Millennials Spark Change in Powersports Production, TDECU VP Says


With millennial buyers beginning to take over the market, manufacturers will need to figure out how to appeal to the next generation, according to Chuck Smith, vice president and chief lending officer of Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU).

One of the biggest challenges in powersports is figuring out how to cater to the younger buyers, Smith told Powersports Finance. “A lot of it [the industry] has changed overtime,” he said. “For ATVs and side-by-sides, the demand is up but in different kinds of products, so how do you make products that resonate with the new generation of powersports customers?”

With an influx in millennial buyers in recent years, manufacturers have been releasing different vehicle types to cater to that younger audience, Smith said. For example, consumers each wanted their own ATV or powersports vehicle in previous years, but now the demand has shifted towards shared two-seater and four-seater vehicles, he added.

Millennials grew up with video games, so the challenge is “how do you get them interested in outdoor activity?” Smith said. “I think manufacturers are figuring that out a little bit,” by offering vehicles for multiple riders rather than just one.

Lake Jackson, Texas-based TDECU is partnered with more than 75 powersports dealers throughout Texas, and finances prime consumers for new and pre-owned vehicles. The company reported its largest month in loan originations in March with a 45% increase year-over-year from March 2016 versus the same time last year.

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