Can-Am Earnings Strong For Q4 & FY19

2019 Can Am Defender XT UTV
The 2019 Can Am Defender XT in Hyper Silver is one example of the companies constant parade of new models.

Can-Am Earnings Call Summary

Can-Am earnings were strong for the fourth quarter and fiscal year for 2019. Annual revenues increased 18% from $4.5 billion to $5.2 billion (CA$) and quarterly revenues jumped 23% to $1.5 billion. The following are highlights from the recent earnings call.

  • North American powersports retail sales excluding snowmobile sales grew 19% while the industry decreased low single digits in the fourth quarter
  • North American side-by-side sales increased high teens while the industry increased single digits
  • Can-Am grew market share in side-by-sides
  • Increased UTV production capacity by 30% at Mexico facilities with another 50% capacity increase planned for the coming year
  • Continued to introduce a new side-by-side model every six months following their long term plan
  • Side-by-side market remains competitive with promotions or “back end” money going to dealers to reduce net pricing

Can-Am Earnings Guidance for FY2020

Management is expecting continued growth for fiscal year 2020

  • Annual revenue is expected to increase 7-11%.
  • Year-Around Products revenue is expected to grow between 12% and 17% driven primarily by side-by-side models.

Learn more: Seeking alpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

SVR’s Take

Can-Am has grown into the main rival to Polaris in the North American side-by-side market. They have continued to gain market share for several years and have separated themselves from the rest of the pack chasing Polaris. They are the only company that has been able to match the market leader’s level of new model introductions. The development of their Defender product lines to pursue the utility vehicle segment has been a key to unlocking more growth. The complete Can-Am side-by-side lineup now comes close in size and segment coverage to the Polaris armada. Can-Am appears to be running on all cylinders and I would expect them to continue increasing revenue and market share.

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

Polaris Reports Another Strong Quarter

2019 Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000 EPS
The 2019 Polaris Ranger Crew XP 1000 EPS in Sunset Red Metallic is part of the Ranger product line that recently commemorated its 20th anniversary.

Polaris Q4 2018 Earnings Overview

Polaris reported another strong quarter and full year with 4th quarter sales of $1.6 billion, up 14% from last year. Full year sales topped $6.1 billion, up 12% from the prior year. The ORV/Snowmobile segment reported sales of $1.1 billion for the quarter, an increase of 7% year over year. The ORV portion declined 2% as the company had a tough comparable with the prior year’s quarter. On a negative note, management expects tariff and trade war costs to total between $110 to $120 million company wide for fiscal year 2019. They will hit the ORV and Motorcycle businesses the hardest. A significant portion of the Q&A on the call revolved around tariff and trade war costs. A summary of the earnings call highlights related to the STOV market follow.

Polaris Earnings Call Highlights

  • Polaris side-by-side retail sales increased mid single digits % while ATV retail sales decreased mid single digits %
  • Average selling price for the ORV segment increased by 7% but were partially offset by tariff, logistics, and commodity costs
  • Polaris gained market share in the side-by-side market for the quarter and the full year
  • Management believes they are gaining share from Japanese competitors and Arctic Cat, now owned by Textron
  • Global Adjacent Markets revenue increased 4% to $122 million on the strength of commercial, government and defense and Aixam businesses.
  • Polaris increased wholegood prices 3.5% for the ORV/Snowmobile segment at the start of 2019 to counter tariff and trade costs
  • Revenue for ORV/Snowmobile and Global Adjacent Markets segments are expected to increase mid-single digits % for fiscal year 2019
  • Management does not expect to enter into electric powered markets until there is large consumer demand. Their response pertained to motorcycles but appears to be their general philosophy.

Learn more: Earnings Call Transcript (seeking alpha.com)

Tracker & Textron Partner on UTVs/ATVs

The Tracker Off Road ATV & UTV model lineup

Partnership Overview

Tracker, a leading boat manufacturer, and Textron Specialized Vehicles are forming a partnership to produce UTVs and ATVs and sell them under the new Tracker Off Road brand. Tracker is part of the White River Marine Group that includes Tracker, Triton, and Ranger boats, as well as Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s. The Tracker Off Road vehicles will be sold through select Ranger, Triton, and Tracker, and other independent dealers, as well as at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations. They will be built at the Thief River Falls, Minnesota plant that produces Arctic Cat vehicles.

Tracker Off Road Product Lineup

The Tracker Off Road lineup includes four ATVs and four UTVs. The ATV line includes entry level youth and adult models and two more models with more features and capabilities. This lineup should be able to target a wide swath of the ATV market. The UTV lineup includes a personal transportation vehicle (PTV), and three models currently sold under the Prowler nameplate: the Prowler EV, Prowler Pro and Prowler Pro Crew. The corporate presentation also mentioned the potential of selling the Wildcat XX and even snowmobiles through the same distribution network.

Learn more: Businesswire.com

SVR’s Take

The Textron Tracker partnership continues the trend in the UTV market of brands expanding beyond their traditional distribution networks. Typically, an established UTV brand partners with a traditionally non-UTV brand. They either re-brand existing models or develop similar but unique models to sell through the partner brand’s distribution network. Previously, major UTV brands have used this approach to gain access to farm equipment and outdoor power equipment distribution networks. In this case, Textron is tapping into marine distribution and outdoor apparel networks. In a similar vein, Polaris and Can-Am have recently acquired boating manufacturers. Primarily these acquisitions diversify their powersports portfolio. However, it would not be surprising to see them sell a select range of off-road vehicles through these marine networks. If the dealers believe they can make a profit and there is no territorial conflict with the traditional powersports dealers then these networks expand their geographic footprint and reach.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Tariff Questions Dominate Polaris Earnings Call

Polaris 2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS 20th anniversary

The 2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS 20th Anniversary edition helped drive sales despite tariff concerns.

Financial Results Overview

Tariff questions dominated the Polaris Industries earnings call to discuss their Q3 financial results for fiscal year 2018. The manufacturer of the RZR, Ranger and General side-by-sides reported adjusted revenue of $1,653 million, an increase of 12% from $1,480 million from third quarter 2017. Net income increased 21% from $98 million to $118 million. (Financial figures are compared to Q3 2017 unless noted)

STOV Segments Perform Solidly

Overall ORV/Snow segment revenue increased 3% from $1,007 million to $1,036 million. Lower snowmobile revenue was more than offset by a 12% increase in ORV revenue. ORV includes UTVs and ATVs. North American (NA) retail sales, driven by side-by-side sales, increased 1% in the quarter against a tough comparable. In comparison, management estimated that industry wide NA ORV sales improved low single digits for the quarter. Polaris side-by-side market share for the quarter remained the same.

The average selling price of ORVs overall increased 5%. Management reports that the initial launch of the 2019 model year was successful with good response from consumers and dealers. In particular, the new Ranger XP 1000 variants drove sales. Furthermore, the company’s inventory management system, RFM, is producing results with the best side-by-side delivery performance to date. In addition, lower promotional costs accompanied the stronger sales. Comments on individual markets indicated that the oil and gas customer segment improved while agriculture decreased some.

Global Adjacent Markets Gain

The Global Adjacent Markets (GAM) segment made solid gains as well. Sales increased 5% from $92 to $98 million. This segment includes vehicle sales to commercial, government and defense clients in addition to Aixam quadricycle sales in Europe. In addition, the GAM segment includes vehicles like Ranger and Brutus UTVs, military RZRs, GEM electric vehicles, Taylor-Dunn industrial vehicles and Goupil electric vehicles based in France. Management reported solid sales for  Goupil vehicles and strong orders from fire and police departments, and other government agencies.

ORV and GAM Drive International Growth

Sales to international markets jumped 10% with a strong showing from the ORV/Snow segment, up 9%, and the GAM segment, up 6%. Looking at sales by region, the Europe and Middle East drove overall international sales while Latin America increased only slightly and the Asia Pacific region decreased.

Full Year Guidance Improves

Polaris increased their guidance for the ORV/Snow segment. They now expect a low double digit increase in sales.The GAM segment should increase sales by low double digits, which is unchanged from previous guidance.

Tariff Impacts

Tariff impacts raised expenses by $8 million for the quarter and are expected to total $40 million for the year. The renegotiated NAFTA deal, the USMCA, is expected to have a neutral effect. However, the 301 tariffs, especially the upcoming List 3 tariffs could have more severe repercussions. Currently, the company is dealing with List 1 and List 2 tariff impacts. Polaris is at a disadvantage related to 301 List tariffs because their main competitors produce their vehicles in Mexico or assemble them in the US using Japanese parts. Therefore, these companies are not subject to the same tariffs.

Tariff Mitigation Plans

Management laid out a three pronged approach to mitigating the potential List 301 tariffs. First, they will try to negotiate with their suppliers to share some of the increased costs. Second, they may increase prices. Thirdly, they hope to lobby the current administration to obtain an exemption from the tariffs. Polaris argues that the tariffs are primarily hurting them, but they are the only US based manufacturer among the major players in the market. Furthermore, the company has been increasing their US based manufacturing. At this time, Polaris is not providing any specific quantitative guidance for tariff impacts for 2019.

Other Future Factors

For the powersports market in general, management expects that there will be a need to increase pricing to offset inflation, tariff impacts and increasing commodity and logistics costs. Furthermore, management stated, “As the industry leader, we’re not afraid to lead on price.”

The newly launched Factory Choice program, which gives the customers and dealers an opportunity to make differentiated vehicles from the factory and has been popular, gives Polaris optimism. The program should help drive sales in the future.

The dealer inventory profiles produced under the RFM program this year for side-by-sides significantly improved product availability. The increased availability bolstered sales, raising similar expectations moving forward.

Learn more:  Polaris Earnings Call Transcript (Seekingalpha.com)

SVR’s Take

This was another solid quarter for Polaris. The sales increases for side-by-sides were not gangbusters at first glance, but they are being compared to a really strong third quarter in 2017. The new 2019 vehicle lineup should drive sales more fully in the fourth quarter. The GAM segment is slowly growing into a significant business and could become a $500 billion business in about two years. On a cautionary note, the tariff impacts could slow progress for Polaris, especially in contrast to fast growing and Canadian based Can-Am. Increased pricing could potentially hurt sales, although as a premium brand Polaris can pass on some pricing. The other alternative is that they will take hit to their margins and generate less income.

 

 

Textron Off Road Struggles with Arctic Cat

Textron Off Road Wildcat XX

Textron Off Road’s Wildcat XX. Wildcat models were previously sold under the Arctic Cat brand.

Textron 2018 Q3 Earnings Results

Textron, Inc recently reported fiscal year 2018 third quarter earnings. They point to a struggling Arctic Cat brand which was acquired in early 2017. The company embedded the Arctic Cat brand under their new Textron Off Road brand in their Specialized Vehicle business, which is part of their Industrial segment. Specialized Vehicles also includes E-Z-GO golf cars, Cushman utility vehicles, towing tugs among other small, task-oriented vehicles. Management reported that poor Specialized Vehicle results hurt the Industrial segment that in turn reduced overall quarterly performance for the company.

Weak Performance but Faith in the Product

The Q&A part of the earnings call pointed to problems with products formerly sold under the Arctic Cat brand. CEO Scott Donnelly remarked that  “…the most fundamental challenge in the business is around particularly the dirt side, the consumer side of that business and that’s the area that where we need the most work”. Furthermore he noted that,

” Industrial, segment profit was breakeven primarily due to unfavorable operating performance in specialized vehicles. Specialized vehicles has undergone significant change over the past two years, as we have expanded the product portfolio. While we’ve seen increasing revenue in the segment, we haven’t seen the planned level of growth or do the operating levers necessary to support the expected returns.”

Nevertheless, management remained positive about future performance and confident of the products they are putting on the market. Donnelly further stated,

“We’ve got great feedback from customers, the performance side we don’t have a product problem I mean we have still gaps which again as I said we’re working on it as we go forward but I think the progress on what the product is and how the product is performing we’re very pleased with.”

The management expects better performance in the fourth quarter.

 

Sales Channel Issues

Additional management comments indicated other issues in the sales channel may be limiting performance. Management noted the need to manage the channel but that some dealers are doing very well. Overall the retail sell through did not meet expectations. Furthermore, management allocated more funds to product discount programs to reduce inventory. In addition, management expressed a desire to improve the sales tools that help customers get to the product.

Pricing Changes Reflect Sales Issues

The pricing changes across the Textron Off-Road vehicle lineup from 2018 to 2019 reflects the poorer than expected retail performance. Management reduced prices for nearly every model, slashing prices for the Wildcat side-by-sides the most. Wildcat price cuts ranged from $500 to $2,500 with most at least $1,000. In contrast, many other manufacturers maintained pricing or slightly increased pricing by around $200 in most cases.

Textron Earnings Call (Seekingalpha.com)

SVR’s Take:

If management likes the product and some dealers are doing well, it sounds like it may possibly be a dealer issue. Either dealers are in the wrong location or they are not performing well. The management’s comments about getting customers to the product raise additional potential issues.

“I think in general how we manage that channel is something that frankly we just haven’t done as well as we should have. And our sales tools and how easy we make it for perspective customers to figure our product, have access to the dealers, have a natural way to help customers move to our product is just something we didn’t do well.”

This could cover a lot of ground from advertising to website performance to in-store marketing material to how dealership personnel interact with customers from first contact to sale.

Marc Cesare, SVR

Can-Am Market Share Increases

2019 Can-Am Defender HD8

New models like the 2019 Can-Am Defender HD8 help increase Can-Am market share.

Can Am Defender Max

Can Am Defender Max

BRP Reports Strong Fiscal Q2 Earnings  

BRP Inc., manufacturer of Can-Am vehicles announced strong earnings for their fiscal second quarter (ending July 31, 2018) and improved Can-Am market share for their side-by-side business. Management reported an increase in revenue of 18% to $1,207 million from $1,023 million (In Canadian $) as well as increased profit margins.

Ahead of Strategic Plan 

Since implementing their strategic plan in 2015 Can-Am has steadily made inroads in the side-by-side market. Management set the goal of doubling Can-Am market share for the North American side-by-side market from approximately 10% to 20% by 2020. They are on track to reach that goal in 2019 instead of the original 2020 target year.

Recent Can-Am UTV Launches Source: Can-Am Presentation 9/10/2018

Product Development Drives Can-Am Market Share Success

The company drove this rapid growth by launching a host of new models to maintain competitiveness in existing market segments or to enter new segments. They typically launch new models every six months. The Defender lineup of UTVs is an example of entering new segments. The Defender not only attacked the work/utility segment where Can-Am needed a presence, but opened up under represented geographic markets. The company reports US side-by-side dealer network coverage increased over 50% over four years. They also added trail and sport models for the recreational segment while continuing to produce competitive high-end performance side-by-sides as well.

Can-Am Emerges as Main Polaris Competitor

While still far from the market share of market leader Polaris, Can-Am has established itself as the main competitor to Polaris, outpacing the likes of Yamaha, Honda, John Deere and others. This applies to not only to the side-by-side market but in other product segments as well including ATVs, 3-wheelers and snowmobiles. Both companies have also entered the boating market with recent acquisitions. (BRP; Polaris) Can-Am is one of the few side-by-side manufacturers that comes close to the breadth of models that Polaris offers across all the market sub-segments. Management’s intentions are to continue to build out their product lineup.

Earnings Call Highlights

The following are highlights from the earnings call and presentation. Unless noted comparisons are to the same quarter of the previous year.

  • Revenues were up in North America (NA) and all intl markets
  • NA retail sales for Seasonal and Year-round business segments increased 16%
  • All product segments are outgrowing respective industries
  • Year Round business which includes SxS, ATV and Spyder products increased by 26% from $440.4 to $554.0
  • NA side-by-side retail jumped low 30% vs. low teen % for industry for the quarter
  • NA 2018 SSV industry up high single digits percent for recently ended model year while Can-Am jumped mid 30%
  • Management reports gaining over 2.5% in market share in NA side-by-side market for the 2018 season
  • Can-Am SxS up 25% in all  international markets:  Europe/Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
  • Management states:  “We are seeing solid growth across the lineup, and the popularity of our specialized models such as the Defender LONE STAR, the Maverick X3 rock crawler and our mud-ready Maverick X3 and Defender is helping us deliver superior profitability for us and our dealers.
  • Management increased guidance for Year Round business to up 18-21% from previously guided 12-15%
  • Can-Am has more than doubled their side-by-side retail volume since 2015 with 6 new platform introduced over the past 3 years and on target to reach 2020 goals one year in advance
  • Room to grow in the Defender side-by-side segment
  • Some cost pressures from commodity prices and freight costs

Learn more:  Earnings Call Transcript

Honda Recalls 65,000 Pioneer 1000 UTVs

The 2016 Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS is one of the models being recalled.

Honda is recalling approximately 65,000 Pioneer 1000 utility vehicles because potential muffler overheating may cause a plastic heat shield to melt or catch fire. Consumers should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact a Honda powersports dealer for a free inspection and repair. Honda is contacting all known purchasers directly. The recall involves model year 2016, 2017 and some 2018 three passenger and five passenger Pioneer 1000 vehicles. The vehicles were sold from October 2015 through April 2018. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Hazard:  The muffler can overheat, causing the plastic heat shield to melt or catch fire, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Remedy:  Repair

Recall date:  May 15, 2018

Units:  About 65,000

Consumer Contact:  American Honda toll-free at 866-784-1870 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or online at http://powersports.honda.com and click on “Recall Information” at the bottom of the page for more information.

Recall Details

Description:  This recall involves all model year 2016 through 2017, and some model year 2018 Honda Pioneer 1000 Vehicles. The recalled vehicles were sold in various colors including: red, blue, green, gray and yellow. The name “HONDA” is on the front, sides and the rear of the vehicle. The model name Pioneer 1000 is printed on a label located on both sides of the vehicle, near the rear. The serial number (VIN #) is stamped in the frame at the left rear, below the tilt-up bed/seat. The following model numbers and serial number ranges are being recalled:

 

MY Model VIN Start
2016 Pioneer 1000 3P

(SXS10M3*)

1HFVE04**G4000001 — 1HFVE04**G4008403
2016 Pioneer 1000 5P

(SXS10M5*)

1HFVE04**G4000001 — 1HFVE04**G4010507
2017 Pioneer 1000 3P

(SXS10M3*)

1HFVE04**H4100001 — 1HFVE04**H4102101
2017 Pioneer 1000 5P

(SXS10M5*)

1HFVE04**H4100001 — 1HFVE04**H4103000
2018 Pioneer 1000 3P

(SXS10M3*)

1HFVE04**G4200001 — 1HFVE04**G4203360
2018 Pioneer 1000 5P

(SXS10M5*)

1HFVE04**G4200001 — 1HFVE04**G4207379

* Variable character

Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact an authorized Honda Powersports dealer to schedule an appointment for a free inspection and repair. Honda is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries:  The firm has received 22 reports of the muffler plastic heat shield melting and three reports of muffler plastic heat shield fires. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At:  Authorized Honda Powersports dealers nationwide from October 2015 through April 2018 for between $14,000 and $22,000.

Manufacturer(s):  American Honda Motor Company Inc., of Torrance, Calif.

Manufactured In:  United States

Recall number:  18-742

Learn More:  CPSC.gov

SVR’s Take:  This is another very large recall for the industry and once again related to an overheating and heat shield issue that can create a fire hazard. While massive recalls by Polaris have probably received the most attention in the industry, other manufacturers have had very large recalls as well.

Horsepower is one of the key vehicle specifications that manufacturers use to differentiate their offerings. This has created an atmosphere of one-upsmanship regarding engine size with each vehicle introduction trying to outdo the last in terms of horsepower. Given the large number of recalls in recent years related to overheating and/or fire hazards one has to wonder if the industry’s expertise in engine technology has outpaced their expertise in handling the additional heat output by these increasingly powerful engines. SVR has been tracking utility vehicle recalls for the past several years.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Polaris Q4 2017 Earnings

2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS

The 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS helped drive sales for the quarter and the year.

Polaris Industries reported quarterly revenue of $1.431 billion and annual revenue of $5.429 billion, representing increases of 18% and 20% respectively compared to last year. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter increased 25% driven by higher volume, lower promotional spend and operating expense leverage. For the year a 39% increase in earnings per share was driven by a combination of increased volume, an improvement in gross margins and a lower tax rate.

The following are highlights of the earnings call related to small, task-oriented vehicles.

  • ORV sales increased 14% in Q4 and 9% for the year
  • Average ORV selling price was up 4% for the quarter
  • ORV retail was up for the year but down for the 4th quarter as retail unit sales of Off-Road Vehicles were down just under 1%
  • Ranger sales were up for the quarter with strong demand for the new Ranger XP 1000 lineup
  • RZR sales declined for the quarter driven by “tapped demand and limited product availability”
  • For the quarter the ramp up of Ranger and RZR production was slower than expected in part attributed to the new quality initiative. This manifested as a production issue with a four-wheel drive component on the Ranger XP 1000, which was originally not up to the company’s quality standard.
  • Continued roll out RFM inventory and ordering system for side-by-sides and should be fully optimized by the second quarter
  • North American industry side-by-side growth was strong in Q4 but ATVs down.
  • Utility side of ORV is expected to grow but there is stiff competition on the RZR side which will not grow as much as competition increases
  • Agriculture markets were down in the fourth quarter and oil markets were up slightly, but there was no “substantial shift” in buying patterns.
  • In the side-by-side market decreased pricing is offset somewhat by decreased promotional costs and there is some commodity pricing pressures
  • Australia was a strong market as buyers switch from ATVs to UTVs
  • Global Adjacent Markets sales increased 19% in the fourth quarter, driven by strong growth in Aixam and Goupil, as well as continued strong sales growth in Government and Defense
  • For the year Global Adjacent Markets revenue reached almost $400 million including PG&A
  • Average selling price for Adjacent Markets increasing 14% for the quarter
  • For the full year Global Adjacent Markets sales increased 16% with all business lines growing
  • In Europe there is strong demand for small, inner-city delivery vehicles including electrics and that demand is increasing in the US as well
  • “More autonomous activities with both the military and Taylor-Dunn platforms than anywhere else in the company”

Guidance for 2018

  • Total company sales are expected to be up in the range of 3% to 5% with ORV market expected to be up
  • ORV market share is expected to be stable with continued momentum from Ranger and General product lines
  • ORV/Snowmobile sales are expected to be up low to mid-single digits with Snow about flat and ORV and PG&A sales up
  • Global Adjacent Markets sales are expected to be up mid single-digit percent with growth expected in all businesses.
  • The new long-term strategic targets for the company as a whole are 5% compounded annual growth rate for revenues and 15% for earnings
  • Management will be focusing on cost leadership more while maintaining innovation

Learn more:  Seekingalpha.com (Earnings Call Transcript)

Polaris Recall Issues with RZR 900 & 1000 Models Persists

2016 Polaris RZR 900 EPS

The 2016 Polaris RZR 900 EPS is one of a number of previously recalled models still experiencing issues despite being repaired.

Polaris continues to have recall issues related to their RZR 900 and 1000 which were previously recalled. According to a joint statement issued by CPSC and Polaris, some vehicles that had been repaired under the recall are still experiencing fires. In addition 2017 RZRs not included in the recall are experiencing fires as well. The original recall was initiated in April 2016  and covered model year 2013 – 2014 RZR XP 900, 2014 – 2016 RZR XP 1000, 2015 – 2016 RZR 900 & S 900, and 2016 RZR S 1000 vehicles. The recall involved approximately 133,000 vehicles.

Polaris can’t seem to shake their recall issues. According to management they have put additional manpower and resources into addressing the issue in a systematic way to improve product development, quality control and issue tracking. What is not known is if these issues are related to previous systemic problems before new processes and people were put into place or if they show that problems still persists after the changes were made, which would be more worrisome. SVR has been tracking recalls from Polaris and other manufacturers.

The following is the joint statement from the CPSC and Polaris.

12/19/2017 10:54:00 AM
Joint Statement of CPSC and Polaris on Polaris RZR 900 and 1000 Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs)
Minneapolis, MN (December 19, 2017) – The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Polaris are informing the public about fires on model year 2013–2017 Polaris RZR 900 and 1000 Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs). These fires have caused death, serious injuries, and property damage.

Most of these vehicles were voluntarily recalled by Polaris in April 2016 to address fire hazards (https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2016/polaris-recalls-rzr-recreational-off-highway-vehicles-due).

However, users of the vehicles that were repaired as part of the April 2016 recall continue to report fires, including total-loss fires. The 2017 RZRs were not included in the April 2016 recall, but these models have also experienced fires.

The CPSC and Polaris continue to work together to ensure fire risks in these vehicles are addressed. However, at this time, the CPSC and Polaris want to make the public aware of the fires involving these vehicles.

The CPSC advises consumers to report any fire or overheating-related incidents at: www.SaferProducts.gov or the CPSC Hotline at 1-800-638-2772.