ATV Television's Blog

The Latest News and Doug's Ramblings & Ravings.
Including Doug's "Here's what I think!" and "What were they thinking!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Will Polaris Be Our Only Choice?

If you’ve seen any of our Latest News we’ve posted lately you’ll notice that Polaris has purchased Indian Motorcycles, the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in America. It’s an incredibly gutsy purchase that will save a great heritage. They also announced that they are purchasing GEM – Global Electric Motorcars from the Chrysler Corporation. That will give them a huge leg-up in the on-road urban electric vehicle market. That’s also an incredible marketing move! And if you look a little farther back you’ll see announcements about new machines – market-busting machines, like the new high-performance RZR XP.

More importantly (perhaps), if you look inside our shop you’ll see a number of wonderful Polaris machines sitting there waiting for good enough weather for an old man to ride in.

But it’s what you don’t see that worries me the most. You don’t see any Latest News about new Yamahas, Suzukis, Hondas or Kawasakis. Okay, okay, there’s a new Honda with EFI and a new Kawasaki with EPS. But I probably don’t have to remind you that those two items have been on Yamaha and Suzuki ATVs for more than just a few years.

It’s what I don’t see that scares me more than what I do.

While the folks at Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda are hiding behind closed doors cowering and waiting for the economic wolf at the door to go away, the folks at Polaris aren’t hiding behind closed doors. In fact, you won’t even find them sitting behind their desks! They are outside with their swords drawn, perhaps not just chasing the wolf away from their doors, but knowing all too well that the only place for the wolf to go is outside the doors of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki.

So not only does Polaris continue to dominate the market with new models, but perhaps more importantly, they continue to be aggressive in their marketing, supplying models to testers like us to ride and review. And while other manufacturer’s market shares decline, their share of the now smaller market continues to grow at an incredible pace!

Is there a connection between marketing and market share? I suppose if there wasn’t we’d have neither marketing departments nor measurements of market share. While Polaris continues to market their ATVs and UTVs, the competition pulls the blankets over their heads, loaning only a very few test units to the biggest reviewers to evaluate.

The capitalist in me says that Polaris should be rewarded for their bold and aggressive marketing. The realist in me sees that Polaris’ reward is a well-deserved increase in the share of our market.

Let’s just hope that Polaris will someday offer a V-twin for those of you that liked Kawasaki’s instant power, a balanced, high-geared single that’s smooth enough for all you King Quad fans, a 4wd system as capable as what you love about the Yamaha’s, and a simple, reliable workhorse for the Honda fans. Because the way things are going Polaris will be the only manufacturer standing.

Hurrah for them. Too bad for everyone else. I don’t know what to say about all of us.


  1. Optimistically, if Polaris really starts to pull away and gain market share the other (big) manufacturers will have no choice but to dump money into R&D (hopefully) and advertising (more likely) which may in turn lead to a more competitive marketplace.

    But who's to say the market is going to be there? How cost-inflated can the market get in this economy, even as it continues to improve? I admit I'm a cheapskate but it boggles my mind that people can afford $5,000 "low-end" quads and $16,599 RZRs. Just like the housing bubble how long can you expect people to pay these prices?

    Love your site/show/channel by the way. I want a job! :)

  2. The reality is that Polaris has pulled away making huge gains in the 'albeit smaller' market. Perhaps the others think they can just wait it out and then when (or if) the market improves they can just pick up where they left off!

    The media is the same with many companies (like us) cutting back, and many others folding entirely ;-)

    I too struggle with the prices of today's ATVs and UTVs. I guess that's why I am rebuilding one of my old Meyers Manxs!

    Thanks for the kind words. When I retire I'll let you know. Unfortunately the older I get the more I realize there are no 'old' guys doing reviews;-)

  3. Great thoughts. Good job to Polaris is all I can say. I sure hope the other manufacturers are listening....

  4. I hope the other wake up too. If they don't I'll be faced with two choices; either buy used or get the old 4-wd truck going again.

    I guess the only advantage of the others sleeping is that I can buy a brand new of what I already have for only a few hundred more than I paid for it 10 years ago.

  5. "Unfortunately the older I get the more I realize there are no 'old' guys doing reviews"

    That's because not everybody truly takes the time to enjoy what God has surrounded them with and not just how fast that they can RIP through it as fast as they can.

    I talked to a couple of young kids last week getting gas in town in their parents new RZR X and were telling me about how cool it was that they getting close to 80 mph; I told them I'm sure that I will read about them in the paper. They just looked at me with a puzzled look on their face wondering what that "old man" was talking about.

    Keep those big giant high HP machines out of here and in the desert where they belong.

    Sorry for getting off topic.

    WOW!! I’m getting old too!! LOL

  6. Getting off topic is one of the problems with getting old. Of course one of the advantages of being old is that you don't realize that there is an off topic ;-)

  7. Doug

    As consumers we tend to be drawn to the latest and greatest stuff, ATV’s are no exception. Polaris has been very aggressive in creating new models and improving current models, so what does that mean? It means the customer has a fresh line up from Polaris with many new features and styling.

    I think if I was looking for a new ATV, I certainly would check out Polaris first, as I know what Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki have in their lineup, basically the same machines pre-economic down-turn. I could see myself purchasing a Polaris as the lineup of Polaris is fresh and many new models.

    You see this in the Automotive world, Ford, GM and Dodge offer many models in pickup trucks, while Honda offers one model…four wheel drive…V6…crew-cab…limited towing capabilities. The sales of pickup trucks are certainly dominated by the domestics as the domestics provide many models for the customer to choose from, and Honda sales are somewhat lagging, huh, go figure.

    Lee Iacocca said it best “Lead, follow or get out of the way”, I didn’t think the competition (ATV manufactures) would lay down and not freshen up their lineup.

    I wouldn’t surprise me to see some ATV manufactures quit making ATV’s as they have lost their market share.


  8. Without question Polaris is doing what’s right in a falling economy and that is to be aggressive and capture the market and not be one of those who fall to the side or even worse yet end up dropping out of the market all together. I personally would hate to see just one manufacture.

    I’m one of those people who buy something and keep it until it’s worn out and not one who buys a new one every time there are new features offered or a bigger and more powerful engine.

    Polaris has yet proven to me that they build a quality and dependable ATV and I feel that if they were the only ones left in the market that their quality would only worsen rather than improve.

  9. I am indeed surprised to see the rest of the manufacturers lay down. I am inclined to guess that the market will stay down and 'they' will continue to offer fewer and fewer models and 'let' Polaris own the market. It is too bad.

    Perhaps the good news in all of this will be the market for good, used machines. Or should that be used, good machines?

    For me it may not be such a bad thing and I guess one reason I'm working on a 40+ year-old Meyers MAnx as my UTV!