OEMs were top of mind this year as the most popular stories on Powersports Finance revolved around manufacturers. Whether it was the rebates and incentives or operational hiccups, lenders wanted to know what OEMs were up to. Here are the most-read stories of 2019.
Not only was this the most widely read story of the year, but it generated the greatest traffic in the history of Powersports Finance. All eyes were on Harley-Davidson as dealers awaited incentives to bolster struggling sales. For the previous two years, Harley had offered dealer and consumer promotions in the third quarter. Harley began 2019 offering heightened sales incentives and dealer-facing rebates. The OEM switched to offering low APR financing on select models and a marketing campaign that focused on low monthly payments for consumers. While these promos improved spring sales, their impact abated in the following months, said James Hardiman, managing director and leisure analyst at Wedbush.
Arctic Cat parent company Textron reported that it would cut back on snowmobile inventory to maximize profits. Specifically, the OEM would only produce snowmobiles that were pre-sold, Chief Executive Scott Donnelly said in the company’s second-quarter earnings call. The company had already pre-sold all 2020 models. Additionally, the OEM “dramatically reduced” partnerships with off-road dealers, Donnelly said.
Lenders took notice that Yamaha was the most aggressive OEM in March with promotions. Yamaha incentives emphasized both current and prior-year off-road models, according to BMO Capital Markets. ATVs, side-by-sides and snowmobile were the most heavily promoted. Meanwhile, Honda aggressively promoted all powersports products with 0% financing through its Ride Red sales event.
Back in August, Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) renewed its contract with Polaris with the goal of expanding the services of their joint venture, Polaris Acceptance. One initiative was to drive more trade-in business to dealerships. As a part of its preowned program, Polaris Acceptance provides dealers with financing for trade-ins, allowing them to put trade-in units on their wholesale floorplan lines.
Dual sports bikes saw the biggest swing in average sales price (ASP) at auction, growing 12% in January. The ASP followed historical trends, paralleling pricing for repossessed and off-lease units in 2017, National Powersport Auctions said. Dual sports bikes is one of the lowest volume categories but saw the largest growth year over year. Most powersports vehicle categories saw less than a 3% shift in ASP with only side-by-sides and motocross experiencing growth.