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Arctic Cat could offer new UTV model in ’07 – November 13, 2006

November 13, 2006
Filed under Features

Arctic Cat is hoping to become a bigger player in the side-by-side segment of the industry with expanded offerings in 2007.
The Thief River Falls, Minn., manufacturer showed a concept UTV at its dealer show earlier this year. A version of that concept vehicle could hit showrooms in 2007, said John Tranby, Arctic Cat’s marketing and communications manager.
The concept vehicle, called the Prowler LE, included a number of accessories, including a row of PIAA lights, a massive stereo system, competition seats, tilt steering wheel, pedal covers and more.
Which set of features is ultimately placed on the Prowler LE that will be retailed “is yet to be determined,” Tranby said.
One of the issues Arctic Cat is dealing with is finding a CD player for the vehicle’s stereo system. Tranby said finding a quality CD that can withstand the elements can be tricky. He said the company will be looking at marine stereo systems for the possible answer.
The Prowler LE would be the third UTV model Arctic Cat sells. The company also has a standard model and an XT, which features chrome wheels, a speedometer and of course, a higher price tag than the standard.
Tranby said the company’s new UTV model could be shown at the 2007 dealer show or if it’s ready sooner, it could be unveiled in the spring.Last year, Arctic Cat sold approximately 1,600 Prowlers. That number figures to increase in the new year as the OEM will be producing more side-by-sides, said Tranby, who couldn’t be specific on how many more UTVs will be more produced.
Different industry projections show anywhere from 170,000 to 200,000 new UTVs were sold in the United States last year. Since many projections show a double-digit sales increase with UTVs, it’s little wonder why Arctic Cat is interested in increasing its side-by-side market share.
One of the reasons Arctic Cat will be able to manufacture more UTVs in the new year is the company’s new engine facility in St. Cloud, Minn. The 56,000-square-foot-facility was expected to start yielding new engines — Arctic Cat builds its own UTV engines — in October.
One change that impacted dealers in 2006 is expected to continue into the new year and beyond. For the first time, dealers were asked at this year’s new product presentation to make full-year ATV orders, rather than twice per year, once in June and again in December.
Tranby said the new ordering process will be a big plus for Arctic Cat because “we know what to build, when we’re building it, when we’re shipping it.”
The new ordering process does allow for some adjustments.“There were some dealers that still weren’t used to doing that so not all of them placed the order that way,” Tranby said, although he noted that the majority of dealers did go ahead with the new ordering program.
“We’ll try to keep doing that,” Tranby said of the program. “It just works better for us.”
Arctic Cat foresees a prosperous end to this year and good start to the new year.Company CEO Christopher Twomey said this summer that he expected dealer retail sales to be up 5 to 10 percent this year. Tranby said that increase, which includes Prowler sales, is holding steady.
Plus, in the company’s second-quarter report, Arctic Cat forecasted a seventh consecutive year of record sales for its fiscal year, which ends March 31. The company estimated net sales would grow 3 percent to 6 percent and full-year diluted earnings per share would be in the range of $1.13 to $1.19.

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