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Top Powersports Stories of 2018

It was certainly an exciting year for powersports. Lenders, dealers, and OEMs made acquisitions, launched new products and services, and restructured their companies. What follows is a list of what PSF’s editors thought were some of the top stories of 2018.

Yamaha Launches Captive

Yamaha, which announced plans to form a wholesale finance captive last year, launched the unit earlier this month. Vice President of Wholesale Finance Brian Hinchman told PSF that the finance operation is now looking to establish relationships with Yamaha’s dealers.

BRP Powersports Group President Steps Down, New Co-Leads Appointed

Bertrand Thiébaut, president of the internal powersports group at BRP, left the company in November. The powersports group, formed in February when Thiébaut joined the company, put brands such as Sea-Doo, Lynx, and Can-Am under one operating unit that handled design, vehicle and engine engineering, global sales, and dealer service. Sandy Scullion, senior vice president of global retail & services, and Thomas Uhr, senior vice president of product engineering and manufacturing operations, were appointed co-leads of the group.

Fifth-Third Merges With MB Financial, Absorbs Powersports Portfolio

In May, Fifth Third Bank agreed to acquire MB Financial Bank, along with its powersports portfolio, in a mostly stock deal valued at about $4.7 billion. MB Financial does not break out powersports specifically in earnings but reported that indirect vehicle outstandings, which includes RVs, boats, and motorcycles,  grew 20% to $790.6 million in its third quarter ended September 30. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.

Polaris Enters the Marine Business

In May, Polaris Industries entered the marine sector with the $805 million acquisition of Boat Holdings, a luxury manufacturer of pontoon, deck, and cruiser boats.  It wasn’t the only powersports manufacturer to hit the water. Over the summer, BRP, a manufacturer of off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, and jet skis, announced the acquisition of two boat makers, Alumacraft Boat and Triton Industries. The terms of the two deals were not announced. The Alumacraft deal closed and the acquisition of Triton is expected to finish in the third quarter of next year.

As Associate Editor of Powersports Finance, Matt Wood reports on the latest developments and trends of the powersports finance world, from innovation to new partnerships. He's also a movie/TV show buff and is willing to argue about Lost anytime. Former bylines include Scout Media and CinemaBlend.

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