Among the strongest sellers are
all-terrain vehicles that seat two people side by side rather than one person
behind the driver.
In recent calls to leisure-product
dealerships, Baird analyst Craig Kennison said he found lean inventories of
Polaris and other popular side-by-side vehicles.
It's hard to find a dealership
complaining about having too many of them, according to Kennison.
They're the fastest-growing
category of off-road recreational vehicles, said Chaz Rice, spokesman for BRP
North America, which includes side-by-sides in its stable of recreational
products and makes Evinrude outboard engines in Sturtevant.
With the mild winter, "a lot
of people are hanging on to their snowmobiles and are taking them in for
service rather than buying new ones," Rice said.
The off-road vehicles that seat
multiple passengers are among the best sellers in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin
All-Terrain Vehicle Association.
They're wider than ATVs and look
something like dune buggies.
If they had the same access to
public trails as snowmobiles, their sales would increase tenfold, said Rob Strauss,
owner of Rob's Performance Motor Sports in Johnson Creek.
Trail access is still an issue, but
maybe not for much longer.
Wisconsin All-Terrain Association
has sought legislation that would open up the public trail system to
Four years of testing have shown
the heavier, wider vehicles don't harm the trails, although environmental
groups might dispute that.
Some of the side-by-sides cost
$20,000 and can be used for work as well as play.
Sometimes, there's sticker shock at
the dealerships. But consumer credit is not the obstacle it was during the
recession, according to Kennison.
"The availability of credit is good for qualified
customers," he said.