Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Our latest survey of powersports dealers indicates that the retail sales environment improved sequentially but on balance remained weak to close out the year.

For many powersports and motorcycle dealers, the end of 2016 couldn’t arrive soon enough, as end-markets were choppy and consumers were generally more price sensitive than at any point since the early innings of the economic recovery.

Moreover, dealers that carry off-road industry-heavyweight Polaris were treated to more than 200,000 recalled SxSs, as well as delayed shipments for its MY17 product.

That said, not everyone was sorry to see 2016 go. In fact, dealers of Can-Am, CFMOTO and HiSUN had very good years and are hoping for more of the same in 2017.

In the heavyweight motorcycle market, the new 2017 Harley Milwaukee-Eight models appear to be driving foot traffic at dealerships, but dealers are limited by the suddenly unattractive MY16 product and H-D has slowed shipments of the 107s into the channel until the carryover inventory is cleared. In our view, the pain may continue through the first quarter, but H-D could have stronger sales through the balance of the year.

While the prospect of a pro-growth administration that will lower taxes has people optimistic, the fact is there has been little sign of an improvement thus far. Nevertheless, we are all looking forward to stronger retail sales in 2017.

For a complete copy of Seth’s research this month, download the PDF at http://bit.ly/2jUgpsA

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