Polaris offers all-terrain pickup

The ATV division at Polaris Industries has long been recognized by media and consumers as an innovative manufacturer. Even while the ATV industry laughed at this Minnesota manufacturer for building belt-driven four-wheelers in the 1980s, Polaris continued to build different ATVs. Now, as the entire ATV industry finds other ways to be different (seemingly lead by the innovative engineers at Bombardier), Polaris refines and accessorizes one of its own designs into the All-Terrain Pickup.
Polaris isn’t the first ATV manufacturer to test this marketing idea; several have tried — with different degrees of success — selling ATVs with special accessory-type features. Bombardier added a winch, bumpers, and aftermarket tires and wheels to its Traxter line and turned them into Traxter XT ATVs. Arctic Cat recently earned critical praise for its new MRP 500 4×4 model; the MRP stands for Multi-Rack Platform and it allows consumers to customize this four-wheeler. Honda showed its dealers a prototype Rancher ATV with a built-in Global Positioning Satellite receiver; the GPScape ATV is scheduled for release in 2004.
Marketing Machine
All these new manufacturing ideas are created to meet the “sport-utility” needs of today’s ATV buyer, according to so many ATV manufacturers, Polaris among them. When introducing the new ATP models — the ATP 500 H.O. and the ATP 330 — to the media recently, Polaris ATV Marketing Director Mike Jonikas highlighted Polaris’ “innovation opportunity” to fulfill the “unmet needs of the recreational/utility ATV consumer.” And he defined two distinct consumers whose needs have been “unmet.”
Jonikas defines “consumer target #1” as a utility ATV user who generally rides alone and uses an ATV for agriculture or other duties, and an occassional recreational ride. “Consumer target #2,” according to Jonikas, enjoys long and adventurous trail rides, as well as hauling work loads or hunting trophies. These theoretical consumers share the need, according to Polaris, for a machine that “lets you do more, more easily.” The manufacturer created the ATP for this purpose.
The All-Terrain Pickup is a new ATV based on the Polaris Shaft-Ride Magnum chassis. Stretched by six inches, this chassis now carries extra storage features, including the ATP’s signature pickup-style dump box. This injection-molded box is handsomely styled into the machine, giving the ATP a much sportier look than the cargo-box-equipped Polaris 6×6 utility ATV, or competitive models from Arctic Cat and Bombardier. Lengthening the chassis also let Polaris add small storage holds on both rear fenders.
A front storage device mimics the design of aftermarket rack boxes that bolt on to steel-tube racks. The ATP’s new front rack box features a lid that opens forward to reveal a unique enclosed storage space. A user also can secure gear directly to the box top usign the D-ring tie-down anchors.
The ATP design also features a new VersaTrac rear differential built by Dana, an expert in off-road truck drive systems. The VersaTrac is modulated by an electronic handlebar-mounted switch, allowing the driver to select one-wheel-drive “Turf” mode when using the ATV on sensitive soil.
Like a pickup truck, the ATP also gets a receiver hitch instead of the traditional ball-mount trailer hitch.
Delving deeper into the lifestyles of ATV users, Pure Polaris — the manufacturer’s accessory division — has created several unique items that bolt onto the ATP. There are accessories for hunters, recreational riders and utility users, too, including a unique steel flat-bed that replaces the molded dump box and gives the ATP a whole new look.
The ATP is available in a version powered by the Polaris 500 High Output four-stroke engine (suggested retail price is $6,999), or the 330cc four-stroke ($5,999).

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