Dealer Sentiment Index May-July 2014: Comments

Publish Date: 
Aug 12, 2014

COMMENTS from BRP/Can-Am dealers responding to the latest Dealer Sentiment Index survey:

RETAIL CONDITIONS:

BRP has several products that are in demand across most segments. The Spark has been a sales success but we now have a large recall to deal with. I worry about how that will affect next season. Broken handle bars and engine failures can damage the brand. SSV has been strong but the new OMS ordering system is pushing too much inventory down the throat of the dealers. Spyder has been about flat for us but we also had a tremendous amount of non-currents to work through, which has had a huge negative impact on margins.”

The Spark is working, but demand far outweighed supply, and the marketing campaign hurt our image because supply was so low.
 
I think the only way BRP will penetrate the strong hold Polaris has on the SxS market is to tailor machines to different regions of the country, just like they did with the Summit.”
 
The new Outlander L should be a good impact in the agriculture industry. I don't think BRP realizes how much the agriculture industry impacts sales. BRP is geared too much towards the enthusiast rather than the market of people that use their machines for nearly everyday work.
 
Coming out with inexpensive products gets the attention of consumers but it takes away from profit margin of higher priced units, and leaves [the] dealer with no profitability.
 
The introduction of the Spark has increased our demand for PWC's, but the lack of inventory of these units hurt our sales potential.
 
Polaris has had an incredibly strong showing for the 2015 lineup. Price points on their products and name recognition work strongly in their favor. BRP needs to shift from what is really fun, to what sells: bench seats.
 
Seeing strong gains vs. Polaris in off-road, but [we] need a bench seat to compete with the Ranger. 
 
Need a Commander with a bench seat and a wider/longer box.
 
Spyder continues to be strong but an all-new model is definitely needed. The 1330 motor was great and helped sales of 2014 RTs but not as much as we thought it would since it was such an improvement over the 990. To attract more new buyers or convince someone to trade in their current Spyder, if they haven’t already, we need to see something exciting and new for next year which I believe BRP will unveil this fall.
 
ATVs remain strong but Polaris just introduced a strong lineup at their dealer meeting. I think the Polaris 350cc price point machine will be a strong seller for them and something BRP needs to go after.”
 
The Mavericks and Commanders are holding their own against the RZR and Rangers in our store, but hopefully they get a fairly substantial makeover for next year. The performance is right in there, but we hear constantly that people prefer the appearance of the RZR, especially in the 1000 four-seater over the Maverick. 
 
Product availability hurt sales, not demand. We could have sold 50 more Sparks if we had them.”
 
Spark is working - great idea. Hopefully for 2015 demand will still exceed supply and can make some money on this model. 
 
New cheap Spark model hurt demand for normal priced PWCs. BRP only advertised Spark, even when no units were available. What's the point of growing a market that has zero margin for dealers? We still have the majority of standard PWC in stock this late in the season. Worse yet, the Spark product order requirements included a PG&A display, and an accessories and clothing order that cost the dealer as much or more than any sales could offset. 
 
We will miss 2015 sales due to late delivery for our market and issues with OMS ordering system and allocation.
 
The BRP PG&A order plan is a joke. I am forced to order a dollar amount of what they tell me to do, or I am penalized. I have four other OEMs with PG&A programs and I am free to order as much or as little as I want.
 
XMRs are selling well. The mid-range lineup is down, but hopefully the new L models will boost sales in this market.
 
Spyder RTs have sold well [due to a] combination of non-current rebates and the new RT platform.

CREDIT and PROMOTIONS:

Promotions for PWC were late and low. BRP was too busy trying to convince its dealers that Spark was not affecting other PWC price points [and the] season slipped away.

BRP promotions have been strong, particularly with prior-year Spyders. We have appreciated the help but they have not generated the crush we expected, and these promos have hurt the used market. Credit seems to be more available locally; higher customer participation has been the trend.

INVENTORY CONDITIONS

They are gaining share in unit inventory because of the strength of the brand. They still push too hard on minimum levels and need to understand each dealer's market better before ‘forcing’ us to order.
 
PAC is out of control, the minimum levels they set forth are just unrealistic and force dealers to discount heavily just to try and move through it. This hurts the strength of the dealer network and cheapens the brand as a whole.
 
We have to order product we don’t want. Their PG&A needs to learn to come up with programs that make us want to buy their product, not force us to buy it based on certification and trying to make money in another department. They have taken away all the things we should be focusing on. They wouldn’t sell half of their PG&A if we could order what we can sell, and not what we can buy and put in a storage room.
 
The new order system is much better than the twice-a-year ordering.
 
BRP has an inventory stocking plan that borders on blackmail. You have to order and stock loads of accessories for every line regardless of your area market, then while you do have the option to do a return at the end of six months or so, the freight is so expensive that it makes no sense to send back most of the bigger items. Then, regardless of what you still have in stock, you have to order a bunch more if you want to keep free freight on your parts orders and all the other ’benefits’ they ascribe to being a certified program dealer. The only people winning on this deal are the freight companies!
 
If it sells, we are stocking it.
 
Don't like their policy of linking orders to how much they pay for warranty repairs.