Rural Sector Buoys Sales

November 2013 Powersport News Queensland (Australia) Country Life

The rural sector continues to be a key driver of market growth for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-side-vehicles (SSVs), with sales of the versatile farm workhorses going from strength to strength.

Although quad bikes continue to dominate the market, the biggest lift in sales has been for the compact, utility style SSVs that offer the capacity to carry more passengers and extra load.

ATV sales have grown steadily for several years, with 2012 showing 5 percent growth over the previous year. However, retailers indicate the SSV market has really taken off and shows more growth potential.

Indicative of the industry's expansion has been the ongoing release of a range of new models as well as new suppliers joining the trade. The market has become very competitive with no shortage of brands-everything from the emerging Chinese models to the high-end American and Canadian brands and popular Japanese makes.

One of the more recent entrants to the Australian market is the American Arctic Cat range of machines introduced at the beginning of this year through PS Importers. The company has mounted a concerted campaign to build product share in the agricultural sector of the market.

PS Importers marketing manager Mark Berger said it saw the potential to take on the Arctic Cat brand and secure its place in the Australian market.

"We spent a lot of time looking at the market and how the trends were going and felt there was the capacity to bring the brand into the Australian market and do well with it," he said.

"Arctic Cat is a brand that started over 50 years ago with snowmobiles before branching out into ATVs, and more recently side-by-sides."

Mr. Berger said there were more than 20 Arctic Cat models available in the ATV and SSV range in Australia. In SSVs there are three utility models and two sports units. There are 18 ATVs from 90cc youth models to 300cc two-wheel-drives all the way up to the 1000cc V twin four-wheel-drive units.

"Our 450cc models and up all run four-wheel-drive and progressively go through different stages of features like diff lock and power steering," he said.

"We have the only diesel ATV on the market to date, which will be popular. The 700cc diesel ATV is an obvious one for the farm market."

Mr. Berger said all Arctic Cat ATVs had tow hitches that took a full-sized tongue, class-leading suspension and digital tachometers.

The XT range offered additional extras such as power steering, automotive paint and alloy wheels.

He said the business continued to build a supply network throughout Australia and already had dealers in every state.

"When you are finding dealers, it is something you have to be quite calculating about to make sure we are in the right areas and make sure the people we choose are going to do a good job with our brand and look after our customers," he said.

"We are still open to people who might be looking to become Arctic Cat dealers-we'd be very happy to talk to them."

The company's dealer manager for Queensland and the Northern Territory, Shane Ladynski, said Arctic Cat's push into the agricultural market was backed by a range of machines suited to Australia.

"We do a basic, bare-bones quadbike with steel wheels and no power steering or fuel injection," he said.

"Then we do an XT model with alloy wheels, fuel injection, power steering and differential locks.

"They are fully automatic bikes with engine braking, 22-litre fuel tanks under the seats, good storage, rack capacity and ground clearance.

"We do three SSV units in Australia: a 550 and 1000 as two-seaters and a three-seater HDX."

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