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A look at side-by-side OEMs you may not be familiar with – October 16, 2006

October 16, 2006
Filed under Features

An increasing market share of the UTV industry is coming from OEMs normally not associated with the world of powersports sales. Names like John Deere, Textron’s E-Z-Go, Ingersoll-Rand, Club Car, Kubota, Toro and Land Pride, just to name a few, are building on their success and reputation as sellers of riding lawn mowers, golf carts, tractors and seeders, and hauling away their fair share of the lucrative UTV market.
Here’s a look at some of those manufacturers that are not common to the powersports showroom:
John Deere
The largest of the nonpowersport UTV manufacturers is John Deere. One of the oldest industrial companies in the United States employing 47,000 people globally, Deere entered the UTV market with its Gator Utility series in 1992, according to the company’s Commercial and Consumer Equipment Public Relations Manager Bill Klutho. Today the Gator brand is offered in three model categories: Compact Series CX ($5299) and CS ($4499), the Traditional Series TS ($6199), TX ($6999), TH 6×4 ($8299), 6×4 Diesel ($10,299), and three models in their High Performance series, ranging in price from $9,399 to $10,999.
Klutho said Deere only sells through authorized dealers that meet the financial prerequisites. According to the Deere Web site, a perspective UTV seller requires a minimum investment of $3-$5 million. The initial Deere application process is via the company’s Web site. The other manufacturers contacted by Powersports Business said perspective dealers should contact the manufacturer directly for specifics regarding purchase minimums and initial investment amounts.
Kubota
Another global giant in the UTV market is Kubota Tractor Corp., leader of the under-40 hp tractor market.
Headquartered in Torrance, Calif., just down the street from American Honda, and with offices in Georgia, Texas and Ohio, all six of the company’s RTV900 models — Standard, Worksite, Recreation, Turf, Turf Utility and Worksite Utility — feature selectable four-wheel drive, an exclusive, three-range variable hydrostatic transmission and a three-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine producing almost 22 horsepower. MSRP?of the RTV900 is $11,999.
Dean Loftis from McCormick Co., the firm handling Kubota’s public relations, said Kubota’s UTV offering is growing with the trend in the United States toward a rural hobbyist lifestyle. The RTV models have optional 3,000- and 4,000-pound winches and a heavy-duty hydraulic blade to complement the outdoor enthusiast’s accessories of storage box with gun and tool rack covered by an orange or camouflage thermoformed hard cabs.
E-Z-Go
Yet another Georgia-based UTV manufacturer capitalizing on its reputation for quality four-wheeled products is E-Z-Go, a subsidiary of Textron Co. E Z-Go is the maker of “the No. 1 golf car in the world” in addition to turf maintenance, industrial utility vehicles and refreshment vehicles.
Ron Skenes, the company’s marketing and communications manager, said E-Z-Go has been making UTVs since 1998, but the company has been in business since 1954.
“E-Z-Go may be best known for its popular golf cars, but the company produces over 45 different vehicles at its company headquarters and manufacturing complex in Augusta,” Skenes said.
The E-Z-Go ST line of UTVs features eight models with a maximum payload capacity of 1,500 pounds, gas and electric powered models, two-wheel and four-wheel drive, two- and four-passenger configurations and with locking differentials on some models. The line is sold through a nationwide network of dealers and includes some powersport dealers. Skenes says the company is looking at expanding the network via dealers “who understand the mindset of the UTV customer and understand the differences, advantages and benefits that UTVs offer compared to ATVs.”
Land Pride
On the smaller end of the UTV niche is Land Pride, a subsidiary of Great Plains Manufacturing, Inc., a major player in the farm equipment industry.
The current Land Pride 2006 models are the 4210ST 4×2, which retails for $7,795, and the 4410ST 4×4 ($8,995). Land Pride’s 2007 model 4220ST Treker, Standard Stance 4×2 retails at $8,445, and the 4420ST Treker, Standard Stance 4×4 stickers at $9,745.
Many specifications are comparable to the offerings from major OEMs: the Treker sports four-wheel independent suspension and a constant variable transmission driven by a 20 horsepower V-twin, air cooled Honda engine, and is available in 2WD Narrow Stance, 2WD Wide Stance, 4WD Narrow Stance and 4WD Wide Stance.
The parent company, Great Plains, maintains its corporate headquarters in Salina, Kan., and has manufacturing facilities throughout the state and a plant in Chetek, Wis.
Land Pride representatives said its UTVs are sold only through its network of more than 700 vehicle dealers in the United States and Canada.
Club Car
This company, another of the smaller UTV sellers, is best known for its electric golf carts.
Club Car and Bobcat collaborated to develop a 4×4 that is cross-branded as the Bobcat 2300 and Club Car XRT1550/Carryall 295.
Dawn Bernatz, interim account supervisor for Club Car at the Nelson Schmidt Public Relations firm, said Club Car entered the UTV market in early 2004, and that its UTV vehicles, like the July-released 4×4 XRT series, are available in two- and four-seat versions. The MSRP?ranges from $4,495 to $13,950.
Club Car said its UTV?success is owed in part to industry firsts, such as IntelliTrak, an all-wheel-drive system, and IntelliTach, a fully hydraulic, quick-changing tool attachment system advertised as “no lifting required; drop one tool, pick up another and go.”
Bernatz said Club Car sells through powersports dealers, but does not release the actual number of dealers it uses.
“Club Car vehicles are sold through dealer channels throughout the United States,” Bernatz said, noting that Club Car is looking to add more dealers.
Based out of Augusta, Ga., the company has an extensive line of compact construction equipment and attachments. psb

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