This all came to a head for me a few years back when we tested the new Toyota Tundra. The comments on You Tube were an amazing mix of how good the truck is and how horrible it is to buy a Japanese vehicle.
I attempted over and over again to point out that the Tundra was made in the United States, but the haters pointed out that the ‘profit’ went back to Japan! I wonder what money they are most concerned about – the money paid to workers or the profit to the corporation?
So here we go with the same information about ATVs and UTVs. It is meant to clarify many misconceptions. Of course I’ll also then confuse the issue later…..
The manufacturers in alphabetical order:
— Arctic Cat. All Arctic Cat ATVs and UTVs are made in the United States except the newest trio, the 350, the 425, and the 450i 4x4 Crossover.
— Can Am. All Can Am ATVs and their one UTV, the Commander are all made in Juarez, Mexico.
— Honda. The Rincon, the Rubicon, all Foreman, all Ranchers, the Recon, and the 250X and 400X are all made right here in the United States. The rest of the Honda lineup is made in Japan. Honda's UTV, the Big Red is made in Mexico.
— Kawasaki. All Kawasaki ATVs and UTVs are made in the U.S. except the KFX90.
— Polaris. Polaris recently made the announcement that they would move a part of their manufacturing to Monterrey Mexico. In essence, what this means is that the ATVs and UTVs that will be sold in the southwestern part of the U.S. will now be manufactured in Mexico. All the ATVs and UTVs sold in the northeastern part of the U.S. will continue to be made in the U.S.
— Suzuki. The King Quad 750, 500, and the 450 are made in Rome Georgia. This includes both the standard models and the EPS models. The sport ATVs like the LT-R450, all the kids ATVs, and all motorcycles are assembled in Japan.
— Yamaha. The Rhino, the Big Bear 400 4x4 IRS as well as all of the Grizzly 350s and 450s are made in Newnan, Georgia.
So while that just may clear up the question as to where ATVs are made, let’s take a look at the ramifications of where ATVs are made.
The most obvious are the advantages for the Japanese manufacturers to make their machines here in the United States. First and foremost they can cut down on the cost of delivering the machines from the factory to the dealership. Second, they are helping the economy of the country where they are selling their merchandise. Is there a downside? One might think that because the Japanese manufacturers are so well known for their quality that that could adversely be affected by building the units here in the U.S. That has been proven to be false with the proof being that it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between any of the ATVs made here or there. Proven false I say because the quality of a machine is designed in first, and can be controlled in the manufacturing process second.
The harder thing to do is to point out the advantages for the U.S. and Canadian manufacturers to make their machines in Mexico. First, Mexico lowers the cost of the manufacturing process. Taxes are lower. Wages are lower. And employee benefits are less. The bigger question is whether the quality is better or worse than if they were built in the U.S. Once again, I believe that that is more a question of design and workforce management than simply location.
So what does all this mean?
I don’t know about you, but to me it means good ATVs can be made anywhere in the world. So can bad ones. Does it make it right? No. But it’s how it is.