When BRP introduced its funny-looking three-wheel Can-Am Spyder last winter, the response from powersports folks was — well, let's just say reserved. The road-ready Spyder looked cool, but it reminded many of a snowmobile with two front wheels and one rear wheel. Was it a motorcycle/sidecar replacement, a trike or a very unusual small car?
Experienced bike riders said it was too tame for them, but BRP countered by saying it wasn?t for the hard-core motorcyclist. It was aimed at men aged 35 to 40 who are image-conscious and enjoy speed.
BRP?s stated goal last spring was to have 2,500 orders for the Spyder in September before production began in October. That meant 2,500 consumers had to put down a $1,000 deposit on a $15,000 machine they couldn't have for about six months, one that was in a new category and that was available from only 150 dealers scattered across 12 states and four Canadian provinces.
When Dealernews checked with BRP executives and dealers last month regarding consumer response to the Spyder, we found lots of happy people. More than 2,500 customers slapped down deposits — BRP wouldn't say how many more — and one Southwest dealer who held 100 deposits said he could have sold two or three times that many.
Orders placed today for the Spyder will be delivered next spring; BRP's Spyder production is booked through next April.
BRP ran an aggressive marketing launch for the Spyder. Its media program generated more than 90 million impressions without any paid advertising, says Marc Lacroix, product and public relations manager for the Spyder.
The media were "nontraditional" powersports media that exposed BRP and its Spyder to a much bigger marketplace than the one in which the Valcourt, Quebec, manufacturer of snowmobiles and PWC normally operates.
BRP also gave more than 22,000 demo rides of the Spyder from May through September. Next year, there will be more demos in more states. ?To try the Spyder is to believe,? says Lacroix.