Today, we’re releasing a Rural Lifestyle Dealer Podcast interview with Steve Shankin, president of ViaLink, a UTV development company, and Seizmik, a UTV accessories manufacturer. Shankin discusses what he describes as a “massive missed opportunity” for equipment dealers when it comes to selling UTVs and accessories.

Here are a few facts to set the stage for the size of the market and the revenue opportunities for selling vehicles and accessories:

  • The latest data shows there were more than 444,000 units sold in 2016 for an average retail price of $15,262.
  • A study conducted in 2013 by the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (SEMA) and Clarity Research provides data for those customers who have or plan to accessorize:
    • 92% of sport vehicle customers
    • 85% of multi-purpose vehicle customers
    • 76% of utility vehicle customers
  • The average accessory price at the point of purchase is $1,096 according to CDK Global and $1,703 according to SEMA.

Shankin says that sources show at least half of the UTVs sold leave the dealership without any accessories, even though customers indicate they want to accessorize. When that is figured in, the dealers who are selling accessories are averaging $2,196 per vehicle.

“Customers don’t want the UTV for the sake of having a UTV. They have something they want to do with it. They have problems to solve and tasks to accomplish. Lead them to those things. That’s what the customer actually wants because that’s how they get more value out of the vehicle. A UTV by itself is just a really expensive wheelbarrow,” Shankin says.

Here is one other fact that Shankin addresses in the podcast — and something rural equipment dealers should start fixing right away. Only 29% of customers think the dealer is a great source of information.

Go here to listen in on the podcast, which posts this afternoon. Shankin shares actionable ways that rural equipment dealers can earn more money, such as grading yourself on accessory sales per UTV and not customizing “down” a UTV displayed on the show floor and more.