Honda Unveils Four-Seat Talon Models

 Honda Talon 1000X-4 sport side-by-side
The new four-seat Honda Talon 1000X-4.

Honda recently unveiled their two new four-seat side-by-sides, the Talon 1000X-4 and Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve. The launch follows on the release of their two-seat models last year. The introduction of those side-by-sides marked Honda’s entry into the high end sport segment.

Talon 1000X-4

Not surprisingly, the Talon 1000X-4 is similar to the two-seat 1000X. Key features include:

  • 999cc four-valve Unicam® parallel-twin engine
  • Six-speed dual clutch transmission with full automatic, sport automatic and manual drive modes
  • Steering column mounted paddle shifters
  • FOX Podium Quick Switch 3 shocks
  • 14.6″/15.0″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 4WD traction-aiding technology
  • Hill start assist
  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • Stadium style rear seating
  • Available in Metallic Grey/Pearl Red in Fall 2019
 Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve with sensor suspension
The Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve features a sensor driven suspension.

Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve

The Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve is similar to the Talon 1000X-4 but features a different suspension system. The system relies on multiple sensors to make adjustments 16 times per second for an improved ride and handling.

  • 999cc four-valve Unicam® parallel-twin engine
  • Six-speed dual clutch transmission with full automatic, sport automatic and manual drive modes
  • Steering column mounted paddle shifters
  • FOX Podium Quick Switch 3 2.5 shocks front and rear
  • Multiple sensor based shock adjustment for Normal and Sport drive modes
  • 14.6″/15.0″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • Electronic Launch Mode
  • 4WD traction-aiding technology
  • Hill start assist
  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • Stadium style rear seating
  • Available in  Pearl Red/Metallic Grey or Metallic Grey/Metallic Blue in Fall 2019

Honda has not released an MSRP for either vehicle at the time of this post.

SVR’s Take

The expansion of Honda’s Talon product line is to be expected. They didn’t enter this market segment last year to just sell a couple of models. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the addition of a narrower side-by-side or possibly some special edition models in six months time or certainly by a year from now. In only a few years the segment went from Polaris, Can-Am and Arctic Cat battling for market share to Yamaha and more recently Honda joining the fray. As a result, consumers now have more models and technology innovations from which to choose. In addition, the competition should keep the pricing down and the value proposition high. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

BRP Quarterly Results Strong

2019 Can-Am Defender HD8 help drive BRP quarterly results
Models like the Can-Am Defender HD8 features which was upgraded for MY2019 helped drive BRP sales.

BRP Quarterly Results Overview

BRP reported another strong quarter with revenues increasing 17% year over year to $1,334 billion (CA). Year-Round Products segment sales drove the BRP quarterly results for the first quarter of their 2020 fiscal year. In addition, sales increased across US, Canadian and International markets. Management reported that the company’s retail growth outpaced or at least matched industry growth around the globe.

UTV Related Highlights

The following are some of the highlights from the BRP quarterly results as they relate to the UTV market.

  • Similar to other OEMs, BRP noted that snowbelt weather hindered retail sales early in the quarter but rebounded later
  • Weather delayed sales rather than being permanently lost
  • Side-by-side North American retail sales increased high single digits compared to mid-single digits for the industry
  • Retail sales could have been higher except for constrained Defender UTVs supply
  • Management reported strong promotional activity from competitors during the quarter but the environment is improving
  • Side-by-side retail sales for the season(~ 10 months) are up high teens %
  • Globally, BRP side-by-side average selling price is flat and up slightly for YTD and quarter respectively
  • Defender sales have been particularly strong and supply remains tight
  • Management reports taking the most side-by-side market share in the industry for the season in both utility and sport segments
  • Market share is up in Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions as well
  • Do to supplier locations, China related tariffs minimally affect costs
  • BRP is launching a new side-by-side platform in June
  • Increased production capacity will be online
  • Management increased their guidance for FY2020 results, predicting revenue to increase 9% to 13%
  • Guidance for Year-Round Products which includes side-by-sides is for a 14% to 19% increase

Learn more: Earnings call transcript (seekingalpha.com)

SVR’s Take

BRP continues to be the main challenger to Polaris in the side-by-side market. Between the two of them they control around 60% of the market. With both growing market share for the most part, many of the other manufacturers are likely suffering. The success of the Can-Am Defender line, particularly in agriculture markets, is likely hurting companies such as Kubota and John Deere.

New Bobcat UTVs Announced

Diesel powered Bobcat UV34 utility vehicle
The new 2019 Bobcat UV34 utility vehicle features upgrades to the suspension, chassis and cabin.
Diesel powered Bobcat UV34XL utility vehicle
The new six passenger Bobcat UV34XL utility vehicle is diesel powered and features a number of upgrades.

Bobcat UTVs Overview

Bobcat has launched two new diesel powered UTVs for 2019 with a new chassis, improved suspension and high towing capacity. The UV34 and UV34XL feature a 23.5 hp, liquid cooled diesel engine that is Tier 4 emissions compliant. Towing capacity has been increased to 2,500 lbs. In addition, these models have new shocks and springs and stronger drive components. The UV34 seats two and the UV34XL seats six.

Key Specs

Other key specs shared by both models include:

  • Turf, 2WD or 4WD drive modes
  • 1,250 lb. capacity cargo box with manual dump or optional power dump
  • Independent rear suspension with sway bar
  • 11.7″ of ground clearance
  • 35 mph maximum speed or limited to 15 mph or 25 mph with optional speed kit
  • Larger controls and instrument gauges
  • New cab design for easy entry and exit
  • Flip-up seat storage
  • Tilt steering

The UV34 starts at $16,406 and the UV34XL starts at $17,886. There was no mention of when the vehicles would be available at local dealers. A search of several Bobcat dealer websites did not show the utility vehicles as available yet.

SVR’s Take

The new utility vehicles are basically an upgrade of Bobcat’s 3400 diesel model. Those models have been around for several years without any significant changes. Given the increased competition in the market, the 3400 is likely looking a little dated compared to newer competitive offerings. For example, Can-Am’s Defender line has made inroads in the farm segment in particular. In addition, market leader Polaris is frequently updating different parts of their Ranger lineup. The new UV34 and UV34XL feature pricing slightly higher than the 3400 models.

Arctic Cat Recalls Havoc UTVs

Arctic Cat Havoc
The Arctic Cat (previously Textron Off Road) Havoc is being recalled due to a front suspension arm issue.

Havoc Recall Overview

Arctic Cat is recalling approximately 1,700 Havoc UTVs. The upper front suspension arms can fail and create a crash hazard. The recall pertains to vehicles sold from January 2018 to April 2019. Owners should contact Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair. Previously, the vehicles were sold under the Textron Off Road brand. Subsequently, Textron brought back the Arctic Cat brand as the umbrella brand for their off-road products.

Havoc Recall Details

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

Hazard

The upper front suspension arms can fail, posing a crash hazard.

Remedy

Repair

Recall date

May 22, 2019

Units

About 1,700

Description

This recall involves all model year 2018 and 2019 Textron Havoc recreational off-highway vehicles manufactured by Arctic Cat. The two-seat vehicles come in four color combinations: charcoal metallic/bronze, green/black, red/black or white/black. The vehicles have Textron Off Road printed on each side of the hood and Havoc on each side of the rear cargo box. Remedy: 

Consumer Contact

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair. Arctic Cat is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries

Arctic Cat has received six reports of front suspension arm failures. No crashes or injuries have been reported.

Sold At

Textron Off Road and Arctic Cat dealers nationwide from January 2018 through April 2019 for between $13,800 and $17,000.

Manufacturer(s)

Arctic Cat Inc., of Thief River Falls, Minn., a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga.

Manufactured In

United States

Recall number

19-746

SVR’s Take

The recall size is relatively small but probably represents a relatively large portion of the Havoc sales for the time frame. This is one of the few times a recall related to suspension arms has been an issue. After trying to put the Arctic Brand under the Textron Off Road brand, Textron Specialized Vehicles has now moved to put everything off-road under the Arctic Cat brand. Probably the right move, Arctic Cat has a lot more brand equity and recognition in the off-road segment than the relatively new Textron Off Road. SVR maintains an ongoing list of recent STOV recalls.

Tropos Motors and Panasonic Partner

Able pickup CUV from Tropos Motors
The Able electric compact utility vehicle from Tropos Motors in a pickup configuration.
Tropos Motors Able XR CUV
The Tropos Motors Able XR model with a view of the lithium battery packs.

Panasonic is partnering with electric compact utility vehicle manufacturer Tropos Motors to improve vehicle performance. Tropos Motors manufacturers the Able and Able XR electric compact utility vehicles that are low speed and electric powered. The Able features a 72V system with a 13 hp motor and gel lead acid batteries for a 50 mile range. In contrast, the Able XR uses lithium batteries in a 96V system with a 13 hp motor and a range of up to 160 miles.

Compact Utility Vehicle Niche

The electric compact utility vehicle (CUV) is part of the “right-sizing” trend in commercial vehicles. Smaller than a full-size pickup but larger and more capable than a modified golf car, CUVs are designed to be the right tool for the job. Or, in many cases, multiple jobs. In particular, they are useful on college and corporate campuses and urban environments where their smaller size is an advantage and a high top speed is less critical. Like many CUVs, a user has the option of limiting the Able models top speed to 25 mph. Therefore, with the proper safety options, they can be classified as street legal low speed vehicles.

Tropos Motors Capable and Versatile

Tropos Motors Able CUV trades package
The Tropos Motors Able CUV with the trades bed package.

The Able lineup has 1,100 lbs of payload capacity for the street version and 2,000 lbs for the campus version. Similarly, the towing capacity is 2,000 lbs and 3,000 lbs. Clearly they are capable of hauling and towing for a wide range of applications. Like many CUVs the Able lineup is versatile with their Easy-Swap system of bed packages to perform a wide range of on campus tasks. The bed packages include a pickup style, boxed van for hauling cargo, trades/maintenance configuration for carrying tools, a special sweeper package and a trio of emergency services packages.

Green and Cost Efficient

By virtue of their electric powertrains, electric CUVs can help organizations meet their sustainability goals while limiting air and noise pollution on campus. These smaller vehicles usually have a lower cost of purchase. Furthermore, the electric drive train also produces a lower cost of operation.

SVR’s Take

Currently, Tropos Motors is a relatively small manufacturer but landing Panasonic as a partner is big deal. What could be an important factor in the growth of this niche is the decreasing cost of lithium batteries. Partnering with Panasonic gives Trompos Motors access to a high volume lithium battery manufacturer. The trade-off between the range, performance and reduced maintenance of lithium batteries and their higher costs is key. As the price comes down, a wider set of applications become possible and less frequent re-charging is needed. The latter may also translate into less charging infrastructure needed. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Tariffs Affect STOV Market

Polaris 2019 RZR S4 1000 EPS
Tariffs have hit Polaris, the manufacturer of UTVs like the 2019 RZR S4 1000 EPS shown here, hard.

Tariffs Hit Polaris Hard

In a recent interview with CNBC Polaris CEO Scott Wine commented on the affects of the tariffs on the company. He stated that the increase to 25% would be “catastrophic”. The company previously estimated  that they would cost the company $40 million in the last fiscal year. At the 10% tariff level they were guiding towards an approximately $90 million hit for the current fiscal year. However, at the 25% level that would jump to $195 to $200 million. In addition to these China specific tariffs, other aluminum and steel tariffs hurt the company as well.

Polaris More Exposed

Polaris is in a particularly tough spot with the tariffs because of their supply chain relative to the other major UTV manufacturers. The major Japanese OEMs, Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki, mainly source their imported parts from Japan and thus avoid the onerous China tariffs. Can-Am produces products in Canada and Mexico and therefore, are less exposed to the tariff regime as well. Polaris on the other hand sources more of their components from China.

Farmer Segment Exposure

UTV manufacturers exposed to the farm segment are likely to suffer as well. Farmers report lower commodity prices and higher equipment prices. The tariffs are increasing farm equipment prices in the range of 20% according to some farmers. Although this refers to large pieces of farming equipment, if farmers are not spending on these large pieces and trying to cut costs in general, they are likely forgoing UTV purchases as well. John Deere and Kubota are likely the most effected brands as this is a strong segment for them. However, Can-Am could possibly be feeling an impact in their Defender line and Polaris in their Ranger line.

Some Value Brands Vulnerable

In the past few years value brands have made inroads at the lower end of the price scale. Many of these companies are sourcing parts or vehicles from China. For example, CFMOTO is based in China. In addition, Cub Cadet UTVs are manufactured by Hisun in China. Given their value pricing approach, the tariffs are likely putting some pressure on these companies. If they have to raise their prices too much, they lose their value proposition in relation to the major brands in the market.

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.

Stampede & Rustler UTVs Recalled

Textron Off Road Stampede 4
The Textron Off Road Stampede 4 is part of a recall due to a lower suspension arm issue.

Textron Off Road recently recalled approximately 700 model year 2018 Stampede and Rustler utility vehicles. The lower front suspension arm can fail and potentially cause a crash. The recall involves two-seat and four-seat models including the Stampede, Stampede 4, Rustler 850 and Rustler Crew 850. The following recall information is from the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Stampede & Rustler Recall Information

Name of product: Stampede and Rustler off-highway utility vehicles (ROV’s)

Hazard: The lower front suspension arm can fail, posing a crash hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: March 5, 2019

Units: About 700 (In addition, about 70 were sold in Canada.)

Consumer Contact: Arctic Cat at 800-279-6851 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.textronoffroad.com and click on Recall Information located at the bottom of the page for more information. 

Recall Details

Description: This recall involves all model year 2018 Stampede and Rustler model side by side Arctic Cat off-highway vehicles with VIN number 9003240 through 9004062. The recalled vehicles were sold in multiple colors, have four wheels and side-by-side seating for two or four people. The Stampede models have Textron Off Road on each side of the hood area and Stampede on each side of the box. The Rustler models have Rustler 850 on each side of the hood area and 4X4 on each side of the box. The Vin number is located under the front hood on all models.  

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact TSV/Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair. Arctic Cat is contacting all known purchasers directly. If you need assistance locating an authorized dealer to conduct this repair, contact Arctic Cat. 

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received four reports of front suspension arm failures. No injuries or crashes have been reported.

Sold At: Textron Off Road and Arctic Cat dealers nationwide from September 2017 through December 2018 for between $13,800 and $16,000.

Manufacturer(s): Arctic Cat Inc., of Thief River Falls, Minn., a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga

Manufactured In: United States

Recall number: 19-727

SVR’s Take

This is a small recall, but follows on the heels of another recent Textron Off Road recall. Textron produces the Rustler UTV for farm equipment manufacturer New Holland. The two companies partnered several years ago to produce utility vehicles. The partnership marries Textron’s vehicle manufacturing expertise with New Hollands farm oriented distribution network. SVR maintains an ongoing list of recent STOV recalls.

Havoc UTV Recall by Textron Off Road

Textron Off Road Havoc
Some 2019 Textron Off Road Havoc UTVs are being recalled because of a fuel line issue.

Textron Off Road recently announced the recall of approximately 200 model year 2019 Havoc utility vehicles. Fuel can leak from the fuel line and pose a fire hazard. The two-seat UTVs were sold from October 2018 through January 2019. Consumers should stop using the vehicles and contact an Arctic Cat dealer to schedule a free repair. The following recall information is from the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Havoc Recall Information

Name of product: Havoc off-highway utility vehicles (ROVs)

Hazard: Fuel can leak from the fuel line, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: March 5, 2019

Units: About 200

Consumer Contact: Arctic Cat at 800-279-6851 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online and click on Recall Information located at the bottom of the page for more information.

Recall Details

Description: This recall involves Model Year 2019 Textron Havoc off-highway utility vehicles manufactured by Arctic Cat. The two-seat vehicles come in three color combinations: Charcoal metallic/black, red/black or white/black. The vehicles have Textron Off Road printed on each side of the hood and Havoc on each side of the rear cargo box. Vehicle identification numbers (VIN) ending in 9007497 through 9007717 are included in this recall. The VIN is stamped under the vehicle’s front hood. 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Arctic Cat to schedule a free repair. Arctic Cat is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold at: Textron Off Road and Arctic Cat dealers nationwide from October 2018 through January 2019 for between $14,000 and $18,000.

Manufacturer(s): Arctic Cat Inc., of Thief River Falls, Minn., a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga.

Manufactured In: United StatesRecall number:19-726

SVR’s Take

This is a minor recall, but does again involve an issue with the fuel lines or fuel system. There have been at least six recalls from across the industry since early 2015 that involve fuel system problems. SVR maintains an ongoing list of recent STOV recalls.

Kawasaki Mule Pro Recall

Kawasaki Mule Pro
Kawasaki is recalling some Mule Pro UTVs because of an issue with the ROPS.

In December, Kawasaki announced the recall of approximately 1,000 Mule Pro utility vehicles. The vehicle’s ROPS can fail to protect occupants. The recall involves model year 2018 and 2019 Mule Pro DXT, DX, FXT, FX and FXR vehicles sold from August to September of 2018. The following are recall details from the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Recall Information

Hazard: The vehicle’s rollover protection structure (ROPS) can fail to protect consumers, posing an injury hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: December 6, 2018

Units: About 1,000

Remedy: Repair

Recall Date: December 6, 2018

Units: About 1,000

Consumer Contact: Kawasaki toll-free at 866-802-9381 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or online at www.Kawasaki.com and click on “Recalls” for more information.

Recall Details

Description: This recall involves 2018 and 2019 Mule Pro utility vehicles.  The four-wheel, off-highway utility vehicles were sold in black, green, white, red, bronze, silver, camo and blue. They have side by side seating for three to six people and automotive style controls. Mule Pro is printed on the right and left front fender. Kawasaki is printed on the cargo box. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is located on the steel frame between the right front lower A-arm mounts. 

Models Affected

Year       ModelModel CodeVin Range
2018Mule Pro-DXT (EPS)KAF1000AJFJKAAFCA1XJB501117 through JKAAFCA11JB501152 
2018Mule Pro-DXT (EPS)KAF1000BJF JKAAFCB18JB503625 through JKAAFCB18JB503642 
2018Mule Pro-DX (EPS)KAF1000EJF JKAAFCE1XJB502410 through JKAAFCE18JB502437 
2019Mule Pro-FXT(EPS/LE/Camo/Ranch)KAF820AKF JKBAFSA13KB501645 through JKBAFSA14KB501671 
2019Mule Pro-FXT(EPS/LE/Camo/Ranch)KAF820BKF JKBAFSB15KB513858 through JKBAFSB18KB514230 
2019Mule Pro-FXT(EPS/LE/Camo/Ranch)KAF820CKF JKBAFSC19KB513036 through JKBAFSC19KB513361 
2019Mule Pro-FXT(EPS/LE/Camo/Ranch)KAF820DKF JKBAFSD18KB506741 through JKBAFSD1XKB506787 
2019Mule Pro-FX (EPS/LE)KAF820FKF JKBAFSF13KB506336 through JKBAFSF10KB506603 
2019Mule Pro-FX (EPS/LE)KAF820GKF JKBAFSG18KB504354 through JKBAFSG1XKB504355 
2019Mule Pro-FXTKAF820JKF JKBAFSJ19KB508972 through JKBAFSJ15KB509343 
2019Mule Pro-FXRKAF820KKF JKBAFSK14KB504620 through JKBAFSK17KB504630 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled utility vehicles and contact a Kawasaki dealer to schedule a free repair. Kawasaki is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Sold At: Kawasaki dealers nationwide from August 2018 through September 2018 for between $13,000 and $17,000.

Importer(s): Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. of Foothill Ranch, Calif.

Distributor(s): Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. of Foothill Ranch, Calif.

Manufactured In: U.S.

Recall number: 19-722

SVR’s Take

This is a pretty small recall. Although, it is one of the few that involves the ROPS. The only other ROPS recall SVR has tracked since early 2015 involved the https://www.smallvehicleresource.com/blog/2018/09/05/polaris-recalls-rzr-xp-turbo-s-utvs/2018 RZR XP Turbo S. SVR keeps an ongoing list of most STOV related recalls.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresuource.com