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Ski-Doo wows with SHOT starting tech

By Liz Keener

2018 sleds, four-seater Maverick X3 introduced at Club BRP

In true Club BRP fashion the crews from Ski-Doo and Can-Am put on quite the show in mid-February at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. 

As usual, the kickoff event included a formal presentation, lights, videos, appearances by BRP execs and new model introductions, but of course surprises were also in store. Ski-Doo and Can-Am dealers, BRP employees and select media entered the theater at the resort to find a pit orchestra ready to bring music to the event. But the showstopper that seemed to bring the most shock and excitement from the audience was the appearance of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” TV show. 

Savage and Hyneman were on hand to introduce Ski-Doo’s new SHOT engine starting technology. The duo joked that they were tasked by BRP to come up with a way to ease restarting frustrations, especially for mountain snowmobilers. Savage showcased his plan to increase his arm strength to make the process easier. Hyneman then brought out a robotic arm that sparked on stage, and then Hyneman hooked himself up to a prop rocket blaster before they stopped their skit an introduced the SHOT. 

Dealers check out the 2018 Ski-Doo Summit SP 850 E-TEC at Club BRP in Reno, Nevada, in February.

Dealers check out the 2018 Ski-Doo Summit SP 850 E-TEC at Club BRP in Reno, Nevada, in February.

Using ultracapacitor technology, the SHOT provides an electric charge to the engine with no battery, starter motor or ring gear. It weighs 2 pounds, saving nearly 20 pounds from a traditional electric start. The SHOT is available on the 2018 Summit X 850 E-TEC and SP 850 E-TEC, as well as the Freeride 137 850 E-TEC, 146 850 E-TEC, 154 S-38 850 E-TEC and 154/165 850 E-TEC.

The SHOT drew interest from a number of dealers in the showroom after the presentation. Jason Bryant of St. Boni Motorsports and
Minneapolis Motor Sports in Minnesota called the technology, “promising, very promising.” 

While Ski-Doo didn’t introduce any earth-shattering models at the unveil, the brand did announce that its REV Gen4 platform with Rotax 850 E-TEC is being made available on more than half of all Ski-Doo models, including the Summit, Freeride and Renegade Backcountry, and the X-RS packages of the MXZ and Renegade. 

“There were no big changes, but a lot of changes,” said Rock Gagne, of TG Powersports in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. 

After walking around the showroom floor for a while, Matt Redford of Badiuk’s Powersports in For Frances, Ontario, said he was most impressed with the 2018 Renegade X-RS. “Just the colors and style of it, it’s a pretty sharp looking sled,” he said. 

Though Badiuk’s saw both rain and snow this winter, the powder was enough to drive the traditional sales of 70-90 units. As of mid-February, only 19 were left on the showroom floor, Redford said 

“Hopefully we snow check a few of the things,” he added, looking at the 2018 Ski-Doo lineup. 

BRP’s Showroom Kit can be dropped into a single- or multi-line dealership.

BRP’s Showroom Kit can be dropped into a single- or multi-line dealership.

Maverick X3 MAX

In addition to the new Ski-Doos, BRP introduced its Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX in Reno. 

The four-passenger X3 has a 135-inch wheelbase, which is 15 percent longer than the closest competitor, according to BRP. The length, which caught the eyes of many dealers on the showroom floor, is designed to provide confidence to the driver at higher speeds and to give more space to both rear passengers. 

Like its two-passenger predecessor, the X3 MAX comes in three versions: the 64-inch-wide Maverick X3 MAX and Maverick X3 MAX X ds, as well as the 72-inch-wide X rs version with two painted color options, 22 inches of suspensions travel and full adjustable FOX 3.0 Podium RC2 bypass shocks. 

Retail environment

Also at Club BRP, dealers were shown the latest in BRP Retail Environment plans by the Dealer Image team. 

A project that started with concepts and pilot stores about five years ago has now come to fruition, and BRP has begun rolling out its new Retail Environment at a number of dealerships. Within the Club BRP display, dealers were able to see all of the new features; learn about how each aspect is designed for profitability; order racks, mannequins and other materials; and meet with designers who could explain how dealers could fit the new Retail Environment into their multi- or single-line stores. 

“The idea behind what we’re doing is trying to entice the dealer network into investing in their showrooms to help make their shopping experiences unique,” Delton Bohlman, director of Global Business and Dealer Development for BRP, told Powersports Business. “This ‘shopping environment done right,’ like most retail shows us, it increases sales; it increases profit; it gets customers to spend more time in the store; it gets them a little more committed to the store.”

He said the new environment has also been found to increase employee morale, as the staff and even dealership owners see the store in a new light after a redesign. 

Dealers were quick to step into the new four-passenger Maverick X3 MAX at Club BRP in Reno, Nevada, in February.

Dealers were quick to step into the new four-passenger Maverick X3 MAX at Club BRP in Reno, Nevada, in February.

A few of the elements highlighted at Club BRP included black racks and fixtures that can be used with hooks and shelves that dealerships currently have to their stores, a sales station designed to sit on the showroom floor and a new parts counter. 

Just beyond the parts counter display, dealers could learn more about BRP TV, which uses MotoTV technology to allow dealers to share BRP videos along with their own messages on TVs within their showrooms. At the Reno event, the Dealer Image team was also soliciting feedback on a new touchscreen version of BRP TV that the OEM is testing. 

In the center of the display, BRP showcased its Showroom Kit, which dealers can use in a single-line store or add to a multi-line dealership. It includes a focal area with a large graphic that matches the vehicle in front of it, which is then put on stands to raise it off the ground and make it the centerpiece. 

“Basically you can take this, drop it into a showroom and create a BRP zone. And it’s nice. It’s not real expensive, but it gives you lots of flexibility. I can be moved; it can be stationary; it’s your choice,” Bohlman said. 

Dealers were also able to see the difference in lighting in a display that pitted traditional dealer lighting with the new BRP-suggested lighting. 

“You can see the difference, how the clothing pops with the right light, the right temperature, the right Kelvins versus traditional fluorescent lighting,” Bohlman explained. “Our [product] designers spend lots of time picking the right colors, combinations, making things work, and if it’s not well lit, it kind of falls down.”

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” presented Ski-Doo’s new SHOT engine starting technology at Club BRP in Reno, Nevada.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters” presented Ski-Doo’s new SHOT engine starting technology at Club BRP in Reno, Nevada.

Once dealers made it through the entire display, they could sit down with experts from Optima Design to discuss how they can incorporate the new Retail Environment into their dealerships. After seeing Optima’s success with Harley-Davidson dealerships, BRP hired the firm to help it build the ideal BRP spaces. 

“They know retail. They know powersports. When you start to get stores designed for retail, they start to look a lot different. So when you walk into a Harley store, you can feel somebody knew the customer path, somebody understood what they’re trying to show, and the same thing for us. Optima has been really important for us, in helping us to do some very incredible projects,” Bohlman said. 

Within the Retail Environment area, dealers could also see and order the new exterior signs BRP has developed. 

“We hadn’t really worked on our signage for — it’s embarrassing to say — but it’s been about 15 years. We worked with Pattison (Outdoor), who helped us design our new signs, and we made a commitment to our dealer network that for sure we will not change it for at least 10 years, and with that commitment, and with the technology that we brought that Pattison has helped us bring, the LEDs, the materials, the cost is actually really good on the signs, and a little more than a third of our network has already adopted the new sign,” Bohlman explained. 

The whole Retail Environment program allows dealers to order everything from BRP and get help from experts to implement the Retail Environment. 

BRP’s Dealer Image team showed dealers the difference between traditional florescent lighting (left) versus their suggested LED lighting (right) in their display at Club BRP.

BRP’s Dealer Image team showed dealers the difference between traditional florescent lighting (left) versus their suggested LED lighting (right) in their display at Club BRP.

“Having been a dealer myself, I know the importance of turnkey, and when you’re going to make an investment like this, the last thing you want to do is be responsible for trying to find your mannequins or pick out your graphics or try to figure out how to assemble something,” Bohlman said. “Our solutions are fully turnkey. We can do everything from design, pre-site assessment, shipping of all the product there. We can provide either an oversight person to help you, if you have your own labor, or we can do full install. We put a project manager on each project that follows it start to end.”

BRP’s Dealer Image team originally tried to take on the monumental Retail Environment project themselves before bringing on Optima and Pattison. Original beta tests included racks with colorful patterns and other features that were eventually dropped to make room for black walls and fixtures, with metal and wood accents, designed to disappear into the background, while the merchandise stands out. Now, Bohlman explained, results show they’ve made the right moves.

“When we’ve done all of these pilot projects we see the dealers gain in retail because it does work very well. You don’t notice it when you go shopping at Old Navy or Abercrombie & Fitch, but there’s a ton of money spent on how you shop, where you’re going to spend your time. And believe it or not, we do the same thing, maybe not to the extent they do, but we take the time studying what we’ve done, ensuring that we’re getting a return, ensuring the dealer’s getting a return more importantly,” he said. 

Timothy and Melissa Jackson, owners of River Raisin Powersports in Monroe, Michigan, recently added the BRP Retail Environment to their store, and they were pleased with the process and the early returns. 

“As a new, full-line BRP dealer, the Retail Environment program was an outstanding resource for us to create a customer experience that highlights the unit products and PAC in a manner that enhances customer satisfaction,” they said. “From the lighting to the layout to the retail displays, our showroom is a ‘no excuses’ benchmark for how to sell the total BRP package of products and services. As a brand new dealer, it gave us immediate credibility against the established competitors and allowed us to launch months earlier than if we had tried to do it alone. The design services were especially appreciated, since we got it right the first time, and very few adjustments have been necessary for optimum retailing.  We credit the Retail Environment as an enabler for achieving Platinum Certified Status only nine months after opening our doors.”

Mike Skiba of Greater Vancouver Powersports in British Columbia has also had success with the BRP Retail Environment at his store.

“I was a little hesitant to spend the money on the LED light system that was suggested, but I am sure glad the team talked me into it. The lights make the units, accessories and clothing look amazing. At this point, almost a year into my new building, I have exceeded the retail team’s projections with PAC up 25 percent and new unit sales up 37 percent,” he reported. 

While implementation of BRP’s Retail Environment isn’t currently mandatory, beginning next year, the OEM will be offering up to 100 bonus points toward silver, gold or platinum certification for dealers who have added new Retail Environment aspects to their showrooms. The rollout is global, with the goal of BRP having a seamless image anywhere in the world. 

 

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