Snowmobiling by the numbers

Sales may be down, but snowmobile registrations have hit an all-time high, according to statistics gathered by the International Snowmobile Manufacturing Association (ISMA). Build numbers will increase for 2005, ISMA president Ed Klim said.
For 2004, worldwide sales were 181,336, a 3 percent decrease from 2003 and a 30 percent decrease from the recent 1998 high of 257,936. The all-time high sales record was set in 1971, with 495,000 machines sold.
In the U.S., unit sales for 2004 were 109,750, which equalled retail sales of $711.6 million with an average snowmobile price of $6,483 — down from 2003. Sled registrations, however, have risen to 1,723,202 — the highest recorded. In 2003, U.S. registrations were 1,656,328. Annual economic impact in the U.S. is estimated at $20 billion.
In Canada, 48,556 units were sold for a total of $345 million at an average price of $7,100 — up from $5,892 in 2003. Klim attributed this jump to increased costs of doing business in Canada. Canadian registrations are also up, though Klim said due to differences in recording procedures, the Canadian statistics are more difficult to track. Annual economic impact in Canada is estimated at $6 billion.
The Scandinavian market continues to grow, he said, with 340,000 machines currently registered in Scandinavia and the annual estimated economic impact is $1.6 billion.

New York Franchise Law expanded
A modification to Article 4-17 of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law has been passed signed into law. This modification, also known as the Franchise Motor Vehicle Act, will give snowmobile, ATV and personal watercraft dealers the right to refuse manufacturer-required activities that are not in the dealership’s best financial interest. This law could affect purchase quotas, acceptance of excess inventory, and interest payments on floor planning. This law previously applied to motor vehicle dealers, but did not include recreational vehicles.

EPA Rules
The Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) published snowmobile emissions rule, which was challenged by the San Francisco-based Bluewater Network. The EPA rule, set in 2002, will change snowmobile emissions standards in three phases, set for 2006, 2010 and 2012. In its decision, the Court stated that it did “not view the standards adopted as facially unreasonable, and found no evidence in the record contradicting the Agency’s ultimate decision.” The court did request, however, a more detailed explanation on Phase III standards and its Clean Air Act application. psb

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