Iowa Dealer Says Snowmobiles Have Lost Their Edge

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Some Iowa dealers say snowmobiling for recreation has lost its luster in the Midwest, where conditions and the tight economy mean snowmobiles are stored for all but a few weeks a year.

"People in the Midwest are frugal," Terry Taggart, part owner of Taggart Powersports north of Sioux City, Iowa, told the Sioux City Journal. "They don't want to spend $10,000 to $13,000 on a recreational vehicle that they might use, at best, a couple of weeks out of the year."

Taggart Powersports stopped stocking snowmobiles in 2007, but is a Polaris dealer and can order vehicles or parts for older models. But ATVs and Rangers have overtaken snowmobiles in popularity because of their year-round utility. Taggart’s daughter Cam says people put tracks on their ATVs and SSVs in the winter.

"Those vehicles are far more practical, especially for use among the farmers," she told the newspaper. "All they need to is take the wheels off, put the tracks on, and they've got a snowmobile. They can go everywhere with it."

Because of the switch, which the dealers estimate has been going on for a decade, some dealers have a glut of snowmobiles.

"You see this trend all over the Midwest," Terry Taggart says. "There's dealers who've had a few hundred snow sleds in inventory for the last four or five years because they can't move them."

Posted by Holly Wagner