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ATV dealers optimistic for next 12 months

By By Liz Keener

Sales were flat in Q1, but hope abounds for the year

For many dealers, Q1 ATV sales were flat, but the dealers polled in the Powersports Business/RBC Capital Markets Q1 dealer survey haven’t lost hope for the segment as the year continues.

While 41 percent of dealers surveyed reported ATV sales were flat, and 36 percent said they were down in the first quarter of 2015, 46 percent expect sales to be up 5 percent or more over the next 12 months. Another 32 percent expect ATV sales to be flat in the next year, while 22 percent forecast lower ATV sales.

As far as brands go, Honda performed best in the ATV segment for dealers, with 57 percent reporting a 5-percent or more sales increase from January to March. And 11 percent of those dealers said Honda ATV sales were up 30 percent or more. Yamaha also saw solid increases, with 44 percent of dealers reporting sales of increases of 5 percent or more. Forty-one percent of Can-Am dealers reported the same.

Over the next 12 months, dealers expect those three brands and Polaris to provide the most growth. Honda ATVs again led the pack in this category, with 64 percent of dealers expecting sales increases of 5 percent or more over the next 12 months. For Can-Am, 52 percent of dealers expect an increase, and 46 percent of dealers expect both Yamaha and Polaris to boost sales 5 percent or more over the next year.

ATV inventory is “about right” for 58 percent of dealers, while 39 percent said it’s too high, and 3 percent said it’s too low.

ATV dealer analysis

To take a closer look at how ATV dealers specifically performed in Q1, PSB honed in on the four states and one Canadian province that had the most ATV dealers participating in the survey. For this analysis, we looked at ATV dealers in Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin and Ontario.

Of those in that group, 46 percent reported ATV sales were flat in the first quarter; 34 percent were down 5 percent or more, and
20 percent were up 5 percent or more.

Though 42 percent said their Q1 business was below plan, 46 percent said overall business conditions were somewhat strong or very strong in the quarter.

Used unit sales across all segments were a strong point for these dealers in Q1, as half reported pre-owned unit sales were somewhat strong or very strong. That compares to 37 percent who said new unit sales were somewhat strong or very strong.

As far as sales growth by brand, 62 percent of Honda ATV dealers in this group reported sales of those units were up in 5 percent or more in Q1. Dealers are optimistic about even more brands in the next 12 months, as 60 percent or more of these ATV dealers expect to see growth in Can-Am, Honda, Polaris, Suzuki and Yamaha ATVs.

ATV inventory levels for these dealers were nearly identical to the total dealer group, with 58 percent reporting it’s “about right” and 38 percent saying it’s too heavy.

The survey also found that of the ATV dealers in this studied group, all of them also carry side-by-sides; 83 percent sell snowmobiles; 83 percent sell motorcycles, and 42 percent are marine dealers (including PWC and/ boats). 

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