INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - Retail sales of ATVs and side-by-sides continue to grow slowly in the second quarter, according to a survey of more than 35 Polaris and Arctic Cat dealers nationwide.
Longbow Research, a firm based in Independence, Ohio, said Polaris dealers reported ORV sales up 4 percent to 5 percent during the second quarter’s first two months when compared to the same period last year. Sales grew 2 percent in April and 6 percent in May, with dealers reporting particularly bad weather in April.
The quarter-to-date number represents a small step backward from the 5 percent to 7 percent growth reported by the same Polaris dealers during the first quarter, but is better than the 2 percent growth in March.
These Polaris dealers had reported double-digit sales increases for the 12 quarters previous to 2013.
Most of the Polaris dealers reported better availability of the Ranger XP 900, the most in-demand side-by-side, according to Longbow Research. Shortages had been reported since the model’s introduction last summer.
Arctic Cat shipments to surveyed dealers have been up sharply, but retail sales may not be able to keep up the pace. “We believe there is a disconnect with retail, where we are seeing lackluster sales for the segment, especially as we have now lapped the initial introduction of the Wildcat and are now shipping in Wildcat X and Wildcat 4 models that appear to be sparking meaningfully less interest,” said Longbow Research’s James Hardiman.
“While the Wildcat X does appear to be a step-up from the base Wildcat, dealers and customers alike appear to be balking at the incremental $1,500 price tag over the already premium-priced Wildcat,” Hardiman added.
Longbow Research predicted BRP will become a more aggressive player in the side-by-side market. “While sales of the Can-Am Maverick got off to a bit of a slow start, dealers have commented that sales picked up over the past few months,” Hardiman said. “Just a couple weeks ago, BRP priced its initial public offering on the Toronto stock exchange. Maverick is at the forefront of BRP’s plans to be an even more aggressive competitor in the critical side-by-side segment which all involved are likely to take more seriously given the company’s recent IPO.”
BRP this week announced a new four-seat Maverick and a new power steering system.
“The news is not universally positive for BRP, however, in that many of these sales appear to be at the expense of the company’s own Commander side-by-side,” Hardiman said.
Posted by Arlo Redwine. Photos courtesy Polaris and BRP