase of Taylor-Dunn.

Club Car complements Polaris vehicle portfolio

A large portion of Club Car vehicles sold are electric and would fit well with the Polaris EV portfolio. Other EVs in the Polaris portfolio include GEM, Goupil, Taylor-Dunn and Aixam. Polaris could spread their battery and EV powertrain development costs over a larger number of vehicles. In addition, Club Car’s end markets and distribution network would complement current efforts by Polaris. Their PTVs would complement the street legal GEM vehicles and their light utility vehicles would complement the more heavy-duty Rangers.

In addition, the golf manufacturer’s dealer network would expand Polaris’ footprint. While there is some overlap with the GEM and Taylor-Dunn dealer networks, there would also be a large number of additional dealer locations in the US and internationally. Furthermore, these dealers could be used to expand the GEM and Taylor-Dunn distribution. Club Car end markets such as golf courses, resorts, colleges, airports and other institutions would also take Polaris into new markets or broaden their vehicle offerings where they overlap.

The Cons for Acquiring Club Car

Is there enough growth?

Polaris looks for acquisitions in growing markets and/or traditionally strong but neglected brands that they can leverage. In the case of Club Car, the fleet golf car market has been declining for a number of years. The PTV and light UTV markets are growing but not at really high rates and are a smaller part of the business. Club Car isn’t necessarily a neglected brand but is somewhat lost among much larger Ingersoll-Rand businesses. In contrast, Polaris might be able to focus more attention and resources and make a strong brand even stronger.

Another acquisition to swallow

Polaris has already made a number of acquisitions in the past year, adding Boat Holdings and the Marquis-Larson Boat Group to start a new boating business. Acquiring Club Car would require more management time and focus to successfully integrate the business into Polaris. In addition, the purchase would likely add additional debt to their balance sheet. Polaris management might want to finish integrating their recent acquisitions before adding another piece and avoid increasing their debt.

What Will Polaris Do?

A strong argument could be made that Polaris should acquire Club Car if it’s for sale. The key questions are whether the management perceives if there is enough growth in the market, and do they think they can use their resources to drive more growth. The combination of the PTV and light UTV markets along with the parts and accessories business may offer enough potential. Timing may also be an issue. Any down turn in the economy, which some are predicting, would hurt Polaris. Discretionary income drives a significant portion of their sales.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Expands ELiTE Vehicle Lineup

Cushman Hauler 800 ELiTE
The new Cushman Hauler 800 ELiTE from Textron is powered by lithium batteries.

Textron Specialized Vehicles Launches Hauler 800 ELiTE Electric UTV

Textron Specialized Vehicles launched the Cushman Hauler 800 ELiTE electric powered utility vehicles. Samsung SDI lithium technology powers the ELiTE series. The Cushman Hauler 800 and 800X will feature the lithium battery pack. Textron is targeting golf course superintendents with these models.

ELiTE Powertrain

The Hauler 800 and 800X ELiTE powertrains feature a 48-volt AC drive with a 11.7 hp (peak) motor and two zero maintenance lithium ion batteries. In comparison, the existing electric Hauler 800 and 800X have a 48-volt AC drive with 4.4 hp continues motor and six deep cycle batteries.

Learn more: Textron.com

SVR’s Take

Textron’s initial introduction of the ELiTE lithium batteries in fleet golf cars was successful. As a result, utility vehicles used on golf courses are a logical extension of the program. Furthermore, from a macro market perspective, Textron is the first major manufacturer in the STOV market to make a strong push with lithium powered vehicles. While others have offered lithium batteries as an option on some vehicles, Textron is the first to incorporate them into key models.

Where is the Competition on Lithium Batteries?

Polaris diverse lineup sprinkled with lithium models

With the 2017 acquisition of Arctic Cat, Textron Specialized Vehicle business became an even more direct competitor with Polaris. Polaris has been active in the electric vehicle market for years. They invested in Brammo, and acquired Goupil in France and GEM and Taylor-Dunn in the US. However, to date, Polaris has not made a big push into lithium powered utility vehicles in the US. GEM vehicles have an option and the European based Goupil offers two lithium battery pack options for many models. Polaris briefly offered their Ranger EV with a lithium pack but the model was significantly more expensive. Their volume in fleet golf cars provides Textron with an advantage over Polaris when introducing lithium powered models.

Club Car enters the fray

At the recent 2019 PGA Show Club Car introduced its lithium powered fleet vehicle, the Tempo. According to sources, they are likely to introduce a lithium powered version of their Onward PTV later in the year. Like Textron, Club Car will have the advantage of production volume through fleet sales. They likely will follow suit and offer lithium powered utility vehicles in the future. A smaller manufacturer likely to follow the trend is STAR Electric Vehicles.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com