UTV sales expected to grow 12-15 percent

Publish Date: 
Jul 25, 2012
By Joe Delmont

RETAIL SALES OF UTVs in North America posted a gain of more than 15 percent in 2011, following a strong rebound in 2010, after coming off weak years in 2008 and 2009. The forecast for continued strong sales of side-by-side units for the next several years looks healthy, and sales could exceed 375,000 units by 2015, assuming that the U.S. economy grows by at least 2.3 percent to 3 percent during this period.

Sales have continued even stronger this year, although the numbers are likely to subside in the second half. In the first five months of 2012, retail UTV sales in the U.S. were running about 26 percent ahead of 2011 for select major OEMs being tracked. Sales have been up every month this year over the same months in 2011.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Retail sales of UTVs in the U.S. and Canada achieved a record level in 2011, blowing through the 280,000-unit barrier. The trend is expected to continue this year with sales in North America likely to climb another 12 to 15 percent, according to research developed by Power Products Marketing (PPM), which tracks retail sales and production activities of powersports companies. PPM has been tracking this UTV segment for 16 years by regularly talking with dealers, components suppliers and OEMs, as well as industry analysts. It also studies government data and UCC filings from EDA. This year, PPM interviewed more than 5,000 dealers. This report was produced by contributing editor Joe Delmont with assistance from PPM staff.

Polaris jumped out to another strong start in 2012, according to PPM surveys, maintaining its significant leadership position. In second place is Kawasaki, benefiting primarily from its new four-passenger Teryx, followed by Deere, with Kubota maintaining its fourth position. BRP appears to be losing ground with its Commander series sales to date, although the company is introducing a new electric Commander and later this year a four-passenger Commander 1000.

This activity represents a slight reshuffling from 2011 statistics. Retail sales in 2011 were led by Polaris, which recorded sales topping 100,000 units, up nearly 23 percent, according to PPM research. Polaris has increased its leadership position since 2007 and seems to have solidified its reputation as the dominant supplier in the UTV market with its broad product lineup.

Deere in 2011 climbed another 11 percent to nearly 34,000 units, holding onto its second place position in the North American market on the strength of its XUV825i crossover. Kubota last year jumped 15 percent to 25,800 units, nearly back to its 2009 level, dropping Kawasaki into fourth place with its sales of slightly less than 26,000 units.

Polaris continues to set the pace in the UTV segment, driven by its RZR and Ranger models. It is estimated to have sold about 38,000 RZR units in North America last year, up significantly from 31,000-plus units in 2010, many of which came from its 900XP model aimed directly at BRP’s Commander 1000. Late in the year, Polaris introduced a four-seat version of the 900XP for the 2012 model year. Additional RZR sales came from its four-passenger 800, introduced in 2010. Polaris also sold more than 4,000 of its mini RZR 170 model, up over a third from 2010.