June '18

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10 THE SHOP JUNE 2018 Q: What is your long-term outlook on the powersports market, as well as the con- tinued role UTVs will play in its expansion? A: It is hard to say from an all-encom- passing perspective, but we definitely see the UTV segment as having the largest potential for growth. I believe fewer than half of the UTVs currently sold are for recreational use and sales are increasing, which will create opportunities to service both commercial and recreational riders. On the two-wheel side, I am hopeful that as millennials discover motorcycles that we will begin to see an increase in sales, as the experiential aspect of riding aligns perfectly with that generation's interest in doing things over acquiring things. That's just pure speculation, though. CURT GROUP Q: CURT Group is really synonymous with towing, so what made you explore the powersports market? A: O u r ( c o r e ) market is greatly related to this industry and many of our customers want products that are tailored to powersports. Over 80 percent of powersport users own a truck, 53 percent an SUV, and close to 35 percent have a recreational vehicle. These same users are our customers/prospects. Q: What's the biggest challenge for auto- motive shops looking to diversify into pow- ersports? What specific advice would you give to those shops looking to better engage with these customers? A: The biggest challenge is under- standing the industry and knowing which products to market. First, I would suggest getting with distributors and aftermarket manufacturers to see if they are offering, or plan to offer, (powersports) products. Often, those who accessorize their trucks are looking to accessorize their UTVs in a similar fashion. Q: What's your hottest product for the powersports market and what are its best features? A: We recently launched our UWS UTV Box for the Polaris Ranger, Kawa- saki Mule, Honda Pioneer, Yamaha Viking and Can-Am Defender. It is one of the first aluminum crossover boxes for the UTV industry and is application-specific. The tub is constructed from powder- coated aluminum and welded together, right here in the USA, to be a single-piece design. The lid is filled with rigid foam for extra strength, and (is designed) to help stop moisture and keep items protected from the elements. Q: What is your long-term outlook on the powersports market and the con- tinued role UTVs will play in its expan- sion? A: This market will continue to grow as more and more people are using UTVs, whether for work or play. We have seen a growing demand to accessorize not only sport and multipurpose units, but also utility UTVs. Q: Any new trends you see coming out of SEMA? A: There is an entire section (at the SEMA Show) now committed to this seg- ment, and it continues to grow. Top prod- ucts have been in lighting, tires/wheels and storage solutions. KICKER Q: Powersports has come a long way, especially as it applies to crossover busi- ness with the automotive industry. Talk about the transformation. A: Both motorcycle and side-by-side sales took off starting in 2008. More than 400,000 side-by-sides and over 130,000 bag- gers were sold last year in the U.S. market. Our 25-plus million customers that grew up with our brand are the (same) customers buying powersports vehicles, and they want great audio, so it was a natural evolution to engage this market. Q: What are your best products for the powersports market? A: We develop products that are designed specifically for the segment—small, low current-draw amplifiers, waterproof Audio systems company Rockford Fosgate has jumped into the power- sports marketplace, partnering with online UTV media and promotion company UTVUnderground and sponsoring six-time off-road racing champion RJ Anderson. (Photo courtesy Rockford Fosgate) (Photo by Daniel Schenkelberg) Lund's powersports products include an aluminum trailer tongue storage box and an ATV/UTV box. (Photo courtesy Lund International) POWSPTS A Peek at

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