Lenders foresee further growth in off-road market in 2020

SAN DIEGO — Yamaha Financial Services, Roadrunner Financial and Mahindra Automotive North America foresee that the off-road market will experience further growth in 2020, the companies told attendees during the “Riding the Wave: Capitalizing on Off-Road Vehicle Growth” panel at PowerSports Finance Summit 2019.

“We do foresee a growth in the segment,” said Ashley Cooper, retail finance senior group manager of Yamaha Financial Services. “I can tell you openly that we are invested in this segment from an R&D standpoint and from a captive finance company standpoint. We do see the potential and see the growth within off-road and the powersports industry as a whole.”

Specifically, each company had seen growth lean largely in the side-by-side segment. Additionally, Yamaha has seen sales from its off-road motorcycles segment increase 10% year over year, Cooper said.

Mahindra, which currently only sells the Roxor UTV, echoed that growth in the market would continue. After 19 months in the market, the OEM is scouting out a third factory location to help keep up with demand, Luc de Gaspe Beaubien, vice president of sales and service, said. Additionally, the OEM plans to introduce other vehicles owned by its parent company to the U.S. as well, such as Jawa motorcycles.

Roadrunner’s Jon Vestal, vice president of sales, stated that, while growth is expected, lenders should prepare in the event of a downturn given the cyclical nature of the economy. “It’s just a matter of how strong that downturn is and when it happens,” he said. “We want to position ourselves in such a way that we want to lend responsibly today, yesterday and beyond.”

Vestal contrasted now with 2008, when there were so many finance companies and lenders in the market. “What happened?” he asked. “You talked to dealers, and they pull back, right? And so what we’ll want to be able to do is be here, not only for dealers but for our OEM partners, long into the future. And we can do that by lending responsibly to those customers today, regardless of their financial situation, so that we are confident they can repay those loans and get into another unit three or four years from now.”

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