Baird: Dealers report high overall satisfaction with Polaris

Publish Date: 
Jul 7, 2014
By Vince Guerrieri

Dealers of Polaris products appear to be among the most satisfied in the powersports industry, according to a new Dealernews/Baird research survey of Polaris dealers.

73.0

Dealer Sentiment Index (Current)

Dealers had a satisfaction index of 73 (out of 100) about current conditions, and an index of 81 on three-to-five year outlook. Dealers also registered 92 on Polaris’ innovation.

 “We feel very good about being a Polaris dealer,” one dealer said. “Their innovation is great, promotions are good.”

The lowest dealer sentiment was 69, on return on investment. One dealer attributed the lower ROI to Polaris having “the largest group of discounters in the industry.”

Demand was up, with Indian motorcycles leading the way, dealers said, but while innovation increased demand, weather, government and local economy were factors that decreased demand.

But Brutus vehicles and Victory motorcycles were seeing demand slack off, and were losing market share as well. One dealer said that since Polaris relaunched the Indian line in 2013, “Victory is now an afterthought.”

81.0

Dealer Sentiment Index (3-5 year)

Inventory was trending toward too high, particularly in Victory, Brutus and snowmobiles, but 54 percent of dealers said that Polaris will gain share of their inventory budget. However, that might be a consequence of OEM demands, rather than customer demand.

“The increase in inventory levels is overloading the dealerships, which causes dealers to sell units below invoice just so they will have room to stock incoming inventory," one dealer said.

“Polaris does not know what my marketplace will bear, but insists on jamming product down my throat," another said.

A total of 148 dealers responded to the survey. Polaris will report its second quarter results on July 22, before the company’s dealer meetings July 27-30 in Minneapolis, where new models will be revealed.

Dealers were also asked what they expected to see at the dealer meetings, and they responded with new Indian models, Slingshot (Polaris’ three-wheel motorcycle) and an expanded lineup of ACE off-road vehicles.