Rebranding part of 2017 model launch
A ranch near Fort Wayne, Indiana, proved to be the ideal location for the 2017 model launch of the all-new American LandMaster lineup of UTVs. Damp grass provided the electric model with real-life conditions; a long gravel driveway allowed for testing of workday chores, and a trail system carved out through the woods allowed for serious fun at the max speed of 25 mph.
LandStar UTVs by American LandMaster (the newly rebranded name of the former American SportWorks badge) aren’t built to win races; they are, however, offered as an ideal option for work purposes. And the new name simply makes sense, considering the brand’s customer.
“American LandMaster is a better description of who we are and where we play in the marketplace,” marketing director Eric Hall described to journalists eyeing the new models on a damp Indiana morning at the Heartland Ride and Review Day. “’Born Tough and Made in America.’ From when we build them to when our customers are driving them, it’s what we have in the back of our mind.”
Kohler and Briggs & Stratton engines power the entire lineup, except the LS450 and its Honda power plant. The well-respected Kohler and Briggs engines, made at their factories in China, have been branded as the LandMAXX Commercial Power Engine System for ALM. The engines are custom-tuned and paired with a CVTech automatic transmission and a Schafer Driveline oil-filled transaxle.
“The engine companies are developing the specifications to our vehicle and our engines, and we private-label the LandMAXX brand,” said Ty Bello, vice president of sales and marketing.
Hilliard supplies the front gearbox on 4WD models. Curtis Industries builds the controller for the 48V unit, and Delta-Q Technologies makes the 48V charger. The combination brings confidence not only to the brand’s 200 dealers in the U.S., but also the consumer.
The UTVs are built at the company’s manufacturing facility in Roseland, Louisiana, with parts sourced from both the U.S. and overseas. Steel is brought in from Texas. It’s bended and welded at the Roseland factory, where it’s also painted. The hood and top plastic comes from Spencer Industries in Indiana, and the poly beds are from Fort Wayne Plastics.
Bench seating makes getting in and out of the units very easy, as we noticed on the demo rides. In fact, the American LandMaster UTVs have been labeled as the best in the industry for ease of entry by one of their suppliers that works with a variety of industry OEMs. For 2017, the entire dashboard has been reformatted, including the choke location. Foot pedals have been moved closer for a more comfortable ride, and the seat pitch has been raised by 1 inch. LED lights are standard, also.
As Bello pointed out, American LandMaster brings an extensive heritage. It originated in Fort Wayne in 1968 as Manco Products, a top supplier for decades to the go-kart, mini-bike and ATV industry. Manco purchased UTV-maker Brister’s, located in Roseland, in 2006. American SportWorks bought Manco in 2007, and now the company and its various incarnations have surpassed 1 million American-made and distributed UTVs at its Roseland plant.
The company’s recent survey of 2,500 UTV enthusiasts helped it get to know its customers — and potential customers — better.
“We’re lower than the majority’s price on a bare bones unit,” Bello said. “That’s who we are, and that’s how we go to market. It’s fair. It’s equitable. It’s good. It’s a price point that others aren’t at today, and it resonates very well with us, and with the customer. You can buy one of our UTVs for an average of $5,200-$5,300. Throw a top and winch on it, and front rack, now you’re maybe at $5,900-$6,000. That’s it.”
The LS450 model offers diff lock, and the LS550 units and larger all come with 4WD.
“We believe that our customer looks at our vehicle and immediately identifies the chores that they’re going to do with it,” Bello said. “We look at ourselves as utilitarian vehicles. We’re not high speed — you’re going to go 25 mph, but that’s it. And we’re OK with that.”
The LS670 and LS750 (both with 674cc Kohler V-twin engines) are differentiated only by the independent rear suspension on the LS750. Realtree camo is available on all 2017 models except the LS202.
In addition to the confident ride, the lineup has an impressive list of factory accessories: soft enclosures, a convertible dump bed/flip seat, Crewmate tool racks, gun racks, brushed aluminum wheels, hard tops, side mirrors, folding windshields, hood racks, winches and plow blades.
Here’s a look at the 2017 American LandMaster LandStar lineup of utility vehicles:
LSC4 — 4WD Gas Crew Cab; poly bed, 4x4, 674cc OHV V-twin Kohler, 4-wheel disc brakes. MSRP: $8,699.
LSC2 — 2WD Gas Crew Cab; poly bed, 4x2, 674cc OHV V-twin Kohler, 4-wheel disc brakes. MSRP: $7,199.
LS750 — 4WD Gas Standard UTV; poly bed, 4x4, 674cc OHV V-twin Kohler, 4-wheel independent suspension. MSRP: $7,599.
LS670 — 4WD Gas Standard UTV; poly bed, 4x4, 674cc OHV V-twin Kohler, 4-wheel hydraulic brakes. MSRP: $7,099.
LS550 — 4WD Gas Standard; poly bed, 4x4, 479cc OHV Briggs Vanguard V-twin, 4-wheel hydraulic brakes. MSRP: $6,699.
LS48V — 2WD Electric Standard UTV; poly bed, 4x2, 48V electric, 500 amp controller. MSRP: $6,699.
LS450 — 2WD Gas Standard UTV; poly bed, 4x2, 390cc OHV Honda with electric and recoil start. MSRP: $5,499.
LS350 — 2WD Gas Standard UTV; poly bed, 4x2, 277cc Kohler with electric & recoil start. MSRP: $4,699.
LS202 — 2WD Gas Light UTV poly bed, 4x2, 150cc F-N-R, 4 wheel hydraulic brakes. MSRP: $3,299.
Color options for the 2017 LandStar model lineup beyond the base red or green include Realtree camo, black or white (add $300 to MSRP). The S model includes a steel bed (add $100). The FS model has a convertible steel bed with a nifty rear-facing flip seat (add $500).