Can-Am’s debut utility UTV launches to accolades
In Nashville last fall, BRP made news with its global product reveal and new movement into the utility/recreation segment of the side-by-side market. The Can-Am Defender lineup has received a positive response from both dealers and consumer across the world.
“The dealers appreciate the innovation the Defender side-by-side vehicle brings to the market, which goes much further than the bench seating and cargo bed,” said Marc-Andre Dubois, director of Global Marketing for BRP. “The vehicle also separates itself from the competition in that it fully carries our Can-Am DNA in a tough, capable and clever package.”
In December, the 2016 Can-Am Defender was named the Utility UTV of the Year by ATV.com and Utility Model of the Year by UTV Planet Magazine. The Defender is available in a variety models. The standard Defender comes with an MSRP of $10,999. The Defender DPS, which features dynamic power steering, retails for $12,799. The Defender XT is equipped with multiple factory-installed accessories, including 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, 14-inch wheels and a roof, in addition to its dynamic power steering. The MRSP for the Defender XT begins at $15,599.
Recently BRP also introduced the Defender XT Cab. The latest model in the 2016 lineup, the XT Cab features a full cab enclosure with a tilt up windshield and wiper kit, doors with electric opening windows, a sliding rear window and a heater kit. The Defender XT Cab is due in dealerships in mid-March and has a starting MSRP of $23,699.
“The Defender is an important vehicle for many reasons, but one key ingredient is its ability to introduce all-new customers to the Can-Am brand and our way of thinking,” Dubois said. “Can-Am off-road vehicles are known for their performance, handling and rider-focused designs. That doesn’t change with the Defender. … [It has] not only those key attributes, but also establishes new levels of toughness, simplicity, durability and resourcefulness.”
All four models of the Defender include either the 50-hp Rotax HD8 or 72-hp HD10 V-twin engine. The Rotax HD10 engine provides up to 20 percent more torque than it closest competitor and produces it at a lower RPM for optimal delivery for recreational use. The more work-focused Rotax HD8 engine delivers 50 hp and 50 lb-ft torque for tougher tasks.
In addition, BRP announced a special launch promotion, a 36-month limited warranty, for its 2016 Defender line. Also, the Rotax engine can remain maintenance-free for one year or up to 1,865 miles. “The goal of the warranty is to show that we believe in the product. It went through a lot of testing, and we’re very confident about the Defender,” Dubois said.
Dubois explained that the importance of branching out into the utility side-by-side market stemmed from entering into a viable segment with such potential for growth and the size of the overall market.
“Roughly 145,000 units were moved in the utility/recreation segment in 2014, and comprised 34 percent of the overall market, so there’s definitely a demand,” he said.
In order to promote and generate interest in its new units, BRP has participated in several marketing events, such as the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Penn., and the 2016 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) in Las Vegas, alongside presenting partner Mossy Oak.
Dubois says that BRP plans to expose more consumers to the new Defender and the Can-Am way by attending various outdoor, hunting and agricultural consumer shows across North America. “The nice thing about the Defender is that is it technically a 70-30 vehicle, which means it’s 70 percent utility and 30 percent recreation in terms of usage. Therefore, it can appeal to a wide variety of users, depending on their needs and desires. But, clearly the Defender has a lot of appeal for farmers, ranchers, hunters and estate owners,” he said.
With a growing number of dealerships and a new full lineup of side-by-side models, the Defender launch appears to have Can-Am headed in the right direction in 2016.
“It’s this dedication to the industry and our dealers that have helped BRP magnify the number of Can-Am dealerships. In fact, we opened more than 150 new dealerships over the last calendar year,” Dubois said. “And with our CEO José Boisjoli promising a new side-by-side vehicle every six months for the next four years at our dealer show in Nashville last fall, BRP is clearly not letting up.”