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‘Audible gasps’ at Polaris dealer meeting on stop-sale

No media members are allowed at Polaris dealer meetings, so I wasn’t there, but analysts had plenty to report on from Nashville.

Feltl and Company analyst Mark Smith reports in a research note provided to Powersports Business that when Polaris management issued a stop-ride/stop-sale order on the RZR 1000 Turbo while at the meeting, the “announcement came with audible gasps from dealers. Recalls have been a significant financial and operational issue recently with nearly all RZR models under recall in the last year, and Ranger and motorcycles also facing recall issues. We think the stop-ride/stop-sale order is the proper step to take until the company can fully figure out its issues with fire hazards.”

Additionally, Smith reports that the Ranger XP 1000 and Crew 1000 was the “best received new product launch at the show. The new high-end Ranger offers more horsepower than its peers while also adding significant bells and whistles including three throttle control modes. The immediate launch of a Crew product is a change from historical trends of waiting a year to launch additional models.”

The vehicle will come in Rancher, Hunter, Highlifter and North Star editions.

“We note that the announcement of a North Star edition with heat and air conditioning received the most applause of the night,” Smith added.

Dealer seminar schedule released

We welcome all industry members to the Powersports DEALER Seminars at AIMExpo, set for Oct. 13-14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and we hope that you will all stop in for a visit during one of the classroom sessions. If you haven’t seen the schedule yet, be sure to check it out on Pages 24-25 of this edition. The PDS@AIMEXPO once again has CDK Global Recreation and National Powersport Auctions (NPA) as premier sponsors. Also, Aegis Powersports has stepped up to sponsor the Powering Profits track. It’s because of our sponsorship partners that we are able to offer the sessions for free and bring in some speakers whom you will appreciate. And no, they would not speak for free at your dealership!

We build the lineup and select the speakers based on feedback we received from dealers during and after previous years’ sessions. Count on the sessions, then, to be tailored specifically to help you run a more profitable dealership. You asked for it, so we’re taking deeper dives in select classes this year. You’ll see some sessions that last two hours; other dealers at AIMExpo don’t want to commit to a full hour in the classrooms, so we also are offering some 45-minute sessions. We know one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to commitment and availability in Orlando, so we’re making it easy for you to capitalize as much as possible from the vast educational opportunities.

For 2016, PDS@AIMExpo will feature 32 interactive and instructive sessions across five tracks, each curated to the most crucial business needs of any dealer. New to the lineup for 2016 is the PDS@AIMExpo Kickoff Session, a 75-minute presentation from industry veteran Frank Esposito. Vice president of sales and marketing at Scorpion Sports, Inc., he will get the PDS@AIMExpo started with an impactful presentation titled “Championship Retail Mentality.” Additionally, the PDS@AIMExpo Wrapup Session will feature the State of the Industry roundtable in which several of the most prominent and influential members in powersports will gather to discuss the current challenges and opportunities all businesses face in today’s marketplace.

As always, the PDS@AIMExpo seminars will focus on providing attendees with critical information and tools aimed at enhancing powersports dealership profitability and operations. The curriculum is developed with the goal of improving all facets of the powersports retail business model in five key areas: Sales & Marketing; Leadership Plus; Service & Operations; Powering Profits; and the Kickstart Track.

“AIMExpo’s foundational principle of serving the industry and adding value to how the marketplace does business centers around dealers. The 10,000-plus motorcycle and powersports dealerships across the country, many owned and operated by small business entrepreneurs and enthusiasts, serve as the backbone of this industry,” said Larry Little, vice president & general manager of AIMExpo. “Powersports DEALER Seminars were created to provide these dealers tools to strengthen their business and, in turn, strengthen the industry. We annually fine-tune and evolve the curriculum to properly represent the current landscape of the marketplace, and it is more important than ever this program commands the dealer’s attention and gives them the operational information they truly need to succeed.”

All PDS@AIMExpo sessions for 2016 will be held during the event’s exclusive trade days on Thursday, Oct. 13, and Friday, Oct. 14.

The roster of speakers scheduled for this year will include both knowledgeable business veterans new to AIMExpo as well as returning seminar leaders, all of whom are well-respected voices from both inside and outside the industry.


PDS@AIMExpo is an entirely free program aimed at providing substantial ROI to dealership staff who invest their time to attend AIMExpo. Dealers are free to choose whichever sessions they would like to attend, with most attending at least three PDS@AIMExpo seminars during the event. Registration for a trade credentials to attend AIMExpo is also free for qualified powersports dealers, who simply need to log onto to ensure their presence in Orlando.

Feedback fun

The Powersports Business dealer readership makes our job easy. The dealers typically are more than willing to provide feedback on a variety of topics and are eager to share their quarterly performance data with us, so we as an industry can gauge the retail environment.

You can see from reading the story on the Q2 dealer survey that we did in combination with our new analyst partner, Gerrick Johnson of BMO Capital Markets, that the months of April, May and June in general were not so kind to our dealer friends.

We keep all responses anonymous to get a better reflection of the true retail environment. Here a few more responses on Q2:

“New motorcycle sales trends are off by 30 percent, and pre-owned is up 30 percent.”

“We have more qualified leads coming through our website and on the floor, just less people.”

“Not looking good for 2016. If it will stay flat with my 2015, I will be happy.”

Dave McMahon is editor in chief of Powersports Business. Contact him at 763/383-4411 or


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