Dealers Upbeat Early in 2017

Our latest survey of powersports dealers indicates that the retail sales environment remained weak in January but improved sequentially. The general theme in the marketplace is that consumer interest was focused on utility products and Maverick X3 models depending on the region.

On the utility side of things, we believe there was some incremental sell through on mid-to-high price point units compared to December. While inquiring about January trends, contacts shared early excitement for Can-Am’s new four-seat recreational UTV, the X3 Max.

In the heavyweight motorcycle market, the new 2017 Harley Milwaukee-Eight models continue to drive foot traffic at dealerships, but the bulk of sales appear to be occurring on carryover 2016 inventory and used bikes – in large part due to attractive incentives provided by dealers.

While there are still no tangible signs of improving end-market demand, the sentiment among dealers seems to be improved – more so in ORVs than motorcycles. Specifically, dealer contacts are clearly hopeful that a pro-growth administration that features significant tax reform will be supportive of stronger business in 2017.

Further, many contacts have noted that their customer base leans red, which should serve as an added psychological boost. In many respects, this is the most positive that we have heard dealers in months.

For a complete copy of Seth’s research this month, download the PDF here.

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