Polaris acquisition posts 20 percent growth in first half of 2015
Hammerhead Off-Road has been under ownership of Polaris Industries since February, so we thought it would be an ideal time to catch up with Garrett Laves, national sales manager, about the China-based manufacturer of go-karts and UTVs.
Powersports Business: What kind of percentage growth have you had in the first half of 2015? What is driving the growth? Karts? UTVs?
Garrett Laves: Our growth has been pretty impressive this year. We are up over 20 percent to date this year with hopes to reach even better growth in the final quarter. With the Polaris acquisition, our brand has become more attractive and better known within the industry. As a result, dealers have added confidence in stocking and selling our products, while consumers are seeing and hearing about our products more often. Go-karts are the driving force behind our growth as they are the centerpiece of our business model. UTVs are doing well, too, but go-karts have a mass appeal towards the entire family. With affordable products, a growing U.S. economy and a more visible brand, we are predicting tremendous growth ahead.
PSB: What does your kart and UTV lineup look like for 2016?
GL: Although I can’t comment on future products, with the benefits of Polaris resources and technology you can expect Hammerhead to be coming to market with innovations very soon.
PSB: Are traditional powersports dealers showing an interest in Hammerhead? In what ways? Are you getting into more powersports dealerships?
GL: We are absolutely growing within the traditional powersports segment of this industry with the help of Polaris and their dealer network. If I am not mistaken, when Polaris acquired Hammerhead, we were the most read article on the Powersports Business website for quite some time. We are finding that it is much easier to attract powersports dealers when you are associated with the best brand in the industry. Being a part of the Polaris family gives us huge upside by having access to all of the personnel, technology, resources and experience that a company like Polaris has. Polaris is dedicated to helping us grow and they want us to be very successful.
PSB: It’s only been a handful of months since you were acquired by Polaris. Any noticeable changes to the operations? How has that benefitted Hammerhead?
GL: There are gradual changes being implemented, but both Polaris and our management feel that slow and steady is the best path forward. From a sales perspective, there is more thought and diligence as to what and where dealerships are being setup. We want to have dealerships that will carry us year-round and take pride in our products. We are revamping and improving a majority of our processes from quality control to warranty procedures. We have a tremendous partner in Polaris, but we cannot become a world-class organization in just a few months. Basically, we are getting a huge upgrade, but an upgrade that is going to take time to execute. This is a long-term commitment by both parties.
PSB: What about the China operations — do they have expansion plans, either in the U.S. market or other markets?
GL: Most definitely. Polaris is growing outside of the U.S., which is why they took interest in the factory. Polaris is expanding its global footprint, and the Chinese factory will play a huge role in that.
PSB: What type of warranty are you offering?
GL: We are offering a six-month warranty, including labor for the first 90 days, on all of our products. We are bringing all warranty back in-house. Our goal is to simplify paperwork and minimize hassle so that our dealers can be serviced right away. We are a timely, dealer-friendly company to work with, which is certainly an important part of our success.
PSB: Is your distribution method still direct to dealer, no online sales?
GL: As far as I am concerned, all off-road vehicles should be sold through a dealer. We are committed to staying loyal to our dealer network by not affiliating ourselves with online vehicle distributors. Nothing can replace the service, product knowledge and support that an authorized dealer can provide.