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‘Loyalty, passion’ bring Arctic Cat more U.S. growth

Tom Kaiser, Contributing Writer
July 9, 2012
Filed under Features

Five of the top 10 sleds sold last season were Cats, company says

A lineup full of new snowmobile models plus strong sales of ATVs helped Arctic Cat exceed analysts’ expectations for yearly sales and earnings. The Minnesota-based maker of snowmobiles and ATVs reported a 26 percent increase in net sales and a 130 percent increase in net income for Arctic Cat’s fiscal year that ended March 31.

Arctic Cat’s 2012 model lineup helped drive U.S. snowmobiles sales up 38 percent to $250.4 million compared to $182.0 million in the previous year. Seventy-five percent of its snowmobile line was all-new last season — 23 fully new models — and Arctic Cat says it had five of the top 10-selling snowmobile models last season.

In an interview with Snow Goer, Arctic Cat media relations specialist Kale Wainer said last season’s lack of snow put a damper on an industry that was significantly up over the previous year in the late fall and early winter. As snow failed to accumulate, sled sales slowed and the company’s PG&A sales took a hit. However, while the company’s sled sales increased in the U.S., sales rose more dramatically in areas like Europe and Russia, where snowfall was plentiful.

Heading into the new season, dealership snowmobile inventory is flat year-over-year and the company has worked out issues like limited parts availability and running changes to the ProCross and ProClimb chassis.

The Arctic Cat XF 1100 Turbo Sno Pro High Country is built to tackle deep snow.

Fixing first-year issues has involved working with suppliers to expedite production, incorporating replacement components needed on service bulletins, as well as educating dealers.

“Arctic Cat has very high performance expectations and our goal is to have zero issues with any product,” Wainer said. “We truly appreciate the support, loyalty and passion our consumers carry for Arctic Cat. In return, we try to support the customers who had issues as quickly and efficiently as possible to get them back on the snow.”

For customers of 2012 model sleds, Arctic Cat added an additional 12 months of Cat Care extended service from the original purchase date, giving first-year model customers a total of 12 months of factory warranty and 24 months of extended service.

“We are constantly striving to make our product better,” Wainer said. “We feel confident in our ProCross and ProClimb chassis and see the major potential in it. Our engineers work tirelessly to continually build top performing snowmobiles.”

The company is also on track to transition its snowmobile engine manufacturing from purchasing units from Suzuki Motor Corporation to building its own engines at its manufacturing facility in St. Cloud, Minn. Wainer declined to elaborate on the number and types of engines that will be coming from St. Cloud, but said the company has a strategic plan “to lead every segment of the industry” with its unfolding new engine program.

“Although we can’t tell you what engines will be released,” he said. “We can say that we are extremely excited for our future.”

The company’s outlook for the 2013 fiscal year assumes industry-wide ATV and snowmobile sales in North America will be flat
to down 5 percent, and flat to up 2 percent, respectively.

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