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Dealers hopeful for 2015 Ski-Doo success

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Liz Keener, Managing Editor
April 18, 2014
Filed under Features, Top Stories

Loud colors, updates ignite interest following Quebec unveil

For customers walking into a Ski-Doo dealership or a Snowmobile Sneak Peek event this spring, the 2015 Ski-Doo lineup will be hard to miss. Among changes for the new model year came bold, eye-catching colors on many models. That and the release of the Summit X with T3 Package, the Renegade XRS and a new RAS 2 front suspension were among the attention-getters at and after BRP’s semi-annual dealer show in early March.

Bold colors

Among the models receiving bright colors for 2015 are those in the MXZ, Renegade, Summit and Freeride categories. Colors options for some of those models include: Fusion Red/Sunburst Yellow, Race Orange and Manta Green/Magenta.

Their unveiling caused a bit of a stir at the dealer meeting in Quebec, as reactions were mixed.

“I like the new colors, personally, but there was a lot of controversy over the colors at the show,” said Tom Seymour, general manager of Seymour’s Motorized Sports, Inc. in Chaffee, N.Y.

He noticed the older crowd, especially, was turned off by some of the bright, neon colorways, but those on the younger side have been more receptive.

“People who have seen them said they looked a lot better in person, which is what I thought, too,” Seymour added.

Customers, likewise, have reacted like the dealer group.

“The yellow is going over well on the [Summit] T3, considering it’s a traditional Ski-Doo color. The Freeride is getting mixed reviews, they either come in and love that color, or they hate it. It seems more appealing to the younger crowd,” Jake Monroe, service manager at One Way Marine & Motor Sports Inc. in Helena, Mont., reported to Powersports Business.

Bright, bold colors, such as the Manta Green/Magenta seen on the 2015 Freeride, played a big part in Ski-Doo’s new model release.

Bright, bold colors, such as the Manta Green/Magenta seen on the 2015 Freeride, played a big part in Ski-Doo’s new model release.

With a mixed consumer reaction following the model release, Ski-Doo relented and added muted color choices to some of the lines that previously only featured the brighter options. About a week after the initial launch, BRP announced that the MXZ and Renegade X-RS would be available in black-on-black in addition to Fusion Red/Sunburst Yellow. The Freeride now offers black accents with its Manta Green paint job, for those who don’t want the magenta accents, and the Summit X T3 now has a Deep Black with red accents option.

As much as some dealers enjoy the more intriguing colors, the darker additions were welcome.

“We did have a lot of complaints, people not liking them and not going to order them [in the bright colors],” said Mike Schoer, sales manager at Team Rob’s Performance Motor Sports in Johnson Creek, Wis.

Going long

Another visual attention-getter in the 2015 lineup is the Summit X with T3 package. The sled offers an upgrade to a 174-inch track, the longest stock track ever offered in the industry.

The 2015 Ski-Doo Summit X with T3 package offers the longest stock track ever available in the industry at 174 inches.

The 2015 Ski-Doo Summit X with T3 package offers the longest stock track ever available in the industry at 174 inches.

A 163-inch track comes standard, as do 3-inch lugs set at a 3-inch pitch. The Summit X with T3, available only in the spring, also includes new Pilot DS3 skis, a revised tMotion suspension and Ski-Doo’s new second generation Response Angle Suspension (RAS 2).

“We love them. They’re building a lot of interest. There’s a lot of interest from other brand-loyal customers, like Polaris and Arctic Cat. It’s actually caused quite the stir around here,” Monroe, from Montana, said. “They take it to a new level with the length of the track that they added and also the paddle.”

Other updates

Though some 2015 announcements drew more talk than others, dealers were pleased with a variety of updates to the new line.

Ski-Doo unveiled its new RAS 2 front suspension with improved bump capabilities, a better roll center and lighter weight to complement the rMotion on MXZ and Renegade models. Its spindle is 12 mm taller, moving the upper ball joint up 12 mm. The roll center was also moved 38 mm higher and closer to the sled’s center of gravity.

“There are a lot of customers that can’t wait to try one out,” Monroe said. “I think it was definitely a big step in the right direction.”

The new Renegade X-RS, another sled available only this spring, features the RAS 2, along with the MXZ 600RS chassis, chassis reinforcements, KYB Pro 40 piggyback racing shocks and the choice of a 15-by-137-by-1.25-inch Ice Ripper or a 1.5-inch RipSaw track.

“It’s a great idea. People were asking for it, and they produced it. I think it will be a huge hit,” Schoer said.

After fielding complaints about some color combinations such as this Fusion Red/Sunburst Yellow offering on the MXZ X-RS, Ski-Doo announced more muted colors would be available on certain models.

After fielding complaints about some color combinations such as this Fusion Red/Sunburst Yellow offering on the MXZ X-RS, Ski-Doo announced more muted colors would be available on certain models.

Also, the 900 ACE four-stroke will now make its way into the Expedition and Skandic lineups, after being limited to only MXZ, GSX, Grand Touring and Renegade models for 2014.

“The introduction of the 900 ACE engine in many models last season was a tremendous success worldwide, and expansion this year will continue to build momentum not only for North America, but also for international markets,” said Chris Dawson, vice-president and general manager of Ski-Doo’s International division, in a press release. “Expanding this engine to our utility line of snowmobiles gives us a real advantage where buyers can now get all the benefits ACE and iTC deliver in both 600 and 900 versions.”

The updated 600 ACE, which features the intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) system and many of the driveline features of the 2014 900 ACE, will expand to be available in the MXZ, Renegade, Grand Touring, Expedition, Tundra and Skandic ranges.

Sales

Coming off a successful 2013-14 snowmobile season, many dealers are excited for what this spring will deliver in terms of Ski-Doo’s
snow check sales.

“More so this year than ever, I’ve had more early sales within the first week and a half or two weeks than I pretty much ever had,” Seymour said, adding that his dealership was out of 2013 and 2014 models by January.

Upon announcing the 2015 Ski-Doo lineup, Yves Leduc, vice-president and general manager of BRP’s North America division, said, “The great winter season in most markets has allowed the Ski-Doo brand to expand its market share in North America to record levels by having the technology and products buyers were looking for. We are seeing the payoff from our drive to improve the customer experience by providing innovative, reliable, high performing snowmobiles, as well as accessories and clothing that notably enhance the actual riding experience. The Ski-Doo brand keeps getting stronger as its market penetration in all segments increases every year.”

 

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