Jeff Rowan has been carrying Bad Boy side-by-sides at Action Sports in College Station, Texas, for eight years.
He’s seen the brand go from its original ownership of Bubba Kaiser and Joe Palermo, the inventors of the Bad Boy side-by-side, to Textron Inc.’s ownership, which came in a 2010 acquisition. Now that Textron Specialized Vehicles (TSV) has revamped the Bad Boy product line and made changes to its management team, Rowan is looking forward to the future for the brand.
Rowan originally added Bad Boy to his lineup because he saw the electric side-by-side as a vehicle that would fit a niche in his market.
“I had a strong want for a completely silent vehicle that was stealthy,” he said.
He knew hunters in his area would appreciate the quietness of the vehicle because it reduces the field of disturbance as they head to their hunting grounds.
Though Rowan was nervous about what TSV would bring to the table, he’s been happy with what he’s seen since the company redesigned the vehicles in 2012, and he’s especially glad with recent management changes, including the promotion of Philip Jhant to director, Channel Development and Recruitment.
“I’m very pleased with the direction that they’re going in. Philip Jhant is a hunter, and he understands the product,” Rowan said. “Philip is going to help push this in the right direction.”
Rowan has picked up quite a following for Bad Boy side-by-sides at his dealership, which also carries motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, PWC, outdoor power equipment and side-by-sides from Can-Am, Kawasaki, Sea-Doo, Suzuki and Yamaha. Though about 60 percent of his Bad Boy buyers are hunters, another 40 percent — and growing — are not.
Farmers have been attracted to the Bad Boys, as well as families looking for a quieter side-by-side and beachgoers looking for a unit to ride through the sand.
“It’s a great, simple machine to operate that you can talk to your passengers and friends with, and it’s so simple to operate, that it’s just a pleasure to use. But it’s also got enough horsepower and torque that when you do get into a situation where you do need horsepower and torque, you can get out of just about any situation you can get yourself into. The four-wheel drive works phenomenally. They’re great all around machines, and they seem to be appealing more and more to people other than hunters,” he said.
The Recoil iS Crew, with four forward-facing seats and a cargo bed, is his best-selling Bad Boy, moving one Recoil iS Crew for every one of any other Bad Boy model. The hybrid gas and electric Ambush iS 4X4 is another popular model at Action Sports, as those with larger properties are looking to get more range out of their side-by-sides.
About three-quarters of Bad Boy customers come in looking for the brand. Rowan said they’re attracted to the ease of operation and the silent motor. However, he said Bad Boy customers do have to be qualified, so they understand the range and the different maintenance requirements that come with an electric vehicle.
Rowan said he’s seeing a surge in customers looking for an electric vehicle, and he believes with Bad Boy that he has the right one on his showroom floor, especially, as he has discovered, many of his Bad Boy customers buy the electric Bad Boy in addition to their gas side-by-side from another brand.
“I think that, quite frankly, they’re missing an opportunity to sell a second vehicle to the same customer,” he said of dealers who don’t carry Bad Boy. “Many, and almost all, of my customers have got gas powered equipment and a Bad Boy.”