COLUMBIA, S.C. — KYMCO USA has expanded its off-road lineup for 2012 and will offer both fuel injection and carbureted ATVs and UTVs.
KYMCO has followed the trend of major ATV and UTV manufacturers that already offer fuel injection, the company announced at a recent press event.
“By bringing the fuel-injection technology, I’m not sure we’ve leapfrogged the market, but we’ve brought it into the playing field,” KYMCO USA CEO Eric Bondy said in an interview with Powersports Business.
The EFI technology will be available in the 2012 UXV 500 IRS 4X4 (including the SE and LE models), the MXU 400i, MXU 450i, MXU 450i LE and the MAXXER 450i. Fuel injection was incorporated into the lineup after KYMCO invested in R&D over the past few years, despite the challenges presented by the economy.
“We’re clearly forging ahead to bring new product to the market,” Bondy said.
Though the newer power plant is offered, KYMCO will keep carbureted versions of some of its ATVs and its side-by-side in the lineup. Available in both EFI and carbureted models are the UXV 500 IRS 4X4 and the MXU 500 IRS 4X4. The carbureted models will be available as an alternative for customers, and pricing will be significantly lower than the EFI models.
“We’ve really kept our eye on the value market,” Bondy reported.
The UXV 500 IRS 4X4, for example, with EFI has an MSRP of $8,799, while the carbureted model will sell at $7,699. With fuel injection, the MXU 500 IRS 4X4 retails for $6,999, while the carbureted units will hit the market at $5,499.
“That just really hits the wheelhouse of that value segment,” Bondy said of the MXU 500 carbureted model.
Though EFI has been introduced, returning to the lineup only with carbureted engines are the MXU 375 IRS 4X4, MAXXER 375 IRS 4X4, MXU 300 Shaft Drive, MXU 150, MONGOOSE 300 and the MONGOOSE 90 R.
Offering EFI while keeping carbureted versions of some models on the market was a well thought-out decision for KYMCO. The variety gives the company the opportunity to offer both value models as well as those with the latest technology.
“We really think we can serve two ends of the market,” Bondy explained.
Dealers will be able to choose which models to carry and won’t be required to offer both carbureted and fuel-injected versions of the UXV 500 IRS 4X4 or the MXU 500 IRS 4X4.
“I think we’ll leave it to the dealers,” Bondy reported. “They tend to know their markets really well.”
It remains to be seen whether both engine styles will continue to be offered in the future.
“If the carbureted version isn’t successful, we’ll maybe phase it out, but we’ll see what the market dictates,” Bondy said.
Despite the uncertainty of the carbureted power plants, the fuel-injection engines are expected to stay in the KYMCO lineup long-term.
The company is keeping a close eye on this upcoming season to gain perspective on its future offerings. If orders of either engine option are high, KYMCO can increase production to meet demand.
“If dealers and consumers are pretty excited about a model, then we can ramp up production pretty easily,” Bondy explained.
Availability for KYMCO vehicles is not expected to be an issue. Dealers began placing orders for 2012 models in late April, and the new units are expected in dealerships by late May or early June.
“We’re bringing the 2012 models to market earlier than we usually do,” Bondy said, adding that KYMCO would like to meet or beat its competitors to the showroom floor.
Bondy is looking forward to the rest of the year as sales in KYMCO’s off-road division have been up for the past six to seven months at wholesale and retail. The division saw a double-digit sales increase during the first quarter of 2011.
“Originally, I was cautiously optimistic,” Bondy said. “I would say that I’ve moved a little more toward optimistic.”
He has hopes for off-road sales increases in 2011 at KYMCO and within the industry. PSB
Copyright 2011 Powersports Business