Rural Lifestyle Dealer was there when Yamaha recently announced its new Wolverine R-Spec, a side-by-side (SxS) vehicle, aimed at a widespread audience including agricultural users, recreational users (for hunting and trail riding), as well as those in professional and amateur racing circuits. Yamaha executives say 19% of the SxS market consists of owners operating the machines for utility/work purposes.
Pictured above: Yamaha's new side-by-side vehicle, the Wolverine R-Spec, has a fully adjustable suspension and precision steering. The first orders will be delivered in early April.
The company's original Wolverine ATV was discontinued in 2010. The ATV market remains stronger in the sports sector, but for off-trail driving and especially durability, comfort and storage space, users are transitioning to SxS vehicles, the company says. The Wolverine R-Spec is an extension of Yamaha’s Viking line, a more utility-based vehicle that was introduced two years ago.
Offering Comfort, Convenience
“Many side-by-side users are coming from ATVs,” says Travis Hollins, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS product planning manager. He says they are seeking out the comfort and convenience features that the Wolverine R-Spec offers. The new vehicle provides a comfortable pace with a variety of drive options and allows passengers to enjoy the ride without the worry of getting stuck in rough terrain because of its narrow chassis and high ground clearance, he says. During the design process, there was also a big focus on cup holders and other storage, both in position and depth.
The new SxS is less jarring on the body, leading to less physical fatigue after long use, Hollins says. “The Wolverine R-Spec keeps the tires on the ground, offering less skipping and more comfort and confidence,” he adds.
“The Wolverine offers a seamless feel for the less aggressive customer and extreme durability for the more aggressive one,” remarks Patrick Biolsi, Yamaha AVT/SxS testing supervisor. “The comfort aspect is huge.”
Biolsi says the vehicle features high-back bucket seats, passenger handholds, extra legroom and textured floor of the Wolverine R-Spec. A standard sun top is installed on each vehicle.
The new Wolverine R-Spec side-by-side vehicle features high-back bucket seats, passenger handholds, extra legroom and full underbody skid plates. Yamaha is offering dealers a 50/50 co-op advertising program to promote sales of this new SxS.
The vehicle's precision steering is a key differentiating point with the Wolverine R-Spec. "The Wolverine responds and reacts the way you'd expect it to," says Hollins. "Confidence is what this machine is all about."
The vehicle’s four-wheel independent suspension with the KYB brand of piggyback shocks is something Hollins says makes the Wolverine stand apart from its competitors. It's also why "R-Spec" is included in the name of the vehicle. "The suspension capability is high-level and fully adjustable," he says. "You can tailor it in the rear and front to the experience you want to have."
The engine is a 700 class with dual overhead cams and fuel injection. The Wolverine R-Spec also has a 4-wheel drive system that can be adjusted by turning a dash-mounted dial to 2-wheel, 4-wheel limited slip or 4-wheel differential lock. "This makes a big difference in confidence when driving," says Biolsi. "We wanted to give people the best of both worlds. It doesn't feel fast because it's so composed in rough sections."
Other features include:
- Removable tailgate
- 300-pound bed capacity
- 26-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires
- Rear hitch that can tow up to 1,500 pounds
- 3-point seatbelts
- Narrow chassis
- Full underbody skid plates
- 9.7 gallon fuel tank
Opportunities for Dealers
Dealers can order now with estimated delivery of early April. Production starts in March at Yamaha's Newnan, Ga., plant. Scott Newby of Yamaha says production of the Wolverine R-Spec will be ramped up over the summer months. Dealers will have competitive financing programs available for customers when the units arrive, he explains. The electric power-steering model begins at $13,799 and the non-EPS model has a retail base price of $12,799.
More than 35 accessories will be available at the same time, and dealers are able to offer a free 18-month Yamaha Extended Service (Y.E.S.) program with the purchase of $1,000 in accessories.
This spring, the dealers will also receive training courses, point-of-purchase (POP) and ad materials, as well as social media/client relationship management (CRM) tools to help reach more customers, says Newby. Yamaha also offers dealers a 50/50 co-op advertising reimbursement program.
"The Wolverine R-Spec is rated to haul 300 pounds in the bed and tow an additional 1,500 pounds," explains Newby. "The average SxS customer spends approximately $2,000 on accessories before they even take home the vehicle, so there are great opportunities for accessories and implements, both large and small," he says.