55-INCH WIDE ATV MARKET HEATING UP
Polaris recently released the answer to a question few realized they were asking when it showed us the beefed up 55-inch wide Sportsman and Scrambler XP 1000 S.
The wider stance of these two ATVs is more suited for wide-open desert trail ripping than most of the trail systems across North America that accommodate standard width ATVs. However, Polaris saw a gap in the market that presented an opportunity - and so here we are.
This isn't uncommon for Polaris. Without question, the company is the leader in introducing innovative off-road products and, in many cases, creating entire market segments. This 55-wide thing leaves us wondering when or if other competitors will respond. Let's explore the potential of seeing a 55-inch wide Can-Am Outlander or Renegade.
Polaris brought us the Scrambler - the first of its kind - but then Can-Am took it to the next level, building the fully independently suspended Renegade with monster power. The Renegade was decidedly aimed at recreational trail riders who had little need for an ATV that could handle work duties. It took a bit of time but Polaris soon morphed the legendary Scrambler into what we have today - a direct competitor for the Renegade.
We've seen this play out in the 6x6 category with Can-Am's response to Polaris' Big Boss. The Outlander 6x6 is as much pure performance as it is a capable worker. In fact our test pilots have noted they've forgotten at times there's an extra set of wheels out back while they blast through trails and down fire roads.
We anticipated Polaris would revamp its Big Boss to match this level of performance, but alas, the most recent update to the Big Boss was less than exciting and aimed firmly at work duties more than fun.
This isn't to say Polaris is behind the times. In fact it sometimes feels like we're waiting for Can-Am in a big game of catch-up, but more realistically, Can-Am seems to take carefully measured steps in responding to competitors while still engaging in the demand for high performance vehicles to meet the demands of the global marketplace.
If Can-Am does decide to offer a response to the 55-inch wide XP 1000S, it's more likely that instead of presenting two high-performance variations, Can-Am would focus on its highest performance ATV and introduce a 55-inch wide Renegade 1000 first.
The biggest obstacle for this 55-inch market is price. To move from a Scrambler 850 up to the Scrambler XP 1000S you're looking at almost a $5,000 (US) premium. To be competitive - at least against a Scrambler, the Renegade would have to land in this price range, too.
Remember, the Renegade X MR 1000R already tips the scales at over 15 grand US. The point is, although this may be a tad outside most shoppers' budgets, there's a very slim specialized market here that seems to have the cash to spend and Can-Am may just be patiently sitting back to see how the XP 1000 S will be received before it makes its next move.
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