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John Deere stops selling ATVs – August 14, 2006

August 14, 2006
Filed under Features

John Deere will exit the ATV business.
In a July 28 press release, Deere said it has not achieved an “acceptable level of profitability” with ATVs since it began selling them in 2004.
No John Deere jobs are affected because its ATVs were manufactured by BRP.
BRP began making ATVs for Deere in 2002. That relationship was severed in May 2005 because of low demand. A BRP spokesman said there would be no layoffs.
Bill Klutho, a manager of public relations with Deere, said the company worked with BRP to produce a work-oriented ATV. “Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve the market penetration or profitability we had hoped for,” he said.
Klutho said that after the relationship with BRP ended, Deere looked at a number of other companies to build the machines. None could be found. “We just couldn’t find an exact fit,” he said.
Klutho said the ATVs were a very small portion of the company’s bottom line, and with ATVs out of the way, Deere can give greater focus on the popular Gator line of UTVs.
Deere said it will honor all product warranties for the ATVs and will have parts available for 10 years. The company will no longer sell ATVs once dealer inventories are depleted.
Deere’s ATV models included the Buck, Buck EX, Buck EXT, Buck 500, Buck 500 Auto, Buck 650 Auto, Buck 650 EX Auto, Buck 650 EXT Auto. The Trail Buck line consisted of Trail Buck 500, Trail Buck 650, Trail Buck 650 EX and Trail Buck 650 EXT.
Deere’s exit from the industry did not cause much of a stir from dealership officials contacted by Powersports Business.
A manager with AG-Power, a six-store Deere dealership based in Terrell, Texas, said he sold less than 30 Deere ATVs in his stores last year. Losing the machines will not affect his business. “It’s nothing major,” said the manager, who asked not to be named.
He said Deere didn’t do enough to promote the ATV. “It was more of a working-style ATV rather than a fun and pleasure machine, which is what most people want,” he said.
He added that his Gator UTV sales remain strong.
Bob Wells, manager of the seven Highland Turf and Tractor stores in central Florida, said he never carried the ATVs. “They were never competitive price-wise,” with other ATV brands that sold for less than the Buck or Trail Buck series. He said the Deere brand worked against the ATVs.
“When people look for one of these things, they don’t think of Deere,” Wells said. “Deere is a destination store for people with lawn or construction needs. To change that, it takes a lot of advertising and Deere never did do a lot of that.” psb

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