It’s pretty obvious with the current model selection of Pure Sport ATVs offered in the marketplace that sales in this segment have dropped considerably.
Interestingly, while Sport ATVs have been making less of a dent, Sport UTVs like the Wildcat and XP900 are selling like hotcakes.
It’s an interesting trend but we don’t think the two are really related much. Why? If you look at the buyers of Sport ATVs compared to the buyers of Sport UTVs, you’ll find they are two completely different profiles.
Our own surveys indicate that Sport ATV owners, particularly those who buy the hardest of the hardcore 450s, are much younger and, because of the current recession, less secure in their jobs than the buyers of UTVs.
This is evidencing itself in the actual numbers of Sport ATV sales out there and some manufacturers have actually suspended the production of certain Sport models because of lowered volumes.
Job security is a huge issue when people are making buying choices in powersports equipment and the younger the marketplace, the tougher it is to get people to commit to financing or making major purchases.
One interesting strategy has been evidenced with Yamaha. The company now controls the lion’s share of this segment and continues to amp up the hype for models like the YFZ 450 and the Raptor.
The reasoning likely goes like this: If the market is shrinking, it’s always better to control the greatest part of it and keep buyers’ interest growing.
Someday, when the market turns around, your customers will be so brand loyal, they’ll buy new stuff and never switch from your brand.
Also, there’s one certainty with young buyers: They eventually get older and more secure in their finances and graduate to other off-road types of vehicles. Yamaha’s got all the lights on.