Bobcat is a global brand with more than 550 UTV dealers in North America. We are the leader in compact equipment and the industry's original innovator, beginning more than 50 years ago with the first compact machine and predecessor to the skid steer loader.
The steady growth of our dealer network is key to our success. The economy affects our growth, but even in downturns, we rely on the strength of the history and diversity of our products.
Get to Work
The top markets for Bobcat UTVs include rental, personal use (rural lifestylers), agriculture, and building and grounds maintenance. Across these markets, we stay true to our roots: a brand that helps our customers get work done.
Our 3450 4 x 4 model is a one-of-a-kind product, with its three Bobcat-brand attachments (bucket, pallet fork and snow blade) and its integrated RapidLink attachment system. RapidLink lets rural lifestylers operate and position attachments with the Bobcat joystick control. The only reason they need to leave their seat is to lock the attachment and hook up optional auxiliary hydraulics. The system can raise and lower two feet and lift 500 pounds. Also, our entire UTV line, which also includes the 3200 4 x 2, 3400 4 x 4, and 3400XL 4 x 4 have higher capacities for cargo and towing than many competitors.
The 3450 will remain a strong vehicle for us in 2013. Accessories, such as canopy tops, windshields, full cabs and heaters make work more comfortable.
Growing Dealer Network
Bobcat expects demand to remain strong for its 3450 4 x 4 model, with its three branded attachments and integrated RapidLink attachment system.
We've built a history around a network of independently owned dealers - we really like the entrepreneurial owner. Given the work nature of our vehicles and the price point, Big Box stores aren't a fit for us and reaching customers through our dealer channel proves most successful.
Our product development team uses our existing dealer network to help identify our next opportunities. We work with our district sales managers, sales team and dealers to find areas in demand for our work UTVs. We pursue these opportunities through many avenues, including advertising, recruiting at trade shows, dealer meetings, training events and traditional cold calling.
Bobcat has been in the UTV market since the early 2000s, so we leverage that longevity. Many dealers embrace adding UTVs to their product lines because it expands the types of customers they can reach.
Helping Dealers Succeed
What makes our dealers successful? It's a combination of many factors, including location, advertising, knowing the customer base, knowing the individual customer, and giving them the personal touch.
Fully stocked stores are also key to dealer success. To sell products, dealers have to stock products. Nothing takes the place of having UTVs on the lot, so a customer can sit in it and test it. They don't want to wait for the dealer to order.
Our dealers have also been successful in the rental market. They've been renting skid steer loaders to the construction market for many years, so have been easily able to adapt to renting UTVs to other markets. We encourage our dealers to include the latest models in their rental fleets to ensure customers have a good experience. That good experience is like an extended demo and could lead to a sale.
Our most successful dealers also provide great service. This goes back to how customers are using UTVs - for work. Our UTVs are a source of income. Down time is lost revenue. They need and expect their UTVs to be serviced immediately.
Generally, UTVs are less complicated to service than skid steer or compact track loaders, for example. Our dealers are already trained on gas engines and diesel engines and our service organization makes sure our dealers have the knowledge they need.
Thanks to high commodity prices, the ag market has been strong for us this year. More and more ag customers and baby boomer rural lifestylers are moving from ATVs to UTVs. UTVs offer easier entry, better ergonomics and more versatility for maintaining their properties. These will continue to be fast-growing segments for us.
The rental market, too, will be strong. This is a change from three or four years ago when the rental market was not that big for UTVs. However, as the UTV market grows, rental is growing, too.
We'll continue to focus on the work aspect of our UTVs. We expect to add to our attachment line-up to bring the Bobcat UTV to more markets and more customers.