Polaris Hints at Slingshot Rentals, Harley Keeps Focus on New Riders

(Photo by Natalie Mattila / Royal Media Group)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As manufacturers continue to focus on bringing new riders into the industry, a rental program might be on the horizon for Polaris Industry Inc.’s Slingshot vehicles, according to Chief Executive Scott Wine’s opening remarks at AIMExpo 2017 last week.

The Slingshot Roadster would be a great option for the “sharing economy,” Wine said, potentially hinting that a rental program is on the road map for the manufacturer.

The industry needs more product innovation, to advance technology efforts, and to focus on new and younger riders, Wine told attendees.

Back in May, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. inked a deal with EagleRider to launch a national rental program — a model Polaris could be eyeing. “Every dealer should be in this program,” Harley-Davidson Inc.’s Vice President and Managing Director Mike Kennedy said at its annual dealer meeting in Los Angeles in August.

Harley CEO Matt Levatich echoed Wine’s comments during the AIMExpo opening session, reiterating Harley-Davidson’s focus on building the next generation of riders — 2 million new riders in the U.S. over the next decade, to be exact. Harley’s focus on new riders is an initiative the OEM and its captive have been taking on over the last several months.

For example, back in August at Harley’s dealer meeting, Levatich reinforced that Harley-Davidson Financial Services will continue to support the OEM’s first-time buyers program in an effort to help new and millennial riders qualify for financing.

Harley-Davidson’s first-time buyers program is for customers with limited credit financing a Harley motorcycle through the HDFS division Eaglemark Savings Bank, according to the OEM’s website. The program provides “competitive options” for new and used motorcycles as well as additional rate breaks for consumers with larger down payments.

For more insights like this, attend the third annual PowerSports Finance 2017 conference, which is slated for Oct. 24-25 at the Wynn Las Vegas. The full agenda can be viewed here. To learn more — or to register — for this year’s event, visit the PowerSports Finance 2017 homepage here.

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