Archive for the ‘all-terrain vehicle’ Category

Surging Mower Sales: Good News for Powersports?

June 14, 2010

Joe Delmont

Now, that’s a good question.

If a homeowner is willing to pop for a $10,000 deluxe lawn mower, does that mean he’s likely to spend a similar amount for a motorcycle or a SxS vehicle this year? Or does it mean that the purchase of one fancy motor machine is enough for now? I don’t have the answer, but I just the fact that consumers are spending 10,000 bucks for a machine with more power and features than they need— really an unnecessary purchase— seems to bode well for our industry. It could be another positive sign of sales improvement over the next few months.

The Wall Street Journal today reports that after double digit decreases for the past two years, U.S. shipments of riding mowers are expected to climb more than six percent over the next two years. At John Deere, for example, sales are “far exceeding” forecasts, according to the story.

We’re not talking basic grass cutters here; the machines that sell have iPod compartments, chrome hub caps, comfortable seats, plenty of power and agility and sell for more than $10,000. “It goes well beyond cupholders,” notes a representative of the popular Cub Cadet brand.

(more…)

Advertisements

Italian Motorcycle/ATV Show Opens in China

June 10, 2010

Friday is Kick-Off Day in Beijing, China, for an innovative new international motorcycle and ATV show and conference driven by—hold on here— the Italian motorcycle industry. “EICMA China—The Motorcycle Show,” runs Friday through Sunday, June 13,2010. It’s the first ever show for EICMA outside of Italy. EICMA is best known for putting on the the world’s largest motorcycle show every November in Milano, Italy, when several hundred thousand consumers and trade representatives walk the floors looking at the latest machines and accessories.

The trade fair and conference being held at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre of Beijing is an alliance of EICMA and two major Chinese partners: the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Motorcycle (CCCM) and Genertec Advertising& Exhibition Co.Ltd. The goals of the event are to show foreign products to the Chinese market and to bring together representatives of several countries to discuss powersports issues relating to motorcycles and ATVs.

On the motorcycle side, the 6.5 hour China International Motorcycle Industry Summit will focus on emissions and on building the Chinese market for motorcycles. A motorcycle ban was instituted in Beijing in 1985 and expanded has been expanded to more than 170 cities in China. It’s estimated that the ban reduced sales by 4 million units annually.

(more…)

BRP’s New SxS Aims at Polaris’ RZR

June 7, 2010

Can-Am Commanders Feature Power, Performance, Utility

The Can-Am Commander 1000 X tops 72 mph with its 85 hp Rotax EFI V-twin.

BRP’s Can-Am Commander, the high powered 1000cc side-by-side vehicle that has had the market buzzing for weeks, finally was rolled out at the BRP dealer meeting in Reno last night.

There will be five models: the Commander 800R and 800XT and the Commander 1000, 100XT and 1000X. The X model gets the high performance package and special graphics.

So, what’s to add after all the Internet talk and spy photos? Some facts, a bit of perspective and a forecast, perhaps. I recently spoke at length with Yves Leduc, vice president and general manager for BRP’s North America Division, and others at the company and throughout the industry about the machine and its impact on this very important industry segment. Here’s what I found out and what I think the impact of this machine will have on the segment.

Yves Leduc

First of all, the folks in Valcourt are taking dead aim at their neighbors in Minnesota, and it sounds like they have the ammunition to make life difficult for Polaris, the makers of this year’s oh, so hot RZR.

Make no mistake, when BRP executives use the term, “no compromise” in describing the new Commander SxS family, they mean it’s going to outperform Polaris in every way possible. And from what I can gather—without having ridden or even seen the Commander first hand— they may have done just that.

Yamaha’s Rhino, the machine that launched the Rec-UT category, isn’t much of a player at this time, given consumer reluctance to get too close to the lawsuit-prone vehicle. And Yamaha hasn’t made any significant changes since the 2009 model year. So, it really comes down to BRP’s Commander against the Polaris RZR lineup.

One experienced off-road rider, who is very close to Polaris, says the Commander is a better performer, is better engineered and has better fit and finish. At about the same MSRP, that’s going to make a show floor buying decision pretty easy, even for die-hard Polaris fans.

Here’s just one pre-launch quote I pulled from a Polaris forum: “If they put a 900 Rotax in (the Commander), I would be tempted (to buy it).” Well, hello. The Commander 1000 comes with a 1000cc, EFI V-Twin Rotax. There you go.

And the Commander 1000X performance package carries an MSRP of $14,699 vs Ranger RZR S at $13,999 with only a 760cc EFI V-twin, generating 55 hp and a top speed of 63 mph. It has a carrying capacity of 300 lbs. The Commander generates 83 hp, has 600 lbs carrying capacity, 1,500 towing capacity, and a top speed of 72-mph to 75 mph, a BRP official told me. The RZR does have better ground clearance at 12.5 inches vs. 11 inches for the Commander, and the Commander is heavier at 1,200 lbs vs. 1,100 pounds for the RZR.

One interesting feature is the Commander’s two level cargo bed with a 600 lb carrying capacity, 400 lbs up, and another 200 lbs below in a lockable storage bin with a removable divider.

Here’s another unique engineering twist: Both passenger and driver seats can be easily removed for free-standing use in the field. Why sit on the ground, when you can pull the padded seats from your SxS and relax in them? It’s one of those ideas, like, why didn’t I think of that?

BRP Rollout Plans

“We said at the end of 2007 that we would have a side-by-side in 2010, and here we are,” Yves Leduc, BRP’s Can-Am chief, told me last week. “Despite the worst recession in history, we stayed the course. We could have postponed this project, but, instead, we made it a priority.”

Leduc likes the way the timing worked out. “If you compare our entry here with our ATV entry in 1999, it’s two different worlds. With ATVs, we entered a mature market with six very strong competitors.”

Now, BRP has several things going for it, says Leduc:

  • Very strong recognition for the Can-Am brand.
  • A dynamic and changing market segment for performance machines.
  • Limited competition, essentially only Polaris.
  • A unique segment that provides the best features of performance and utility machines.

“Clearly, we saw an opportunity to define the segment, a no compromise segment, when we started looking at this three years ago,” says Leduc. And it appears they did just that.

The Commander lineup, says BRP, feaures “the best handling in the industry” with power and work capacity. “It’s not an extreme sport vehicle,” says Leduc, “it’s a comfortable sport package, one that allows you to get the maximum out of the vehicle.”

BRP’s target buyer? “It’s the enthusiast; that’s clearly the buyer for the Can-Am, they tend to make it part of their lifestyle. That’s the emerging buyer for the SxS, many of whom never owned an ATV. We’re also targeting hunters and fishermen and large estate owners, who want the best.”

The Can-Am lineup will be rolled out to about two-thirds of the company’s dealer network in all states right away. He wouldn’t tell me how many dealers will receive machines or how many will be available this summer.

Limited distribution will begin in July, mostly to Quebec dealers, and demo rides are planned across the U.S. this summer. Full production will begin this fall in Mexico, accompanied by a major advertising blitz.

“The idea,” says Leduc, “is for us to get feedback from this first generation of users as we start shipping and adjust as we go along.”

At the same time that North American dealers get the machine, it will be launched internationally in all countries in which BRP has direct distribution, including Germany, Austria, the UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, New-Zealand, and Japan. Then it will be sent to BRP’s authorized distributors, reaching a total of more than 50 countries.

The Can-Am Commander 1000 XT will be homologated for use on European roads.

BRP doesn’t have an electric model, nor a four-seater to match Polaris, and there aren’t any coming as part of this launch. “But,” says Leduc, “you can count on BRP continuing to improve the lineup.”

So, the battle is joined. JD

Contact me with news tips and story ideas at jdelmont@dealernews.com or 952/893-6876.

Can-Am Introduces Air Suspension in ATV Line

June 4, 2009
CanAm_OUTLANDERMAXEFILTD800

Outlander MAX 800R EFI LTD.

BRP’s 2010 Can-Am ATV line-up features models that come with the industry’s first air-controlled suspension system (ACS) and a new Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) with dual-mode, speed-sensitive power assist and next-generation Visco-Lok QE automatic front differential.

The ACS comes on the Outlander MAX 800R EFI LTD (MSRP $13,449). The compressor that activates the six-position, rider-selectable ACS system can also be used to fill tires while on the trail. The speed sensitive, dual-mode DPS and revised, quicker-engaging Visco-Lok QE front differential come on select Outlander and Renegade models.

Other model changes and technology updates to the Can-Am ATV line for 2010:

Renegade 800R X xc – The new Renegade package for the serious trail rider comes with a host of features: full beadlock wheels, premium suspension, dual-mode DPS power steering and a front sway bar.

XT-P Package – Gives the rider all the previous Outlander XT package features, but adds more value with painted plastic and package-exclusive cast-aluminum wheels.

More Outlander 650 Power – A revised calibration on the Rotax 650 powerplant helps generate seven percent more power than last year’s engine.

No Logic in CPSC’s Tips Provided to Momlogic

March 25, 2009

The website momlogic.com recently posted a piece about the dangers posed to kids who ride ATVs.

Titled “ATV Death a Wakeup Call to Moms”, the article is largely a chronicle of children’s deaths associated with ATV riding. All the kids mentioned were under the age of 16 except for one.cpsc_kidquad

At the bottom of the piece, momlogic.com provides guidelines for reducing the risks involved with ATVs. The guidelines come from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Of the six guidelines offered, one is to “not allow children to ride or drive adult ATVs. Kids under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as children riding on youth ATVs.”

So lets get this straight: The CPSC, the organization that outlawed youth-sized ATVs via the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, recommends children recreate only on youth-sized ATVs.

Can’t they see the disconnect?

Inventor Patents Passenger ‘Safety Grips’

March 9, 2009

An inventor from Portland, Ore., has patented an accessory that he says would help passengers of motorcycles, ATVs and personal watercraft hold on to the operator.

Inventor service company InventHelp publicized the product, but failed to name its inventor client. outmax800refixt1

The “Safety Grips” (not to be confused with the previously released “Buddy Belt”) consist of a nylon, padded belt that is secured via hook-and-loop fasteners. Sewn into the rear of the belt would be a pair of upright handles facing the passenger. In use, the operator would adjust the belt to fit his or her waist, and the passenger grips the handles throughout the duration of the ride.

According to InventHelp, the inventor was inspired to create the Safety Grips after an off-roading trip. “We used this belt while riding quads on sand dunes at the beach, and we got a lot of positive feedback from both passengers and operators,” he said.

Lets hope the inventor was riding the ATV in the prescribed manner – in other words, not riding two-up on a single rider vehicle. Existing two-up ATVs, from BRP and Arctic Cat, come supplied with multi-position passenger grab rails and backrest.

Wanted: Copy Editor

February 6, 2009

Has anyone else noticed the photo used on Parts Unlimited’s 2009 Street Catalog features a rider in a Speed & Strength jacket?

I visited Hitching Post, my local dealership, this morning to kick some tires and talk shop. The dealership received its 2009 PU Street catalog yesterday. The PG&A guys thought I’d be interested in the cover art. I was.

Speed & Strength is a new apparel brand from Tucker Rocky Distributing.

Rhino Suits Beg the Question: Is Product or Driver to Blame?

February 4, 2009

The father of Michael Lane McCloud, passenger on a Yamaha Rhino that flipped over, landed on top of and killed the young man in August of 2008, filed suit in Dallas County on Monday.

Michael McCloud alleges that Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.,yamaharhino Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., are negligent for failing to exercise reasonable care for the safety of plaintiffs by negligently designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling the vehicle without the necessary safety features.

The lawsuit further alleges Yamaha is negligent for failing to exercise reasonable care for the safety of plaintiffs by negligently designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling the vehicle without the necessary safety features.

What McCloud’s attorney, Rob Ammons of Houston-based Ammons Law Firm, failed to disclose in his Internet-posted press release was 1) how old the driver was, 2) in what manner the Rhino was being operated, and 3) whether the existing passenger restraints were being used.

One thing is for certain: Lawsuits pertaining to the Rhino side-by-side are mounting against Yamaha, and the OEM’s legal department is going to have to conduct a massive effort to defend the company from fault in a society where the call for litigation evidently trumps personal responsibility.

Court Nixes Lawsuit Opposed to ATVs in MN Forest

January 28, 2009

Common sense prevailed in Minnesota this week when a court decision rejected the Sierra Club’s challenge to the 2004 Revised Superior National Forest Plan.

The lawsuit included challenges to the analysis of potential impacts to the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, as well as the accuracy of the road and trail inventory used by the Forest Service. The decision, penned by U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz, ruled in favor of the Forest Service and concluded that the agency had not acted arbitrarily or capriciously in adopting the broad prescriptions of the Revised Forest Plan.

The All Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), along with the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), both recreation advocacy groups, intervened in the case on the side of the Forest Service.

The Superior Forest released a formal Travel Management Plan in December 2008, which designates areas, roads and trails for vehicle travel. Under agency regulations, that decision is subject to administrative appeal by those participating in the decision making process, including the Sierra Club, ATVAM, BRC and many others.

“We are certainly pleased by this outcome,” said Phill Morud of ATVAM. “Recreation is an increasingly dominant use of our National Forests and we feel this suit was an effort to delay and divert agency energy from active recreation management.”

“Thousands of visitors have a stake in effective management of the Superior, and with the dismissal of this suit hopefully we can all focus our attention on management of specific roads, trails, and areas of the Forest,” said Brian Hawthorne, BRC Public Lands Policy Director.

Want to help preserve our natural resources FOR the public instead of FROM the public? Click here to find out how you can assist.

Lambo ATV on Display in Tokyo

January 28, 2009

Check out this queer Lambo-look ATV on display at the Tokyo Auto Salon. The fellas over at Carzi say it’s produced by tuning house LB Performance and being shown to help advertise the company’s forthcoming aftermarket parts for the VW-owned Italian supercar manufacturer. I find the puke green color an appropriate choice.

LB Performance plans to begin selling this monstrosity in April for $20,000. Interested? Email the company at info@lbperformance.jp
carzi_lamboatv