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June 4, 2007 – Gauging interest in reporting UTV sales data

June 4, 2007
Filed under Features

Three UTV manufacturers say they would like to see a retail sales reporting of side-by-side vehicles, although it’s unknown whether any such effort is under way that would be provided to the industry as a whole.
UTV sales are not included as part of the ATV new sales data that the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) provides to its members.
The MIC told Powersports Business that “there is no forum for companies to discuss retail sales reporting or other aspects of these products” currently at the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA). MIC President Tim Buche would not discuss whether MIC reporting companies have asked for such sales information to be reported.
“It’s a wild, wild west when it comes to utility vehicles right now,” said Vince Iorio, a product manager for Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. “We go off our sales data and everything else is a big estimate.”
Industry sources estimate the vehicle segment is increasing by double digits for annual sales and that the total number of UTVs sold annually tops 200,000.
One trade association outside of the powersports industry says it is looking into compiling such data, although the information would only be provided to association members. That group is the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, the international trade association whose members are manufacturers of powered law and garden maintenance products, components and attachment supplies.
Officials at Kawasaki, Yamaha and Arctic Cat said they would like to see such sales information compiled and reported and would be willing to contribute data for it. A fourth OEM, Polaris Industries, was not in favor of providing data.
A fifth company, John Deere, one of the leading UTV OEMs, could not be reached for comment.
“Polaris is not interested in collecting industry-wide data for UTV at this point in time,” Polaris CEO Tom Tiller said in an interview with Powersports Business. “We, for our own internal and competitive reasons, don’t see that the benefit for us in anyway is outweighed by the competitive risk.
“From a company perspective, we think it’s in our best perspective to maintain the status quo and would not be supportive of an MIC effort or any other trade group’s effort to collect utility vehicle data at this point in time.”
Christopher Twomey, CEO of Arctic Cat, said they are “very interested in reporting our UTV sales in identical ways that we do for both snow and ATV.”
Bob Starr, Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A.’s general manager of national corporate communications, said, “The side-by-side market has grown tremendously, far exceeding our expectations over the last few yearss. As the market grows, it certainly would be more helpful if there was a consolidated reporting system of retail activity, much like there is in other categories in the industry.” psb

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