A “massive injection of yellow blood worldwide.”
That’s what will be in store for the 10,000 guests at Club BRP in Montreal July 10-17 for the largest event ever organized by the Valcourt, Quebec-based OEM.
“Many, many of our dealers have never been to Valcourt, and when they do, they’ll connect to our company in ways that never would have been possible otherwise,” said Yves Leduc, vice president and general manager of BRP’s North American division.
A cavalcade of 85 busses per day will transport attendees on a two-hour drive east of Montreal to BRP headquarters as part of the festivities.
Dealers will celebrate the company’s history that today counts its three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder and Commander side-by-side as important parts of its future. BRP also will unveil 2012 model-year products at Club BRP.
“We’re emerging stronger from the recession. We’ve taken out overhead. We’ve reduced expenses by $200 million. We’ve reduced dealer inventories by close to 60 percent,” Leduc told a half dozen members of the powersports media during a May trip to Minneapolis. “Despite the overhead reduction, we were able to more than quadruple our marketing spend compared to 2008. And we added two sales forces, because we believe our dealers are more effective if they get more attention from one of our sales specialists.”
Leduc looks to BRP’s progression since the recession began in 2008 and sees a stronger company. The U.S. and Canada remain BRP’s top two sales regions. Snowmobile remains the OEM’s revenue leader, followed by PG&A, ATV and PWC.
“What we did was a lot of turmoil internally, for the external side,” he said. “We focused on the consumer, we focused on the dealer network. We kept that focus even stronger during that time and it paid off. But the most important thing we did was to accelerate the pace of product introductions.”
Leduc went on to note that since 2007-08, BRP has introduced four new engine platforms, a “totally new business” with the Can-Am Spyder, “a new business for us” in the Can-Am Commander, and Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Break and Reverse on-water breaking system.
“As a result, we’re coming out with huge momentum. We’re not seeing a rebound yet in the economy. We’re planning as if it’s going to be a very long and slow recovery, but we have the resiliency to be there while growing the top line thanks to our new products,” he said.
The products with the most buzz are the Commander and Spyder. Production of the Commander has expanded four times since its launch, and there’s an eight-month wait on pre-sold Commanders.
“It’s one of the most promising growth opportunities this company has had in 20 years,” Leduc said.
The Spyder, meanwhile, is attracting consumers who are new to powersports, Leduc said.
“Close to 25 percent of our sales last year were to people who never stepped into a dealership before. Over 23 percent of the owners in the last two years are women, compared to 13 percent of women owners for motorcycles.”
The Spyder’s motorcycle marketshare in Quebec last year was second only to Harley-Davidson. Spyder also experienced 20 percent growth in the U.S. last year, with the motorcycle market enduring a 15 percent decline.
“Dealers are finding the roadster extremely profitable. There are no discounts. It’s full MSRP. The more they sell, the more they make,” he said.
Ski-Doo, meanwhile, saw growth thanks to dealer inventories that were reduced by half in an industry snowmobile segment that grew by 7 percent. The debut of Ski-Doo’s rMotion rear suspension and the Mountain lineup spurred growth in the segment, Leduc said.
“We had one of the best spring [snowmobile] results in years in 2011, so 2012 looks good,” he said.
The Can-Am XMR is also selling at full MSRP “and we have a hard time supplying to dealer orders,” Leduc said.
The Commander side-by-side model’s success has forced BRP to expand production capacity four times since its inception.
“That shows how healthy that segment is,” Leduc said. “It’s growing very fast. We position it as a no-compromise rec utility vehicle, with 85 hp, cargo capacity and comfort.”
Sea-Doo inventories have been reduced by nearly 60 percent, with slight sales increases over the past two years. The PWC’s Intelligent Break and Reverse (iBR) system helped BRP grow marketshare in 2010 in models in which it was installed.
“Now with entry-level watercraft having it in 2011, we’re very bullish about 2011,” Leduc said.
Leduc is ready to share BRP’s healthy state of the company with dealers.
“We were there for the dealers during the hard times, and now we want to continue focusing on what we call network excellence. It starts with what we need to do on our own side, namely do everything we can to make the dealer’s business more profitable,” he said. “You will see us introduce full replenishment, and we’ve already done that, and continuous demand order system. We will invest in technologies that will allow dealers to be more effective in managing their parts and inventory. We want dealers to knock on our door and say ‘I want to be a BRP dealer.’”
A “massive injection of yellow blood worldwide.”