UTV parts manufacturer sees 500 percent growth in 2012
RZR accessories bring unprecedented growth to Starting Line Products
Starting Line Products got its start as a distributor of snowmobile accessories back in 1972, and had since added some motorcycle aftermarket products. But since the Idaho Falls-based company added side-by-sides to its accessories arsenal in 2008, business has been booming.
“Side-by-sides seemed to be really popular, something that was really taking off. We saw it as an opportunity to have something we could do during the summer to round out the year, keep guys working,” marketing manager Jeremy Barnes said. “We got into the Polaris RZR market shortly after it was first released.”
The initial aftermarket lineup for the RZR, which included bumpers, doors and Rocker Armor, has evolved into a lineup that includes exhaust systems and wheel spacers. Now celebrating 40 years in business, the company’s 40-page catalog of aftermarket accessories for the RZR ranges from the Power Commander V from Dynojet to grab handles with wrist restraints to a TEAM Tied Driven Clutch.
“This year, it’s been going excellent for us,” Barnes said. “Sales of our UTV products are up five times what they were at this time last year. We have seen phenomenal growth, but it is something we have been working very diligently to achieve by hitting the road and getting into the dealers to show them our products.”
“What started three or four years ago as just a few products we included in the back of our snowmobile catalog has flourished into its own UTV catalog. It definitely helps to get product ideas and necessary testing when all of us are enthusiasts that love to get out and ride.”
Aftermarket accessories for the Arctic Cat Wildcat are next on list for SLP, which has 51 employees at its 35,000 square-foot facility. Located south of the St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Idaho, SLP tests its products under a variety of conditions.
“We’ve been working hard to be that company that everybody sees as the industry leader,” Barnes said. “We’re definitely working toward that. But we’ve pounded a lot of ground, visited a lot of dealers to get the product out there.”
Having a stable base of snowmobile dealers who were familiar with the brand helped SLP gain traction in the UTV market.
“Polaris snow dealers, those guys have known us forever,” Barnes said. “But you get into the South where there are no snowmobiles, and you have to get to know those dealers. But we get into the dealerships, get face-to-face with them and build a relationship with them so that they know they can count on us. We all love to ride.”
Earlier this summer, Barnes said the company had a schedule that included at least one and sometimes two company reps visiting dealerships every other week.
“They load up a truck with product and off they go to see dealers, straight from the shop,” Barnes said.
The company currently sells dealer direct, although it has had success on the snow side in partnering with distributors. A recent tour took company reps through California, southern Arizona and New Mexico, all hotbeds for UTV accessory sales.
“Any opportunity we can get that can touch a lot of people in a hurry, that’s something we’d always take a look at,” Barnes said.
What’s creating a buzz at the shop these days? A Performance Slip-On Silencer manufactured by SLP, which is 5 decibels quieter than stock, while adding performance, Barnes said. SLP’s doors for the RZR lineup also remain a hot seller.
With products created by and for enthusiasts, SLP doesn’t have to look far to find the impetus for its 2012 success.