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ODES introduces 500cc UTV, LCD touchscreen

By Liz Keener

2017 lineup launched at dealer meeting

All day dealers sat through training, wondering what units were covered up in the center of the ODES dealer meeting in Irving, Texas. When the 2017 ATVs and side-by-sides were revealed, they swarmed to the vehicles, quick to closely examine the UTVs that will soon arrive in their showrooms.

In early September, ODES unveiled a new 500cc unit, the Comrade, as well as a 7-inch touchscreen LCD display that appears on seven of the 2017 models.

Comrade debuts

The Comrade is the first 500cc side-by-side offered by ODES. The company added the $7,799 unit due to dealer demand.

“It’s just an inexpensive, price point, 50-inch model for the trail width and a good little farm vehicle, so it kind of hit three things at once. A lot of dealers wanted that instead of just the high-end stuff,” said ODES CEO Mike Smith.

Despite being a value-priced model, the Comrade is loaded with accessories, as is ODES’ signature. The Comrade comes stock with a 2,500-pound winch, hard doors, an ABS molded roof, a tilt dump bed, a plexiglass windshield, an oversized cargo box and more. EPS is optional. The Comrade is offered in flat sage green, silver metallic, or shiny red, and it comes with a two-year warranty.

ODES introduced its 2017 Comrade 500cc UTV at its dealer meeting near Dallas, Texas, in September.

ODES introduced its 2017 Comrade 500cc UTV at its dealer meeting near Dallas, Texas, in September.

After it was unveiled, dealers hurried to check it out, opening the hood and sitting inside.

David Sick of Sick Brothers in Dansville, New York, said he’ll have his first Comrade sold by the time it’s in his dealership. A customer of his has been looking for a 500cc unit, after his friends purchased similar side-by-sides from other brands.

“He wants an ODES in a smaller unit, but I haven’t been able to find one until now,” Sick said. “He’s been in the shop like four times looking for it.”

Steve Brucher of Northern Powersports of Mio in Mio, Michigan — ODES’ number one dealer by volume for four years in a row — said, “We’ll sell the daylights out of them.”

LCD screen added

Though dealers were excited about the Comrade, they were equally happy to see the new 7-inch Zeus Touch touchscreen on the dash of seven 2017 models.

The Zeus Touch is a collaboration between ODES and Enovation Controls, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, company.

“It’s just going to take everything to the next level, and we want to be the next level,” Smith said.

Using the Zeus Touch, riders can harness GPS technology to map routes and track their own waypoints and use Bluetooth technology to see incoming call and text notifications. They can also view all gauges and indicator lights. When an Enovation-designed ICE stereo system is installed, riders can also control AM/FM or Bluetooth music from the touchscreen, which can be synced with a Wet Sounds speaker. The full-color screen works in all conditions, even in direct sunlight.

“We use a technology called optical bonding, where the LCD and the glass are bonded together with gel, and it stops the refraction of light,” John Shea, manager of vehicle system sales for Enovation Controls, told dealers.

The Zeus Touch is also waterproof.

“I’m thrilled to death,” Sick said. “My customers back at home are just going to be blown away when they see this. It’s pretty cool.”

Jay Deakin, who works in customer service at Austin Boats & Motors in Lakeway, Texas, was impressed with the GPS feature, as well as the add-on stereo. “It’s going to be really good because almost every customer that we’ve sold wants a radio, and that ICE thing will be great for that. It’ll be a good add-on, a quick add-on, too,” he said.

The Zeus Touch LCD is standard equipment on the Assailant 800cc ATV and the Dominator X2, Raider and Dominator X4 1000cc UTVs. It’s optional on the Dominator X2, Dominator X4 and Raider 800cc side-by-sides. Because all models with the LCD display have a steering and dash configuration, the LCD cannot be added on to models that don’t come with it pre-installed.

ODES moves to Dallas

ODES staff was happy to host their dealers in the Dallas area, which is home to the company’s newest facility.

ODES is in the process of moving into and opening its new Dallas location. Dallas will serve as the new headquarters and assembly facility for ODES.

Dealers take a close look at the ODES Comrade 500cc side-by-side.

Dealers take a close look at the ODES Comrade 500cc side-by-side.

The 80,000-square-foot building will house an assembly line with state-of-the-art equipment, improving the ODES assembly process. It’ll also include a sample showroom space and a parts warehouse.

“With an assembly line, we’re going to be able to produce units out the door almost 10 times faster, and that’s going to be a big deal for our dealers because they’re going to want to be able to call in and get that unit on the car carrier within a couple days, not in a couple weeks,” Smith said.

The new process will allow for better quality control, as tools will be set to specific settings at each step of the line. And instead of one tech completing one full machine, as has been done in the past, now each tech will be in charge of his or her own specific task on each vehicle.

“We want to have the tools in place that increase the quality control because if you have the right tools, you can do the right job,” Smith said.

New assembly staff was being trained throughout September, as the new equipment was also being installed. ODES planned to have assembly up by Oct. 1, with units heading out to dealerships as soon as they were complete. All dealers should be fully stocked with their initial 2017 orders by late October or mid-November.

Dealers like Lem Rachels of Lem’s Auto Sales and Motor Sports in Shelby, North Carolina, are excited for the new assembly line, as it will mean getting ATVs and side-by-sides from ODES more quickly. Smith admits that the old process often put production behind by three to four weeks, but the new assembly line will speed up that process.

“I feel like this year is going to be a much better year for getting it done. I feel like they’re heading in the right direction to get it done,” Rachels, a longtime ODES dealer, said.

Though most of ODES’ key staff are moving to Dallas, ODES is keeping its Riverside, California, facility. That location will warehouse crated units brought in from nearby ports, and dealers who still prefer receiving crated units will receive them from that location.

“We’ll keep a lot of the crate stuff there because it doesn’t make sense logistics-wise to move it, and we still have a lot of good guys there that we want to hang on to, and right now, we need space,” Smith said. Parts will be stored at both locations as well.

Dealer education

Though the 2017 model unveil was the main purpose of the dealer meeting, education was also a key piece. On Sunday, Sept. 11, dealers were treated to a day-long training event.

Speakers touched on warranty paperwork, wholesale and retail financing, accessories, advertising and more. With this education and more one-on-one sessions planned for dealers throughout the next year, Smith said ODES wants to triple the business of each current dealer.

“We need to dial our dealers in, and the dealers want us to dial them in. We’ve done surveys with all the dealers, and they always say, ‘I want to sell more units. How do I sell more units?’ We want to put them through an education process,” Smith said.

Dealers demoed ODES side-by-sides and ATVs at Texas MasterCraft’s private lake facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dealers demoed ODES side-by-sides and ATVs at Texas MasterCraft’s private lake facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

To that end, ODES recently hired marketing director Sally Smith, who will work with dealers to help them market themselves.

“Not only that, but we’re sending our on-road guys to assist with the hands-on training of what they develop. So we want to make sure that we don’t just send an email that says, ‘Try this.’ We want to send a guy there that says, ‘Here’s what we sent you; now here’s how you implement it,’” Mike Smith explained.

ODES has also partnered with a number of industry companies that are expected to help dealers succeed. On wholesale financing, ODES is working with Wells Fargo CDF, TCF and Northpoint. First Community Bank’s Dealer Direct is the preferred retail financing company for ODES, with Roadrunner Financial covering sub-prime customers.

LotVantage and ATV Trader also educated dealers about their respective services. On the P&A side, ODES is working with Two Brothers Racing, Royal Purple, Side X Side Enclosures and Super ATV. Interstate Batteries is also coming on board and will be the stock battery on ODES UTVS — with a 12-month warranty — beginning in November.

“The partnerships are important because our brand helps their brand; their brand helps our brand,” Smith said.

Dealers honored

The dealer meeting also served as an opportunity to recognize dealers for their sales efforts over the past year.

Northern Powersports of Mio, in Mio, Michigan, was named the No. 1 volume dealer for the fourth year in a row. Odyssey Sports NorthWest of Hayden, Idaho, was second in that category, while Custom Stripes of Bismarck, North Dakota, was third.

Custom Stripes was also named the Fastest Growing Dealer, as the dealer that has carried the line for less than a year with the most success.

Orion Powersports of Joshua, Texas, was named ODES’ Top Service Provider. Play N Around Motorsports of Conroe, Texas, was second, and Kerlin Trailers & Motorsports of Warsaw, Indiana, was third.

Brucher, of Northern Powersports of Mio, has been an ODES dealer for five years and is happy with the brand. “We love ODES; it’s our favorite brand. They’re our number one seller, by far,” he said.

Rachels, who has carried the brand since it launched, told Powersports Business, “For value for dollar, there’s nothing on the market that can compete with it because it’s all inclusive.”


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