As the year comes to a close, Rural Lifestyle Dealer has compiled the top articles from each month of 2020. Take a look at what stories were trending on in November 2020.

1. Polaris CEO Leaving for CNH Industrial

Polaris Inc. announced that Chairman and CEO Scott Wine will leave Polaris to assume the CEO role at CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI). Wine will remain in his current role at Polaris through the end of the year as the Board executes its succession plans. Transition plans will be announced at a later date.

“For the last 12 years, I have had the extraordinary honor of leading the best team in powersports, and it is incredibly rewarding to reflect on all that we have accomplished together,” said Wine. “I am most proud of the team and the culture that have made working here so gratifying, and having witnessed firsthand the ingenuity, passion and drive that permeates the Company, I leave with complete confidence that Polaris’ future is bright. I also want to offer my sincere thanks to my incredibly talented colleagues and to the Polaris Board for their guidance and leadership during my tenure.”

2. Briggs & Stratton to Pay $33 Million in Toro Patent-Infringement Case

In the latest development in a nearly decade-old patent lawsuit, Briggs & Stratton Corp. has once again been ordered to pay damages to a subsidiary of The Toro Co.

Exmark Manufacturing Co. Inc., a Nebraska-based commercial mower brand for Toro (NYSE: TTC), first sued Briggs in May 2010, claiming that certain mower decks produced by Briggs (NYSE: BGG) subsidiary Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC, branded Ferris and Snapper Pro, infringed on Exmark's mower deck patent. Exmark won the lawsuit in September 2015, and Briggs was assessed nearly $50 million in damages, but an appellate court remanded the decision back to the district court for reconsideration in January 2018.

3. New Briggs & Stratton President & CEO Steve Andrews Reaffirms the Future of the Company

After emerging from Chapter 11 restructuring as a new company with a new owner and a new CEO, Briggs & Stratton LLC, a company with a 113-year legacy, also has a new beginning.

Steve Andrews assumed the position of Briggs & Stratton's President and CEO just over a month ago after most recently serving as CEO of International Equipment Solutions LLC. While still new to the role, he reflects on early observations and reinforces a strong, promising future for Briggs & Stratton.

It's no secret that Briggs & Stratton has had significant hurdles to overcome as of late - but that's changing. "Many of the external challenges that seemed to hit the Company all at once are starting to stabilize: weather is in our favor; the stay-at-home environment has positively impacted our business … and, we're now a well-capitalized company, unencumbered by past liabilities, so we can focus on growth," says Andrews. "In the first three months of our fiscal year, nearly all parts of our business globally are performing stronger than last year. In fact, this is a better start than we've seen in a number of years."

4. American Landmaster Launches 'Landmaster' UTV Lineup

American Landmaster has stepped up their game in the side-by-side market with their all new lineup of UTVs called the “Landmaster.” The 2021 Landmaster UTVs are equipped with over 30 new customer and dealer-inspired features, a best-in-class suspension system, automotive-grade components, weather-sealed electrical system, and a whole lot more. These 30+ new features are categorized across four segments: Safety & Reliability, Performance, Design, and Ride & Drive Experience.

The Landmaster standard lineup will include the L3,L4,L5,L7, and L7x. All models receive the new 30+ features and a best-in-class suspension system except for the L3. “We wanted to keep a highly affordable, basic 2WD UTV in the mix so we kept the L3 with all the legacy features, but upgraded the decaling to the new 2021 look. This way, if you just need a basic UTV we have a solution for you. If you want to step up to a smoother ride with stronger components, advanced electric options, and more features, then the L4,L5,L7,L7x are going to be for you,” says David Piercy, marketing director for American Landmaster.

5. Dealers Share Biggest Challenges for Remainder of 2020

What are the biggest challenges your dealership faces for the remainder of 2020 and what will you do to overcome those challenges?

“Lack of the right inventory is our biggest challenge right now, and I see this continuing through 2020 and on into 2021. With volatility in the market, forecasting and managing orders and inventory will be a challenge for a while to come.” — Jeremy Ostrander, CEO, AgriVision Equipment

“With all of the uncertainties, presidential election, COVID, protest, etc., I would say order writing for 2021. If you go bold and the economy weakens the big inventory would be a negative. If you go light and the economy is strong you lose sales (profit) and market share." — Wayne Blankenship, Manager, Rocky Mount Tractor

6. Help Your Techs Be More Productive


The worst way to start each day is to have your service manager fielding calls from customers who have had breakdowns the night before and, at the same time, your techs are wandering around waiting to have their jobs assigned.

Instead, each day in your service department should actually start the night before. Your managers should spend a few minutes communicating with each technician about their current job, any issues the manager should address as well as the job they’ll take on next.

I’ve found after working with technicians for many years is that a tech’s brain never stops thinking if they’re trying to fix a problem. They’ll come in the next morning with a solution in mind and they’ll start producing for you right away. This simple process of end-of-day communication will turn your shop around.

7. Dixie Chopper Announces New Online Parts Ordering Website

Dixie Chopper has announced a new online parts ordering website for Dixie Chopper customers — My Dixie Chopper Parts.

Every industry is adapting to the changing environment of how customers are interacting in the retail atmosphere. Even in the Outdoor Power Equipment industry, customers are opting for making online purchases now more than ever in the past.

If a customer is unable to make it to their local dealer due to schedule conflicts, proximity, or any other reason, Dixie Chopper has a solution with My Dixie Chopper Parts.

8. Kioti's New CS Model Tractor Features Ergonomic Work Station, Operator Comfort

Kioti Tractor, a division of Daedong-USA, Inc., has added two all new models to its CS Series. The CS2220 and CS2520, now available at Kioti dealers across North America, are easy to operate, yet powerful enough to meet customer demands, making them perfect for a wide variety of tasks. The all new models feature an ergonomic operator station, with standard features including a tilt wheel with power steering, a joystick valve with quick attach and detach loaders, and a precision built Kioti diesel engine.

“We at Kioti know that sometimes big things come in small packages, and our two all new sub-compact CS models do just that,” said Peter Dong-Kyun Kim, president and CEO of Daedong-USA, Inc. Kioti Tractor Division. “With an ergonomically designed work station, plus the power and versatility to get the job done, the CS2220 and CS2520 are hard to beat. We’re excited to see these models get to work across North America.”

9. McCullough Implement Acquires Don Bales Inc.

McCullough Implement Co, a farm, construction, and turf equipment dealer, has acquired Don Bales Inc. of Lowell, Ind. The official announcement was made in Watseka Nov. 16. The acquisition is expected to finalize early January 2021, according to a news release.

“This expansion allows McCullough Implement to extend its offering of quality equipment and customer service while building on the business that Don Bales has built in North West Indiana area ” said Stephen J. McCullough, president of McCullough Implement.

The acquisition of Don Bales fits into McCullough Implement’s growth strategy in the farm, construction, and residential markets. Through this purchase, McCullough Implement will now offer the entire line of Kubota turf, agriculture, and construction equipment to a larger service area, including NW Indiana and the south suburban area of Chicago.

10. Most and Least Reliable Lawn Tractor Brands

In Consumer Reports’ latest survey of 11,217 subscribers, John Deere takes the top prize as the most reliable brand of lawn tractors and among the more reliable zero-turn-radius mowers. And reliability is key — in our fix-it surveys, readers told us that they're more likely to repair lawn tractors and ZTRs than any other products we ask about, even such big-ticket major appliances as washing machines and refrigerators.

But while several John Deere models, including the John Deere X350-42, $3,200, and the John Deere S240-42 Sport, $2,500, top our riding mower tests, they tend to be pricey, and you'll sacrifice a bit of performance if you zero in on a John Deere ZTR. So how heavily should you weigh reliability when deciding on the best riding mower for your property? Consider these key findings.