Europe holds demand for off-road UTVs

By Karin Gelschus
Associate Editor
Despite no official registration data for UTVs in Europe, some OEMs are observing positive sales numbers for the foreign market.
Yamaha believes the UTV demand is growing across the Atlantic, with much of that growth being attributed to off-road use and agriculture.
Polaris also has seen international growth. Its second quarter results reported the company had nearly a 40 percent increase in international revenue. The company’s ATV segment had the largest sales increase in its second quarter, which was due largely in part to increased UTV and international sales.
The Yamaha Rhino is sold across the continent, but Teruo Nagai, division manager of RV/PP products at Yamaha Motor Europe N.V., says the UTV’s biggest sales are generated from France.
“They sell 60-70 percent of total European sales,” he noted.
Of the Rhino’s total sales in Europe, Nagai says the Rhino’s demand is only for off-road use even though there are places in Europe where UTVs are street legal.
“As far as the Rhino, the usage in the market is 100 percent off-road,” he said.
Roughly the ratio in the United States is five ATVs for every one UTV, according to Powersports Business’ 2008 Market Data Book and Suppliers Directory. For UTVs in Europe, however, Nagai says that percentage is smaller, but there is also another segment that is considerably popular — 2-up ATVs.
While Yamaha doesn’t manufacture 2-up ATVs, Nagai said to satisfy that type of consumer demand, the company is “more and more focused on agricultural usage,” he noted. “Because ATV 2-up customers tend to enjoy riding with passengers more often in recent times, these customers will transfer from ATVs to side-by-sides in the future.
“We are convinced total demand of UTVs will increase year-by-year in Europe.”

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