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 More on the Wildcat!

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wvyankee2
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wvyankee2

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PostSubject: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 9:08 pm

More on the Wildcat! Arcticcatwildcat

After years of shrinking ATV sales, Arctic Cat has high hopes that its new Wildcat will make it a bigger player in the hot side-by-side market.

Arctic Cat Inc. is playing catch-up in the race for thrill-seeking buyers of side-by-side recreational vehicles, the only hot segment of an otherwise tepid all-terrain vehicle industry.

Its one vehicle in the market, which it entered in 2005, is a workhorse, used for off-road hauling, towing and, occasionally, recreational riding. Even though it bills the Prowler as a "work-and-play" option, the Thief River Falls-based manufacturer has been left in the dust by competitors' growing number of flashy sport models for racing or joyriding over hills and sand dunes.

"While they tried to promote it as sport-rec, it just didn't hit the sport crowd like they hoped it would," said Doug Siddens, whose Texas-based Forum Foundry Inc. oversees about 25 powersports online forums, including the 61,000-member ArcticChat.com.

The miscalculation has been costly. Arctic's ATV sales dropped from $431 million in 2007 to just $181 million for its fiscal year ended March 31. Its total sales, which include snowmobiles and parts, garments and accessories, declined about 40 percent in the same period.

Meanwhile Arctic's Minnesota-based rival, Polaris Industries Inc., has surged to the head of the pack in the off-road-vehicle market largely because of its strong side-by-side business. Polaris has both a pure sport model, the RZR, and a utility model, the Ranger, that's aimed primarily at workers, farmers and outdoorsmen. Since 2006 Polaris' ATV sales have increased more than 11 percent, totaling close to $1.4 billion last year.

Now Arctic is poised to strike back. Sometime in the next several months it will roll out its pure sport side-by-side, the Wildcat, which it has been working on for more than two years. CEO Claude Jordan won't disclose how much the company has spent developing it, but says it's the most of any ATV in the company's 50-year history.


More on the Wildcat! 7arctic0626

Jordan, who joined Arctic as president in 2008 and succeeded retiring CEO Christopher Twomey late last year, acknowledges the company has some catching up to do: "We were caught a little off-guard by how fast the side-by-side market grew."

Siddens said some of the demand for sport side-by-sides, which allow a passenger to sit next to the driver, is coming from motorcycle as well as single-seat ATV enthusiasts. "You can share the experience," he said. "It's safer because you are strapped in, have a cage around you."

The Wildcat opens a new market segment for Arctic, but it also is part of broader push in to new products. The company introduced three new single-seat ATVs in January, and only a handful of its total ATV lineup is more than two years old. In March it introduced 23 new snowmobile models that will make up three-fourths of this year's offerings.

"There is a sense of urgency," Jordan said. "The engineers hear from me frequently on how do we do more things, do them better and quicker."

Indeed, investors are eager. Arctic's stock price plummeted going into the recession, and it is still trading for 30 percent less than five years ago. Meanwhile Polaris -- which a report last year estimated had 40 percent of the side-by-side market in 2009 and, analysts estimate, even more today -- has been on a tear on Wall Street. The stock has been trading at all-time highs in recent months, closing at $106.73 Friday. That's more than double the price five years ago.

Jordan is hoping the Wildcat will help boost Arctic's dealership network, particularly in fast-growing markets in the South and Southwest. Arctic does not disclose state-by-state dealer numbers, but industry website atv.com currently lists 46 for Arctic in California, Texas and Arizona, the hottest markets for side-by-sides. Polaris, Honda and Yamaha -- three of its key ATV competitors -- each have more than 150 in those states.

Greg Finke, sales manager of Adrenaline Powersports near Sacramento, Calif., said the dealership stopped carrying Arctic off-road vehicles two years ago and switched to Polaris partly because Polaris could offer both a utility and a sports model.

"People love the RZR," Finke said. "We can't keep them in stock."

Mark Smith, an analyst at Feltl and Co. in Minneapolis, surveyed Polaris dealers in 25 states and found that demand for the company's latest high-end RZR model is meeting or exceeding their expectations. More than one-fourth of the dealers had run out, and many were scrambling to locate models from other dealers to fill orders, he said in a recent report.

Several of Arctic's competitors also have ATV manufacturing facilities closer to key markets in the South and Southwest, and two -- Polaris and Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. -- have plants in Mexico where they also can take advantage of labor rates about one-third of those in the United States.

Jordan said the experience of Arctic's workforce in Thief River Falls outweighs those disadvantages. "The lack of quality issues we have, we're pleased with the way things are going in Thief River Falls," he said. Analysts say Yamaha's share of the ATV market has slipped because of a 2009 voluntary recall of several of its Rhino ATV models. Arctic also makes all its own ATV engines in St. Cloud, and plans to begin making its snowmobile engines in 2015, ending its supply relationship with Suzuki Motor Corp. in Japan.

Arctic's brand name and reputation is better established in snowmobiles than ATVs, including snowmobile racing, according to Rommel Dionisio, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in New York. "If it can leverage the standing it has in snowmobiles with the Wildcat, that will help," he said. Although Arctic's reputation in snowmobiles might not carry much weight in the South and Southwest, Dionisio said it will in western Canada, another big market for sport-riding ATVs.

Arctic has not disclosed product specifications for the Wildcat. At a March meeting in Nashville it gave snowmobile dealers a peek at a model, but made them put away mobile devices so they couldn't take photos.

Even so, a few 14-second clips of the metallic green vehicle on display at the meeting have surfaced on YouTube, generating about 120,000 views. The buzz has carried over to ArcticChat.com and other powersports trade publications and online forums with speculation on the Wildcat's horsepower, acceleration, chassis and price.

Jordan won't comment on the rumors but will say that the company's research showed superior suspension -- for hitting hills hard and fast -- was at the top of potential buyers' lists.

"Anytime you're not first to market there's a challenge. You can't come out with me-too product," Jordan said.

"Arctic has done its homework," said Tom Stifter, a Delano dealer who saw the Wildcat the Nashville meeting. "It is squarely aimed at the RZR."

Stifter said the Prowler has been popular with area hobby farm owners and he's not sure if they would prefer a sport model like the Wildcat. But he said curiosity over the new vehicle could drive overall customer traffic to his dealership, Star-West Chevrolet-Honda Sports.

Dionisio said Arctic's ATV sales should rise about 2 percent to $184.3 million this year, partly because of the Wildcat and other new products. The increase in retail sales by Arctic's dealers is expected to be bigger because they are still winnowing inventories. One thing that will help dealers avoid bloated inventories in the future is a system Arctic established about two years ago that allows them to submit ATV orders in June, August and December instead of just once a year. The new system gives dealers more flexibility, Jordan said. "They don't have to speculate on how many or what type of machine they're going to be selling."

Meanwhile, dealers in Minnesota and elsewhere say they're eager for Arctic to unleash the Wildcat. Ione Sette said she thinks her Owatonna dealership, Sette Sports Center, may have lost sales because some side-by-side buyers prefer lighter sport models to the Prowlers with towing and hauling capacity that she carries for farmers and hunters.

"Name recognition is very hard with Arctic, so it has to do something [with the Wildcat] and it has to be radical," said Mark Hopkins of Action Powersports in Ennis, Texas. His customers want pure sport model side-by-sides, he said, noting Polaris and Kawasaki sales are much stronger than Arctic. "Just get it out. The sooner, the better."

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ridepate
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 10:00 pm

Good info Marty...........I see rezzies and doors..... allright

_________________
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AIRBORNE
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 10:01 pm

So get it out on the street already!!! I am dying to see this thing.
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S
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S

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 10:07 pm

AIRBORNE wrote:
So get it out on the street already!!! I am dying to see this thing.
NoPoo
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ridepate
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ridepate

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 10:11 pm

Wonder when the release-date is???

_________________
Went back in time....07 Rhino 660....
2016 Polaris General???? Or 2016 Pioneer 1000-3EPS??
2014 Kawasaki Teryx T2 SOLD
2013 Ranger XP-900 aka "Big-Green Tractor" SOLD
2010 Ranger XP-800 aka "Whitey" SOLD
2009 RZR-S SOLD
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2007 Rhino 450 SOLD
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wvyankee2
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wvyankee2

Number of posts : 10317
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 10:14 pm

ridepate wrote:
Wonder when the release-date is???


They are saying that you should see a limited release in August.
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Foxfire
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Foxfire

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 11:47 pm

Yep......and that's for real!
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nocerisdave
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nocerisdave

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyFri Jul 01, 2011 12:14 am

All I need to know is......will it pop a wheelie? Razz
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CatMostFeared
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyFri Jul 01, 2011 2:00 am

put a turbo on it
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AIRBORNE
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyFri Jul 01, 2011 5:11 am

nocerisdave wrote:
All I need to know is......will it pop a wheelie? Razz

lol!
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Big-R
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyFri Jul 01, 2011 11:01 am

Game changer. It is about Damn time someone wanted to make some money.

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pit dog
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pit dog

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyFri Jul 01, 2011 2:55 pm

sweet
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Big-R
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 8:54 am

Man that thing looks bad ass.

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I Just Want To Go Fast

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Hollon
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 9:48 am

I just hope it comes with a rope/chain and plenty of tools, for those who buy it. remember a Delorean also looked nice.
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Mud-and-Guts
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 12:40 pm

Big-R wrote:
Game changer. It is about Damn time someone wanted to make some money.

X2 glad to see someone else trying to take part of the market.. Can't wait to see how it does..
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Big-R
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 4:47 pm

Mud-and-Guts wrote:
Big-R wrote:
Game changer. It is about Damn time someone wanted to make some money.

X2 glad to see someone else trying to take part of the market.. Can't wait to see how it does..
I will let you know after I buy one. It can't be any worse then a Polaris roflmao

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I Just Want To Go Fast

14 RZR XP 900 4
2012 Teryx 4
11 RZR XP 900 sold
08 RZR S 820 sold
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CatMostFeared
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 6:14 pm

you mean the axles wont bend
and the trailing arms wont bend
and the front aarm wont pull out
and the ass end wont catch fire
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Big-R
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 6:50 pm

CatMostFeared wrote:
you mean the axles wont bend
and the trailing arms wont bend
and the front aarm wont pull out
and the ass end wont catch fire
Like I said. It can't be any worse!

_________________
I Just Want To Go Fast

14 RZR XP 900 4
2012 Teryx 4
11 RZR XP 900 sold
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2013 Teryx 4 LE sold

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Mud-and-Guts
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 6:54 pm

Big-R wrote:
Mud-and-Guts wrote:
Big-R wrote:
Game changer. It is about Damn time someone wanted to make some money.

X2 glad to see someone else trying to take part of the market.. Can't wait to see how it does..
I will let you know after I buy one. It can't be any worse then a Polaris roflmao


lol!
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Hollon
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 7:34 pm

Ahhh Cat, and Big R, you never rode with me did ya?? get ya some of the Arctic cat, you will see. I never once finished a full weekend of riding on that XTZ. I did load it up under its own power and on all 4 wheels one time but that was mainly due to me chickening out to following the guys over the last hill of the day. if you think you got problems with the PoPo just wait. maybe it will be a bad ass machine but I only fall for it once! if you guys can ride one a year or so and still love it maybe I would rethink.
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nitefab
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 8:21 pm

Hey Hollon you must of had a bad XTZ my brothers has got 3100 miles on it and the only problem it has had was blowing rear end gear oil out the breather but that was fixed easily. It has been the most reliable of the RZR, teryx, and rhinos he runs with.
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RangeRover
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 8:28 pm

What year model was your XTZ?
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Hollon
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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 8:50 pm

it was a 2009, and had it serviced after each ride and still couldn't finish one. Axle popping out at 70 mph was the first problem, water pump next, front diff exploded, A-arm ripped off, springs sagged till the ass rubbed the ground, fuses blown and speedometer stopped working, several times, tie rods broken, intake hose fell off during a ride sucked water in it, but did keep running. wheel bearings shot, rear A-arm bushing shot. all within 1400 miles. and at least 400 of that was blacktop! maybe I was expecting too much out of it. but everywhere I rode was following a RZR...except the blacktop
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jasonch

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 10:28 pm

Sounds like you took TO GOOD of care of it!!!!!!!

Cum or bleed!
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Hollon
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Hollon

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PostSubject: Re: More on the Wildcat!   More on the Wildcat! EmptyMon Jul 04, 2011 10:45 pm

again I will say, I followed a RZR on EVERY TRAIL. so call it cum or bleed if ya want, and maybe you keep you attention on the post long enough to read the part that said I had it serviced after EVERY ride. so now tell me, do you do that to your machine?? maybe I should have just stayed on the blacktop and took GOOD care of it. I didn't spend that much money to ride like a wuss.
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