Jump to these Perspectives:

+ Bad Boy Mowers: Growing into a New Market
+ Bobcat: Leveraging Reputation for Work
+ Kubota: High Dealer Satisfaction and Durable, Reliable RTVs
+ Polaris: Leading the Power Sports Market

Rural lifestylers love working and playing on their properties. They are turning to utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) — in record numbers — to help them do both. Retail sales of UTVs in North America reached their highest level in 2011, with more than 280,000 units sold, according to Power Products Marketing. The trend is higher for 2012, with sales expected to climb another 12-15%.

Four manufacturers — Bad Boy Mowers, Bobcat, Kubota and Polaris — share insights on what rural lifestylers want from UTVs. Work capabilities and versatility top the list and consumers want power, cargo capacity, additional seating, attachments and more.

Industry expert Paul Vitrano says manufacturers need to keep those options coming. He says dealers can increase sales by stocking UTV attachments and accessories, so consumers can get to work or play as soon as they get back to the country.

Safe operation of UTVs

First-time UTV owners may benefit from online safety courses from the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Assn., www.rohva.org.

“Customers are not one-dimensional. They want UTVs for all sorts of things,” says Vitrano, executive vice president for the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Assn. “UTVs are capable of doing recreation and being a workhorse and can give more options for the investment.”

The four manufacturers also share details about what sets their UTVs apart and how their support programs help dealers build business. They each might have a different take on winning strategies; however, they all agree: UTVs are a growing market and an opportunity that dealers shouldn’t pass up.