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ATV sales may be coming back

A couple months ago in this blog, I wrote about my first ATV ride. It was exciting, refreshing, exhilarating to be out on the trails, whipping around in the dirt and the mud. Too bad it seems like powersports customers aren’t as excited, or at least anxious enough to buy a new ATV.

Sales of new units have dropped dramatically in the past few years, as you’ll see in the upcoming edition of Powersports Business. But there’s hope as the enthusiasm for the sport lives on. The day I was at Carolina Adventures, the park was packed with families out for a ride – on a Monday no less. And Greg Blackwell, vice president of Parts Unlimited, recently told me that he goes to jamborees and sees 800 quads flying around.

There’s no doubt that there are still a lot of people who would love to get behind the handlebars of an ATV, but how do we get them to do that? OEM leaders told PSB senior editor Dave McMahon that they’re working to improve product and keep pushing innovation to bring in the customers.

But dealers have to take some initiative into their own hands. I talked to a few in recent weeks who have had pretty good sales of late, despite the industry telling us overall sales are still down. One dealer brought in more ATVs than he already had and pushed them until they sold. Another took advantage of snow, marketing the quads when the weather was right, and the third manages a good inventory and seeks opportunities when customers have disposable income.

Those closely tied to the ATV segment are anxiously awaiting a return to sales increases. It’s unknown right now when that will happen, or if sales will ever get back to the levels they once were, especially with the emergence of side-by-sides as off-road leaders. But dealers shouldn’t give up on the market yet. If you start spewing doom and gloom about the market, your customers are going to feel it. Instead, we should be reminding riders why ATVs are fun and getting more riders on seats and out to the trails.

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