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Survey points to reduced market share for Polaris ATV – January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007
Filed under Features

A dealer survey points to decreasing Polaris ATV sales across the nation, which could result in reduced market share for the Minnesota manufacturer.
All four regions of the United States were polled, with ATV sales down from 4 to 14 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous year’s fourth quarter, according to a survey conducted by A.G. Edwards & Sons. The survey’s authors, using estimates from the Motorcycle Industry Council, industry sources and their own information, predicted Polaris would lose market share in 2006 and then flatten out in 2007.
The survey polled 35 dealers, all of which sold ATVs. The focus was on mid- to large-sized dealers across the nation, including seven of the top 20 Polaris ATV dealers based on new unit sales.
From that polling, 73 percent of the dealers said their new unit sales decreased compared to the previous year’s fourth quarter. Fourteen percent reported gains, a slight up tick from a third-quarter survey that showed 11 percent reporting new unit sale gains.
Regionally, the South fared the best, with its fourth-quarter sales down by only 4 percent. The East reported the worst sales — down 14 percent — while the West and Midwest were somewhere in-between, down 7 and 11 percent, respectively.
The survey did find that Polaris has reduced dealers’ ATV inventory because of greater promotions and fewer shipments. However, 40 percent of the dealers surveyed said they are carrying too much inventory and experiencing problems clearing product ahead of Polaris’ February order period. That 40 percent is well below last year’s fourth-quarter response. Last year, about 51 percent of the dealers said their inventory was heavy.
Currently, Polaris ATV dealers have around 105-110 days of inventory versus 120 days as of Sept. 30, according to the survey.
The survey did find some bright spots for Polaris in its Ranger line.
Ranger sales, according to survey estimates, were up in the mid-double digits compared to the previous year. Ranger sale increases were reported in all regions of the country, with the West and the South reporting the highest gains.
A.G. Edwards & Sons also predicted that Polaris will come out this year with a smaller, sportier side-by-side that could challenge Yamaha’s Rhino for recreational UTV consumers. A.G. Edwards also said it expects the new side-by-side model to be introduced at a similar price point of the current Ranger line ($9,000-$11,000). psb

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